Is going back in time to hear Elvis perform on February 15, 1977 a trip worth making?
The Producers of the new Straight Arrow label clearly looked at the new standard set by the Madison label and created a flashy design with a 16 pages booklet. The photo’s are from a concert three days after the actual concert on this second outing of the label because the few pictures in existence from the actual date made Elvis look bad, even by 1977 standards. On these Elvis doesn’t look to good either, but we can’t redo history.
The liner notes are well written and place the concert is its historical perspective with details on Elvis career at that point in time and the concert at hand.
The audio quality of this February 15, 1977 audience recording is very good. Elvis is nice up front pushing the band a little in the back, but that can’t be helped.
Looking back, 29 years down the line, we wonder what attracted the sell out audiences to see this Elvis perform. He entertained the crowd and sometimes showed a little spark of what once was. Sparks during this concert were “You Gave Me A Mountain”,
At one point everything starts to sound the same; long intro’s flat voice, Elvis loosing his lyrics, loosing his band, loosing his sound , loosing … everything. The entire show is finished purely on the automatic pilot by all on stage. No matter where Elvis looses it, he picks up a song and so does the band, like nothing happened. To top it, “My Way” with a false start, the song and a reprise to close the trio. But we must be honest, Elvis in this mental and physical state embodies the song, and listening to him, he knows it.
After a long line of band member introductions, “Hurt” (a performance with some sparks again), “Hound Dog” and a closing theme it is over before you know it.
A strange recording is “Tony Brown’s Orlando Hour”. On this tape we hear a soundboard selection of this concert with mainly Tony Brown on piano and Elvis in the distance. You can clearly hear how one band member followed Elvis voice on his instrument. The piano play appears to be simple; one hand just following the melody. It almost sounds fragile listening to a complete band and full house in the back.
This concert isn’t worth going back in time, mainly due to the person you actually want to visit. All you get are some sparks. The “Tony Brown” tape is fun to hear, this was something new to our ears.
Track listing :
01 Also Sprach Zarathustra (Theme from "2001 A Space Odyssey") / 02 Opening Vamp / C C Rider / 03 I Got A Woman - Amen (medley) / 04 Love Me / 05 If You Love Me (Let Me Know) / 06 You Gave Me A Mountain / 07 O Sole Mio (by Sherrill Nielsen) - It's Now Or Never (with long false start) (medley) / 08 All Shook Up (last live version) / 09 (Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear / Don't Be Cruel (medley) / 10 Help Me / 11 Big Boss Man / 12 My Way (with false start and with last part reprised) / 13 Band Introductions / 14 Early Mornin' Rain / 15 What'd I Say / 16 Johnny B Goode / 17 Drums Solo (by Ronnie Tutt) / 18 Bass Solo (Blues - by Jerry Scheff) / 19 Piano Solo (by Tony Brown) / 20 Love Letters / 21 School Day / 22 Hurt (with last part reprised) / 23 Hound Dog / 24 Can't Help Falling In Love / 25 Closing Vamp / Announcements.
Special soundboard bonus from 15.02.1977 / 26 It's Now Or Never (with long false start) / 27 My Way (with false start and with last part reprised) / 28 Hurt (with last part reprised).