Trouble In Vegas

By BigRedGMar 31, 2008
Trouble In Vegas

Well, here we have the latest escape from the Memory Label. Offering us the complete 10 PM show from December 9th 1976, Trouble In Vegas gives yet another insight into the troubled world of Elvis in 1976.

Contrary to the initial press release (and thankfully corrected on the sleeve notes) this was the only show from this date.

What have Elvis and Memory Records got to offer us? Let’s have a look.

Design


Presentationally, the CD is standard Memory fare. A stingy 4 page booklet, with a fair front cover, dominated by photos of Elvis in the Blue Rainbow suit (presumably because they could not find any photos from the actual show). Inside is a two page mini essay on the ill fated las(t) Vegas season, and the show. Two very faint photos are in the background, but they might as well not be there, for what we can actually see! The rear page contains a further photograph of Elvis in the Blue Rainbow suit - plus the quote “Music should be something that makes you gotta move, inside or outside” - but can Elvis move us, the listener ?

Content


2001/ CC Rider open up (of course) and the sound quality is reasonable, but a bit muffled. Elvis is calling out for the on stage monitors to be turned up straight away, as he cannot hear himself properly. At the conclusion Elvis says “Charlie get me some water, my throat feels like the Mojave Desert… Las Vegas will dry you up like a prune….”

Then it’s "well well well" time, and the first alarm bells are ringing, as Elvis first misses the rhythm has to restart the song, and then loses himself by forgetting the lyrics, needing to be prompted by Charlie and crew. And this is on I Got A Woman!!! Even in August ’76 he could sing that one in his sleep (and did!!) A thankfully short gyrations/dive bomber ending follows to cap off a non-stellar start to the show.

“Welcome to the show”, followed by Elvis receiving a photo of when he “was 2 years old, in mud in Mississipp"i …." I was 2 years old – still am” he says. (Probably Elvis Country LP) A guitar pick and kiss are exchanged.

Love Me is performed in a workmanlike manner, ok, but no great shakes. “aah so, oh so, aah so Lonely”. The crowd seems to enjoy it. Then Elvis decides (seemingly on the spot) to do Fairytale. He puts in the effort and pulls off a pretty decent (short ending) version. At the end he says that one of the 2 Stamps bass singers is “sharking a note!!”

Mountain, says Elvis and we are into a sincere version of this much loved (by Elvis and his fans) song. At this stage you feel that Elvis is warming up nicely. My 3rd movie was “Jailhouse Rock” (huge cheer) “it was 12 years ago and my voice was much higher” "Gotta stand like this or I’ll strip a gear" (“it don’t matter” shouts a crone from the crowd). Elvis gives a fair latter day outing to this rock n roll classic, and the Vegas crowd lap it up as per usual.

“In 1960 we recorded a song based on O Sole Mio….” – yep you guessed, it’s Sherril time! Then Elvis gives another sincere and well delivered performance, again reaching for and hitting the notes he often sharked !!!

Side stepping a request for Moody Blue (“I haven’t even heard Moody Blue yet”) Elvis agrees to another request, for My Way (“we have not done that for a year” he says (well 7 months virtually to the day, maybe !!)). The first 2 attempts fail before a note is sung, and the 3rd attempt falls apart early on, followed by a lengthy moan about the on stage sound - “it is hell up here” declares Elvis. At the fourth attempt, a great version is finally delivered, so all is forgiven !!

“Let’s do Blue Christmas” declares Elvis, before 2 minutes of good humoured interplay with the crowd (“Honey, it’s a show, not an orgy” says Elvis at one point !!) Blue Christmas is then nicely performed after a very short false start. That’s Alright Mama is next on the program, but not before another call for water “I feel like Bob Dylan slept in my mouth…or worse yet Wayne Newton…I’m only kidding I like him”. Take 2 gets off the ground ok after yet another false start !!

Are You Lonesome Tonight ? is performed with the “cabaret” fag routine during the spoken part, which ruins what could have been a very sincere version. Over sincerity then follows, with Softly As I Leave You. Elvis then says “….let’s do Hound Dog,, the most eeediotic song I got”, to break out of that mood. 100 MPH version duly follows, just to get it done and give the crowd what they want to hear.

But this is not where Elvis is at tonight. “Last night after the show, my father went into hospital – he’s doing much better now, today (cheers from the crowd) - we did a song a couple of years ago and I like to think of him when I do it” – Help Me – beautiful performance.

