“Why Me Lord?” I thought when my pal handed over 3 audience shows to review. Well, the first one wasn’t that bad as you could read a couple of days before. How about this one?
The design is what we are used to with releases by the Czech Memory label. It’s simple (no booklet, just 4 pages) but yet tasteful. The liner notes were good, but a bit hard to read for a (not so) old man like me. They give an open view on Elvis’ boredom in the 70s next to an actual view on the show on the disc. The back cover has an unclear but fun shot of our man: he is wearing a scarf with his own image on it. The inlay behind the CD has one of the nicest live shots I’ve seen.
The audio quality is so-so as with most audience recordings. It’s certainly not one of the worst, not by far. When you are used to it after a couple of tracks it’s even pretty listenable. In the beginning Elvis sounds a bit in the distance but it becomes better along the way.
Although Vegas became a routine, it’s not yet audible that Elvis was bored this show. The summer festival in 1972 had even a few new additions song-wise, among them some of the finest ballads Elvis ever did: “I’ll Remember You” (on this CD added as a bonus song from the dinner show on August 26), “What Now My Love” and “My Way” (both in the main event of this CD).
The show starts in a rush with “See, See Rider”, “I Got a Woman” and “Proud Mary” before Elvis calms down with “Until It’s Time” and a great rendition of “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’”. “Polk Salad” already had the rush version since the beginning of the year, which I don’t like half as much as the “Tony Joe White treatment” the song got earlier. The before mentioned “What Now My Love” has a false start (probably because it’s a French song ;-)), but how I wish I had this version in the quality of Aloha… Another “newbie” in the set list was “Fever”, a pretty good rendition may I add, but he sounds a bit hesitating during the last verse. “Love Me” (in the 70s) is not really my piece of cake, it doesn’t come close to the original, same goes for “Blue Suede Shoes”, but it still rocks… “One Night” is incomplete and “All Shook Up” gets the rush treatment we know so well by now. “Heartbreak Hotel” and “Teddy Bear/ Don’t Be Cruel” are nothing special either. “Hound Dog” gets the “1972 treatment” (slow start, fast finish) with an extra in the form of an excerpt of “Ave Maria”. “For The Good Times” and “Suspicious Minds” are both among my personal favorites, and this show doesn’t give a reason to take them out of that list. “My Way” is certainly one of the highlights of the CD, if not The Highlight. “A Big Hunk” and “Can’t Help Falling” give the show a familiar ending.
The bonus tracks on the CD are all from the dinner show on August 26 and not in the actual show. Gladly the sound difference isn’t huge, although the bonus tracks sound a little clearer. Especially “I’ll Remember You” benefits from that, this beautiful rendition is worth listening for sure.
Again it wasn’t too bad for an audience CD, but I wonder if I will play it a lot. I don’t think I will, since I have had my share of audience recordings in the past. Still, for the fans of Elvis’ shows and collectors it’s a must. I know some people buy anything, but this disc is actually worth buying since Elvis’ performance is more than okay.
Tracks: 01. Also Sprach Zarathustra - 02. C.C. Rider - 03. I Got A Woman /Amen (medley) - 04. Proud Mary - 05. Until It's Time For You To Go - 06. You've Lost That Loving Feeling - 07. Polk Salad Annie- 08. Monologue - 09. What Now My Love (with false start) - 10. Fever - 11. Love Me - 12. Blue Suede Shoes - 13. One Night (incomplete) - 14. All Shook Up (with 2 false starts) - 15. Heartbreak Hotel - 16. Teddy Bear / Don't Be Cruel (medley) - 17. Hound Dog (incl. excerpt of "Ave Maria") - 18. For The Good Times - 19. Suspicious Minds - 20. Band Introductions - 21. My Way - 22. An American Trilogy - 23. A Big Hunk Of Love - 24. Can't Help Falling In Love - 25. Closing Vamp.
Bonus tracks (recorded in Las Vegas, August 26, 1972, Dinner show): 26. Johnny B. Goode - 27. I'll Remember You - 28. Little Sister / Get Back (medley) - 29. You Gave Me A Mountain - 30. Mystery Train / Tiger Man (medley).