These three CD’s were first mentioned in December 2002, but we finally found a copy of the three discs we could review. The series is titled “In the Hilton” and contains three volumes with “original” titles like “Whole Lotta Shakin’ In Vegas”, “Trouble In Vegas” and “Flip Flop and Fly”. All CD’s are audience recordings, but good to listen too.
The images on the covers and back of these releases seem to be taken from the “Caught In A Trap” book which covers these tour dates. The “Flip Flop And Fly” disk has Elvis on his knees on the cover while a great action shot was used on the back, we would have changed that for sure. The discs itself have a vinyl print on it, taken from the "Swedish Hit Collection”.
According to the concert bible “The Concert Years” by Stein Erik Skar Elvis felt caught in a prison in his ninth Las Vegas engagement. He included only a few new songs to the set list, “Raised On Rock” and “Memphis Tennessee” for the opening show and later on he added “My Boy” and “Trouble”. Stein described it well. The performances recorded (August 11, 19 and 30, and September 2, 1973) on these CD's all are a bit “flat”. Elvis delivers the shows, but that is about it. With all the usual gadgets (JD Sumner blowing the speakers, Elvis praying the suit stays on, joking with the audience and bandmembers, etcetera).
Interesting are the Rock and Roll medley’s, showing Elvis still had some spunk left in him, or taken negative, Elvis blows through several standards the audience wants to hear. Of course the four concerts on these three discs contain some good performances too, Elvis delivers the new song “My Boy” (sometimes dedicated to Lisa Marie who was present several times during this engagement) and his usual show stoppers as “How Great Thou Art” and “An American Trilogy”, “The First Time Ever I Say Your Face” and “What Now My Love”.
The producers seemed to have been as uninterested as Elvis at times during this engagement. They didn’t make an effort to correct several errors on the tape. So there is some distortion, some fade outs, some moments with the wrong speed making Elvis sounds like Donald Duck. They also messed up the printing on the discs and the booklets. For those who couldn’t make out the track listing on the jewel case and the songs they were listening to, here is the correct info. Put disc labeled “volume 2” in the box labeled “volume 3” and vice versa.
In the original Variety review the conclusion was penned down best “What audiences see in the flesh is a rather somnolent, lackadaisical superstar in bejeweled jumpsuit and who, with almost sleepwalking fervor, makes his rounds kissing little girls and throwing sweat-stained scarves out to eager hands. Its déjà vu time – everyone’s been there before, even to the new tunes inserted”.
Or as we would describe it; Its Elvis and these were four concerts we didn’t have yet and which we can now add to the concert collection.