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No Fooling Around!

Apr 25, 2003
This week, again, two bootlegs of the same show of August 4, 1972 (Opening Night) were announced. The one that was announced first by the new Ampex label arrived at our headquarters yesterday and after listening several times we are ready to give our verdict.

Design

The design is just marvelous. Only few import labels offered something like this in the past. The great front cover is the opening of an 8 page booklet. In a very tasteful design mainly live shots are displayed – most of them familiar, but very fitting to this concert. The liner notes are by Getlo Jr, and we wish more fans wrote like this doggy. Background information on both the engagement and the rehearsals passes by. The inlay (nice souvenirs shot) and background (tracklisting and some more live shots) are the finishing touch to the design of this set.

Content

The title says it all… we wish Elvis kept on doing his shows like this a little longer…. Doing what he was best at… singing and not fooling around (too much)! The show starts with a pretty tight ‘See See Rider’ and immediately we get some firework with ‘A Big Hunk’, before a driven version – surely one of the highlights – of ‘Never Been To Spain’ takes off. After another good version of ‘You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’’ even ‘Love Me Tender’ doesn’t sound as boring as usual. A couple of oldies, ‘Mystery Train/ Tiger Man’ – no need to say this medley is among the better 98% of the show – brings us to ‘What Now My Love’.

The ever popular ‘Love Me’ precedes another top medley, like only Presley could do them ‘Little Sister/ Get Back’. ‘Blue Suede Shoes’ and ‘One Night’ are followed by a powerful ‘You Don’t Have To Say’ and ‘Hound Dog’. These four lead us to the highlight of the show, probably the first live version of ‘My Way’. Elvis got a real standing ovation – and we know it does not make sense, but we almost felt the need to join in. ‘My Babe’ is not as tough as the ’69 version, but still very swinging and powerful. Unfortunately the next song is missing – well, that is the song that should be there… ‘An American Trilogy’, that was performed before ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love’ is not present on this recording. The nearly 45 minutes of this show are in more than fair quality for an audience recording. Overall the sound is a bit high and there is some distortion sometimes, but it is very well listenable. The quality of the show itself helps a lot of course.

An additional 26 minutes of bonus material exists of two more live recordings from this engagement: an early (very bluesy!) ‘Steamroller Blues’ and ‘For The Good Times’ (taped on respectively August 7 M.S. and August 13 D.S.). A lot of fans will be eager to listen to the rehearsal part of the CD. ‘The First Time’, beautiful as ever and the working on ‘My Way’ are great to listen too, just like ‘Fever’ (where one almost misses the female part of an audience). ‘I’ve Got To Go’ is unfortunately nothing more than those words sung on the well-known bluesy ending Elvis used so often (e.g. on ‘I Got A Woman’, ‘Winter Wonderland’ and ‘I Can Help’), but ‘Portrait Of My Love’ and ‘I’m Leavin’It All Up To You’ will be very welcome additions to many collections.

Conclusion

Those fans that prefer a good show in lesser quality in sound above a good soundboard recording of a below par show will be very pleased with this CD. The cover art and bonus tracks make the other release of this show completely unnecessary beforehand, at least when you can lay your pawns on this version. In other words this is a very good debut by the new Ampex label.
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