The Rainbow Record import label released Elvis Presley’s last performance at Dell Webb’s Sahara Tahoe Casino on two discs. Does it exceed all expectations?
The cover design is a bit modern for the image they used on the cover of the bbooklet. But the booklet inside is nicely designed with a lot of memorabilia and well-written liner-notes placing the show in the proper historical context. One personal note to designers out there; Elvis Presley never ever looks good in that ugly Dark Blue Aztec suit, so don’t use it on any cover!
This special 10.)) P.M. Mother’s Day show was by far the longest show Elvis Presley ever performed according to the liner-notes. Well it took the label to discs to cram all audio in, so that says something. But to be honest, the show did not exceed all expectations; I really had to work my way through both discs.
This is partly due to the audio quality - which is average at best, the producers used three sources and you can hear that sometimes - but also for the show. The mix of the three shows isn't a simple cut and past job, the mixing itself was done very well. The producers can't help it that only audience sources are available. But somehow the show never grabbed my attention or enthusiasm. And it isn’t that Elvis, the musicians, vocalists and orchestra don’t deliver a good show.
The basic set list is standard, but our man throws in a few on-liners like “When The Saints”, “Wooden Heart”, “The Mickey Mouse Club March” “Guadalajara” and even a complete “Hawaiian Wedding Song” with an amusing joke on his movie marriage with Ann Margret and performs “Blue Christmas” early May. He also does a few live rareties - at least for 1976 - like "Return To Sender","Young And Beautiful","One Night" and "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face". Even Kathy Westmoreland and Sherril Nielsen throw in a song while JD Sumner tries to blowout my speakers early in the show on “Amen”.
The interaction with the audience is very high and Elvis appears to have fun on stage. The only two times I turned up the volume were for “America The Beautiful”, “Love Letters” and the nice instrumental part of “Hound Dog”; and that says something, well at least to me. For the latter I can only say “heard it all before”. Elvis doesn't get his enthusiasm accross for me and the audio-quality isn't inviting enough to turn the volume up for a better experience of the show. And that's a pity looking at all the ingredients this show has.
I’ll be honest, I can’t give you an advice on this show; the ingredients and recipe are all there, but the cook simply couldn’t put it together into a nice Mother’s Day cake. That leaves me with a well-documented and probably the definitive set of Elvis Presley’s longest - and last Tahoe - show ever. Hopefully a sounboard recording of this concert will emerge in the future.
01 - Also Sprach Zarathustra (Richard Strauss) 02 - See See Rider (traditional) 03 - I Got A Woman / Amen (Ray Charles) / (traditional= 04 - Love Me (Leiber / Stoller) 05 - When The Saints Go Marching In (traditional) 06 - If You Love Me (Let Me Know) (Rostill) 07 - You Gave Me A Mountain (Marty Robbins) 08 - All Shook Up (Blackwell / Presley) 09 - Teddy Bear / Don't Be Cruel (Mann / Low) / (Blackwell / Presley) 10 - Blue Suede Shoes (Carl Perkins) 11 - Return To Sender (Otis Blackwell / Winfield Scott) 12 - Heartbreak Hotel (Mae Axton / Tommy Durden) 13 - Story about the Boat scene (talking monologue) 14 - The Hawaiian Wedding Song (King - Hoffman - Manning) 15 - America, The Beautiful (traditional) 16 - Polk Salad Annie (Tony Joe White)
01 - Band Introductions (talking only) 02 - Early Morning Rain (Gordon Lightfoot) 03 - What'd I Say (Ray Charles) 04 - Johnny B. Goode (Chuck Berry) 05 - Drum Solo (instrumental) 06 - Bass Solo (instrumental) 07 - Tony Brown Piano Solo (instrumental) 08 - David Briggs Solo (instrumental) 09 - Love Letters (Heyman - Young) 10 - School Days (Chuck Berry) 11 - Wooden Heart (Wise - Weisman - Twomey - Kaemfert) 12 - Young And Beautiful (Aaron Schroeder / Abner Silver) 13 - That's All Right (Arthur Crudup) 14 - Blue Christmas (Billy Hayes / Jay Johnson) 15 - Hurt #1 (Crane / Jacobs) 16 - Hurt #2 (Crane / Jacobs) 17 - Hound Dog (Leiber / Stoller) 18 - Mickey Mouse Club March (Jimmie Dodd) 19 - Happy Birthday to y'all (traditional) 20 - My Heavenly Father (Martin / Gabriel) 21 - Guadalajara (Pepe Guizar) 22 - Love Me Tender (Matson / Presley) 23 - Danny Boy by Sherril Nielsen (traditional) 24 - Funny How Time Slips Away by Sherril Nielsen (Willie Nelson) 25 - Charity Announcement (talking only) 26 - Burning Love (Dennis Linde) 27 - Help Me (Larry Gatlin) 28 - The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face (Ewan MacColl) 29 - Jailhouse Rock (Leiber / Stoller) 30 - One Night (Bartholomew / King) 31 - How Great Thou Art (Stuart Hine) 32 - Can't Help Falling In Love (Weiss / Peretti / Creatore) 33 – Closing Vamp (instrumental)
Bonus track (David Briggs): 34 - Lady Madonna (Lennon / McCartney)