Normally we skip CDR’s in our reviews, mainly because most of them have poor audience recordings or uninteresting compilations of what is available elsewhere. But sometimes there are some interesting new releases on CDR. In this specific case, we make an exception since on first sight it does look very interesting.
I have broken down the review in 3 parts, to reflect my own criteria for rating a show.
Unlike what the cover says, this is not a soundboard recording. Like all August 73 shows that I've heard, this one is a very good audience stereo recording (like the one on the Profile box set). You can actually hear one or two spoken words near the microphones) throughout the show.
There are also a few sound drops, always between songs. Nevertheless, apart from a few words cut off (but easily 'guessable') in the introductions, the show seems indeed complete and leaves no feeling of having missed something.
One bad point though : the recording runs a little too fast. Elvis doesn't sound like Mickey Mouse yet, but is unquestionably a little high (about a semi-tone).
The mix is very well balanced, even better than a lot of soundboard recordings we have had lately, and apart from a few moments where the level saturates, this release is more than pleasant to listen to.
The slightly muffled sound makes you feel like you're not quite in the showroom, but standing right behind the door outside the room.
As it says in the title, he's in very high spirits throughout the show. His voice is clear and strong, though lazy at times.
He's in the aftermath of the very successful Aloha show and has obviously recovered the sincere joy of performing that had failed him a little since the previous August.
We get just the right dose of fooling around (more than the garden, but less than '75) in between or during songs, which shows he still cares as much for the audience enjoying the show as for his own fun.
He's not resting on his laurels as he will start doing in a few months. He manages to keep the show really entertaining even for us listeners who weren't in the room that night.
Very good repertoire cleaned of the odd (weak???) numbers of the Aloha show that he had kept on doing in February.
I think we are getting the right balance of strong numbers, oldies, hits, ballads and novelties that make the best Elvis shows.
The pace is fast and, apart from one or two wrong notes on bass that probably no-one will notice, the playing is straight and tight.
A very polished performance with a good choice of numbers.
I think it's clear : my advice is you get this release! You will enjoy listening to it quite a few times as it's very enjoyable and never boring.