FTD just released another live show, this time on 7”(!). It is the Richmond gig from March 18, 1974.
Quite surprisingly FTD decided to release this show on 7” instead of the regular 5”. I guess they did it since it is probably one of the best live outings so far on the label.
It is nice to read about the passion someone (Robert Frieser in this case) develops for a “particular Elvis-thing”. This dedication brings us one of the better FTD-designs, with an informative booklet. Next to Robert’s story on the tapes it gives an in depth view of the complete tour.
The 1974 bootlegs are abundant and most are excellent.. including Steamroller Blues in Memphis, Spanish Eyes in Lake Tahoe as well as other highlights from 1974 including this CD....Let's start by saying..You definitely need to hear this CD to appreciate the quality of this concert !! The sound of this CD is superb....One of the best, if not THE best quality bootlegs out there. The mix is perfect.. On top of the great sound, the concert is fantastic.. with Elvis in a very good mood and his voice is strong and powerful.. an excellent night for the fans in Richmond indeed.. Anyway..the concert..
The CD starts off with some cool stuff.. Including the opening big band version of Love Me Tender as well as opening act Voice singing two tunes, Keep It Going and Going Back To Memphis Tomorrow.. Also included is announcer Al Devorin doing his best salesman job pushing Elvis souvenirs..These were actually recorded in Memphis in 1975... After a few listens to the CD and this all becomes boring.. but, it gives you the " whole " Elvis concert experience.. besides, you can just scan past them and go on to the real deal... Elvis..
As always..Also Sprach Zarathustra's ominous sounds begin the performance.. and Elvis appears with a good solid version of C.C. Rider. A shortened version of the usual " Well well well " goes right into a cool version of I've Got A Woman/ Amen in which Elvis makes JD Sumner do his thing twice !!!
Elvis greets the audience with a funny bit when he says, " It's nice to be back in Hampton Roa.. I mean Richmond !! " and then goes right into Love Me which is nothing special. An intense, powerful version of Trying To Get To You follows. Elvis pounds this one out..Fantastic.. A short version of All Shook Up is next, nothing new, but it's still a cool grooving tune to hear...
Next up is one of the most funkiest versions of Steamroller Blues you will ever hear..The horn section powers through this tune and Elvis is right there with them..Pumping out his heart into this one...This version buries the well known Aloha recording...Fantastic. Teddy Bear/ Don't Be Cruel and Love Me Tender follow one another... Nothing exciting here, but the great sound quality makes up for it !!!!
The very cool and rocking medley Long tall sally/ whole lotta shakin' goin' on/ mama don't dance/ flip flop & fly/ jailhouse rock/ hound dog follows and is tight and exciting... The well known version from the Memphis concert pales in comparison..It would have been nice if Elvis did more medleys like this one...
A very funny version of Fever is up next.. Elvis plays with the words and has a blast with this one.. He even comments at the end, " That's a fun song to do.. " Fun to listen to as well...Forget the Aloha version !!! Polk Salad Annie is next and its funky grooves are as wild as ever... To take a little breather, Elvis has JD Sumner and the Stamps sing Why Me Lord ?... JD's low tones grace this gospel tune beautifully..In this concert, Elvis doesn't give the audience a chance to breathe as he pumps out song after song with hardly any break in between.. Such is the case of Suspicious Minds... This is such a great song, I've never heard a bad version, and this one doesn't change that..
The introductions are up next and they are short and to the point. The extended solos have not yet become part of the intros as they will later in the year at the Vegas closing in September. A powerhouse version of I Can't Stop Loving You kicks right in after the intros.. Elvis' strong voice is evident here as he barrels through this one..A great version.
Elvis' latest record " Help Me " follows and this a touching rendition of this beautiful song... A moving, stirring version of American Trilogy immediately follows and as usual, Elvis and the TCB band hit it right on the head. Magnificent. Let Me Be There is up next and the band really shines on this tight country song..Which will become a staple of Elvis' concerts in the following years..
Time for the houselights to come up on Richmond...which means Funny How Time Slips Away is up...Nothing new on this one, but again, the sound quality gives new depth to these songs.. " And until we're back in Richmond , we bid you an affectionate adios" and we hear the finale Can't Help Falling In Love complete with screams from girls no doubt catching those scarves...Elvis has left the Building.....
If you are faced with the challenge of grabbing hold of only one CD from the 1974 tours, do your best to grab this one.. The sound is superb and the concert itself is one of Elvis' best.. Not to mention the beautiful close up shots of Elvis in the sleeve. As the title says, this is guaranteed to blow your mind.
One of the best (sounding) live shows on the label so far, it deserves the 7”-format!