Is it a book? Is it a double CD? It is an ‘Audio Visual Presentation’, it is City of Angels, the latest outing of the Audionics label, covering Elvis’ shows At The Forum in Los Angeles. All of them (1970, 1974) in the book and the ones from 1974 on Silver disc too.
The 120 page book - at least that is what the advertisement told us, I didn’t count them - has indeed one minor… no page numbering. That and the fact that two articles swapped places chronologically are the worst things I could find.
The layout is well done, tastefully and quiet on the eye. If text is available it is presented pleasantly, with enough contrast for these old eyes. Something a lot of fans suffer from, I suppose. The only exception are the tracklistings on the back, but there are alternatives for them inside the book.
Let’s have closer look at the book first. As said in the intro it covers all shows of Elvis At The Forum in Ingleswood. The 1970 ones including some articles announcing the show(s). With quiet some photos, both (well-) known as rare (as far as you can say that with Elvis pictures). Some are in colour, others in black and white, but all together it gives a great insight of Elvis’ shows at the time.
The 1974 section is divided in chapters for the afternoon and evening shows. Here the information starts with a broader sketch of “Elvis in 1974”, well written and giving a good picture. The photos of both shows are again both b/w and colour, but colour wins hands down.
After the Forum shows there is some room for the San Bernardino shows, both before and after the Forum shows (May 10 and 13). Furthermore there are chapters dedicated to the meeting with Led Zeppelin (part of..) and David S. - stepbrother - view on it. The last part is filled with ‘secrets’... memorabilia in the form of schedules, band-orders and so on.
The CDs bring both afternoon and evening shows from 1974. I often said “I prefer a good audience recording above a poor soundboard”, well, here we have both!
The afternoon show is an audience recording, not among the best audience recordings available, but still very listenable. Once you are used to the sound it is actually pretty good. Of course Elvis wasn’t Elvis anymore but as we know 1974 (the first half) was not that bad. This afternoon show is more than enjoyable and the rare inclusion of You Can Have Her makes it somewhat special.
The evening show was available on FTD before, both with the book Live in L.A. and as stand-alone release. Obviously the source is different and this release wins hands down. It is not as “muffled” as the FTD-outing and sounds way clearer. Still for a soundboard, it is not great and the drops in Funny How Time Slips Away are pretty annoying.
Obviously this is a labour of love. An above average audience and sub par soundboard recording brought in a beautiful book. It should be in every fan’s collection for sure.
CD1 - 11.05.1974 2:30 PM:
01. Introduction: Also Sprach Zarathustra - 02. C. C. Rider - 03. I Got A Woman / Amen - 04. Love Me - 05. Tryin' To Get To You - 06. All Shook Up - 07. (Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear / Don't Be Cruel - 08. Love Me Tender - 09. You Can Have Her - 10. Steamroller Blues - 11. Hound Dog - 12. Fever - 13. Polk Salad Annie - 14. Why Me Lord - 15. Suspicious Minds - 16. Introductions of singers, musicians, orchestra - 17. I Can't Stop Loving You - 18. Help Me - 19. An American Trilogy - 20. Let Me Be There (with reprise) - 21. Funny How Time Slips Away - 22. Big Boss Man - 23. Can't Help Falling In Love - 24. Closing Vamp / Announcements
CD2 - 11.05.1974 8:30 PM:
01. Introduction: Also Sprach Zarathustra - 02. C. C. Rider - 03. I Got A Woman / Amen - 04. Love Me (with reprise) - 05. Trying To Get To You - 06. All Shook Up - 07. (Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear / Don't Be Cruel - 08. Love Me Tender - 09. Steamroller Blues - 10. Hound Dog - 11. Fever - 12. Polk Salad Annie - 13. Why Me Lord - 14. Suspicious Minds - 15. Introductions of singers, musicians, orchestra - 16. I Can't Stop Loving You - 17. Help Me - 18. An American Trilogy - 19. Let Me Be There (with reprise) - 20. Funny How Time Slips Away - 21. Big Boss Man - 22. Can‘t Help Falling In Love - 23. Closing Vamp / Announcements
Tracks 21-23 were recorded on May 10th, 1974 in Swing auditorium, San Bernardino, CA, 8:30 PM
Bonus: 23. Robert Plant talks about meeting Elvis - 24. Big Boss Man - 25. Can‘t Help Falling In Love - 26. Closing Vamp / Announcements
Tracks 24-26 were recorded from audience on May 11th, 1974 E/S and they are used for historical reason.