Elvis then delivers to the crowd the final ever performance of his Bicentennial anthem – America The Beautiful. Pure patriotism, from a real American hero without equal.

Band intros follow, featuring the standard ’76 offerings of Early Morning Rain (short version), What’d I Say, sloooooow Love letters and School Days, not forgetting of course the show stopping (literally) David Briggs solo )

An average, but nonetheless moving version of Hurt, with no reprise (due to being “very difficult to do with sand in your throat”), and it’s nearly time to head back to the tables !! Someone shouts out King Creole, but Elvis says “n-n-n-no, not king Creole, Blue Hawaii” - Hawaiian Wedding Song (“Happy Birthday Kathy” says Elvis (I do not think this is literal??) is then sung to perfection.

Right after the song, Elvis says “You’ve been a fantastic audience, but I gotta get out of here” !! How true !! Can’t Help Falling In Love closes us out, and it is job done.

Conclusion


Verdict? A better show than I had expected when I saw the number of false starts in the tracklisting, and some genuine high points given the season. The sound is pretty decent, and the majority of Elvis’ speaking is easily audible. I am sure Elvis moved the audience this night, and in parts moved me also.

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Reactions

EspenK (profilecontact) wrote on Apr 29, 2008report abuse
Keep His Legacy Alive - and his remixes dead! Hallelujah.
Mike 1 (profilecontact) wrote on Apr 27, 2008report abuse
Don't worry Jerome, We've finished discussing the issue of anonymity. It's your turn now to post an intelligent response.....take your time. Zzzzzzzzzzzzz...
Jerome (profilecontact) wrote on Apr 25, 2008report abuse
Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz....
Mike 1 (profilecontact) wrote on Apr 25, 2008report abuse
Thanks EspenK....I appreciate you taking the time to post a considered reply. A couple of points:

Firstly, you must remember that we are discussing bootleg recordings here, so anyone connected to this world MUST inevitably tread carefully and remain anonymous.

Secondly, many other individuals also prefer to remain anonymous to safeguard their privacy, as you simply never know who you are addressing over the internet, so it pays to be careful.

However, the best way to validate any review is to see whether the conclusions of the reviewer are shared by other people, which is why a messageboard is so valuable. In time, I find you get to trust regular contributors and in that way, can make your own judgement on the merits of any given release.

Although I can understand your original suspicion, I can assure you it isn't warranted in this case. For the record BigredG has guided me both to and away from certain releases in the past, so I know he is both unbiased and fair in his impressions of any given release. Moreover I wish there were more like him, as I love reading different impressions of these new (and old) releases, especially when someone has taken the time to write such a detailed account.

Hope this clarifies the position--at least with regard to this particular review.
Lex (profilecontact) wrote on Apr 24, 2008report abuse
EspenK, maybe I should remove your contribution because of the "speculation" rule... but as you already said... it is complete speculation indeed. I know from which direction those specs were coming and I couldn't care less. The only thing I know is that I was never involved in the bootleg scene and that my opinion didn't please some producers. That is the Elvis world too: the producers love to use a popular site like this for promotion, but as soon as you give your opinion on their product and they don't like those comments... then speculations like the one you mentioned are immediately started. I have to state that not all producers are like that, but there are some VERY big egos among them. Even when you put one slightly negative line in a 99% positive review some of those babies get upset... well, that life, I can live with it ;-).
EspenK (profilecontact) wrote on Apr 24, 2008report abuse
Mike, you deserve a serious answer and I apologize for falling fo the "cheap" temptation of simulating a brainless drome. To your comment:

I won't point any fingers or mention any names, cause all I've heard is rumors. Talk. Where? Everwhere! Very often "offline", on Elvis Conventions or other Elvis-related public gatherings. Talk about how one bootlegger deliberately time their releases to do most harm against other releases, how other bootleggers create false rumors about each other and so forth. Dirty play, to put it simple.

And more importantly I've heard over and over that the ones behind the releases, those who write the press releases, or are in very close companionship with the bootleggers are indeed the fanclub presidents or contributers to the Elvis fanclub magazines/websites. I said I would not mention any names but I guess it's ok to make an exception with ElvisNews.com since this is on their site and as such they are able to answer directly. I heard, especially during the first years, that one of the persons behind this site, Lex, used this site to promote his own and his friends releases and slander the others. Lex, I know you are more than able to answer to these speculations. Cause as far as I understand it is indeed only speculations.

