What can we say about the design of this release? The image of Elvis with ski-mask on is a strange but familiar one. But to use it on a cover for an April concert in the desert of Nevada … or is it a hint to the concert on this release? Fortunately the liner notes make an interesting read and the images inside are better. A tip for the producers, make the font-size a bit bigger, we felt like getting one of those orange ski-masks too for better reading.
In the press-release from the Czech Fan Club they stated “… in Lake Tahoe it's clear that not all is well. Elvis stops and restarts several songs, blaming it on the sound system. And yet, he has the audience eating out of his hand right from the start, and this in turn inspires him to do a good job on songs like "Steamroller Blues" and "Trying To Get To You". This show is far from his best, but somehow this recording makes for fascinating listening. It's a remarkable "document humain", in that it provides us with a rare glimpse of the man behind the legend.”
The producers described it well, but Elvis messing around on stage, combined with his ever present fooling around with JD Sumner, gets very annoying, problems with the sound-system or not. But again, in the words of the producers, “you might a few jewels during and otherwise bumpy ride”. This is Elvis too, knowing what we know now, Elvis’ death seven weeks later couldn’t have been the surprise it was. Elvis stage presence kept the fans enthusiastic, no matter his musical performances of that moment.
Fortunately we get a few bonus tracks too. The first one is “Such A Night” from December 12, 1976. Not a very tight version, but good to hear Elvis pleasing his fans by singing requests. We get a second version from two weeks later too; unfortunately the sound quality is very bad.
“Loving You” is a pretty complete try, so is “Young And Beautiful”. “(Until The Day) God Calls Me Home” is a long one-liner, but nice rarity to have, just like the vivid performance of Roy Hamilton’s “You Can Have Her” from 1974.
The 1976 version of “What Now My Love” is a “spoken” version (“haunted” as the producers describe it), which fits the theme perfectly; it gives the song much more power than the “standard” versions he did in 1972 and 1973. Afterwards he introduces Roy Orbinson in the audience, and does the first line of ‘It’s Over”.
All recordings on this release are audience recordings. Overall the quality is fair for an audience recording.
Elvis was clearly Slippin’ ‘N’ Slidin’ during the April 30, 1976 performance in Lake Tahoe. But that is part of Elvis’ heritage too. Don’t listen to this one if you are one of those fans looking at Elvis through a pair of pink glasses. To end positively, the bonus tracks make this CD worth having although audience recordings are not the kind of CD you pick out very often.