But I can understand where such speculations derive from! Remember the first years of ElvisNews? They didn't even want to publish any names at ALL, not even nicknames! Usually when one create a site the owners are proud of their work, but here noone wanted to sign anything. Wan't that weird? And... Suspicious?

And it is this secrecy within the Elvis world I'd like to see change. Of course, this particular reviewer could call himself whatever he would like. But if there was an established custom to not hide but

This is why I menioned my own relation to the press. Not to brag (as if it was anything to brag about...?) like this old singer below seems to imagine in his clouded mind, but because this anti-anonymous custom is there for a reason! Of course, a bootlegger can not for pure legal reasons speak out his identity. But if the "legal Elvis world" did, the webmasters, reviewers, writers/journalists, we would pretty soon see a pattern if, say "John Doe" turned extremely active if one paticular label released something, or started slander a release all over the place if another label released their stuff.
Or the opposite, if some person all of a sudden started using several different alias in different foras to appear as different personas and disguise his hidden agenda, it would eventally be discovered! Unless, of course... Today this is what *everyone* does!

Can't you see?
EspenK (profilecontact) wrote on Apr 21, 2008report abuse
Long live his legacy - gotta keep it alive! Oh yeah, and death to all remixes! That's right.
Mike 1 (profilecontact) wrote on Apr 13, 2008report abuse
EspenK, there seems to be a shortage of people writing reviews for Elvis sites at present. Out of interest, who are those you consider guilty of bias to justify your concern?
EspenK (profilecontact) wrote on Apr 12, 2008report abuse
Benny, I started the discussion and think it is an important one. However, apparently I seem to be the only one concerned about the objectivity of some of the reviewers we find on various Elvis-related websites, as well as behind comments on this site. So I wont bother trying to keep the discussion on topic anymore, but instead enter the apatic "Elvis Forever, Keep the legacy alive and all that"-mode. Hooray, I'm one of you now.
benny scott (profilecontact) wrote on Apr 12, 2008report abuse
I meant : "proff. SINGER " ( typing-error )
benny scott (profilecontact) wrote on Apr 12, 2008report abuse
but i also met a lot of frustrated journalists and producers who's only goal is to write negative articles. So get off your cloud and come back to earth, it's Elvis' music and legacy that counts in the very first place, the rest is b.. sh...
benny scott (profilecontact) wrote on Apr 12, 2008report abuse
I found this review very good. Fans who plan to obtain this CD know what they can expect . Mike 1 : I can't agree more ! As for EspenK : you state that the main topic of this discussion was about anonymous writers, but who started this silly discussion? You seem to be stubburn as a mule. As for the fact that you claim to work as a magazine editor and also work as a guest for TV doesn't impress me at all. You know my friend, I've been a professional songer in my country for more than 30 years. I've been on TV more than once as an artist , I've had hundreds of articles in different newspapers and magazines, so i can assure you that i have a big experience with the press in general. Some of these guys are great, but i a
Mike 1 (profilecontact) wrote on Apr 11, 2008report abuse
What's so important about a name? If he called himself Fred Smith or something similar, would you a) be able to prove that was his real name in any case, or b) add to your appreciation of his review? If not your comments are irrelevant. The fact that he forgot to mention that it was an audience recording does not automatically infer that he was trying to deceive you--it was a simple omission. Why do you automatically presume that he is involved in selling this CD? How can we be sure you're not a rival bootlegger posting under an assumed name? Finally, if you find most audience recordings uninteresting, then why bother to post a response in the first place?
EspenK (profilecontact) wrote on Apr 11, 2008report abuse
Since I do not own this release I have no thoughts about it - and the main topic on this discussion was about anonymous writers, not the release itself. The release is 99% sure totally uninteresting if it is an audience recording - something the review says nothing about. How come? Cause he knew he would not sell as many CDs then (if you get my point)?
Mike 1 (profilecontact) wrote on Apr 11, 2008report abuse
I would welcome a review from missDcup if it was as good as this one. Now do you have any thoughts on this release....or are you only interested in the name of the reviewer?
EspenK (profilecontact) wrote on Apr 11, 2008report abuse
It's a difference between private activity and public/professional published material. A journalist of any given newspaper may call himself "missDcup" in private, still he sign with his real name when publishing text for the newspaper. I like to consider ElvisNews to be sorted under the "professional" websites, and as such should follow those standards.
Mike 1 (profilecontact) wrote on Apr 6, 2008report abuse
Most people adopt a username on an internet messageboard to preserve their privacy, which is entirely understandable given some of the strange types that use them. However, for the most part, it's completely irrelevant who that individual might be...providing the review is accurate.

On the strength of this review, I have obtained this release and can report that the review is spot on in every respect; indeed this is the best review you will ever have for this show and also one of the best reviews EVER featured on this site. Moreover, this reviewer deserves praise for his considerable effort in writing this review purely for the benefit of fans everywhere.

As for your other criticism, I suggest you re-read the review (carefully this time), where you will find that he describes the sound quality thus: 'The sound quality is reasonable but a bit muffled' (early on) and 'The sound is pretty decent and the majority of Elvis' speaking is easily audible.' This sums it up perfectly.

As you appear unimpressed with the quality of this review, perhaps you would like to submit a review for the next release you aquire, so that we can judge for ourselves, how you would write a better one? I can assure you it will be met with keen anticipation from everyone here.
EspenK (profilecontact) wrote on Apr 6, 2008report abuse
I do not mean to offend you or disencourage you from writing future reviews. But, why do you want to stay anonymous? I am sure you are just as aware as me that the Elvis bootleg scene is a small one and with participants that are very active on the web to hype their own releases and talk trash about the others. And why only describe Elvis' performance - and not the product, from a technical point of view? Especially if this is an audience recording the sound is of particular importance.
BigRedGG (profilecontact) wrote on Apr 5, 2008report abuse
Yes, who is this SOB who dares to bother to write a detailed review of a new Elvis CD for the Fans? And what a coward to hide behind a user name. Still all in all a very interesting review. Very balanced IMO. (any similarity to my username is purely coincidental)
Jerome (profilecontact) wrote on Apr 4, 2008report abuse
did Elvis ever do Old Shep in the seventies? And is it available on audience recording or soundboard?..
EspenK (profilecontact) wrote on Apr 4, 2008report abuse
Within the serious segment of the press there are no, I repeat NO exception to the rule that a reviewer sign with his own, real name. Open any magazine, any website run by a professional media company, anywhere, and try to prove me wrong. You'll fail. To keep a source of information anonymous is something that is generally avoided, with a very few exceptions (and NEVER because of a review like this).
Think about it: When do you want to stay anonymous? When you got something to hide or fear concequences when you releal your opinions/information. You always want to avoid your real identity for a reason. A nazi sympathizer want to stay anonymous. A drug smuggler want to stay anonymous. A CD reviewer do NOT want to stay anonymous unless there are some really suspicious connections between him and the reviewed release.
I am not saying there is in this case, cause I can not know. He is, after all anonymous. However, any awake web surfer should ask himself, "Why is the reviewer anonymous? And why did the ElvisNews staff allow him to be?". (And just for the record, my name is Espen Krømke, and I work both as a magazine editor as well as working as a host for TV2, the largest commercial tv company in Norway.)
benny scott (profilecontact) wrote on Apr 3, 2008report abuse
EspenK : you are right about one thing only : there is indeed no mentioning if it's a soundboard or an audience-recording ( i guess it's an audience-rec.) But what do you want the reviewer to write about the CD ? That it's round and shiny and has a hole in the middle ? I know of course what you mean, but the man IS writing about the CD, the man describes what's ON the CD, and isn't that what matters a? And about being "anonymous" as a reviewer : do you want the man to give his real name, first name,address, phonenumber, size of his shoes,shirts,pants and jacket ? Come on, is it that wrong to use a screenname ?
EspenK (profilecontact) wrote on Apr 3, 2008report abuse
Also, in the small Elvis-world today a reviewer should not be anonymous. "BigRedG", who is he? The publisher of this CD? Or his cusin? Noone knows and that is wrong. Elvis News should not allow anonymous postings like these when it comes to reviews.
EspenK (profilecontact) wrote on Apr 2, 2008report abuse
On the contrary, it's one of the worst reviews I've ever read. Can it even be called a review - it's a report about the show, not about the CD! It doesn't even say if this is a soundboard or an audience recording. It hardly mentions the audio quality.
Lefty (profilecontact) wrote on Apr 1, 2008report abuse
That is one of the best CD reviews I've ever read! If I decide to buy this CD, I 'll do so now with both eyes open. Thanks, BigRedG.

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