From the vaults of Larry Patrick an audience recording of Elvis engagement at the International Hotel in Las Vegas from February, 10 1973 surfaced. This midnight show is now released by the Czech Elvis Presley fan club label Memory Records in their ‘audience recording series’.
The cover was designed by one of the webmasters behind the Solid-Gold-Elvis website. They have a special cover section, wonder if we’ll see alternatives for this one there. Actually the cover looks great both front and back. Only little minor is that the picture on the front is a bit 'grainy'. The liner notes are from The Netherlands too, they paint a pretty good picture of the engagement and Elvis state at that moment.
Reading recent discussions on this and other Elvis websites the quality of these audience recordings is about the most important subjects of conversation, sometimes even more important that the actual recorded concert. Looking back at some CD’s released last year, like “I’ll Whoop His Ass”, “Fast Movin’” and “Burning Vegas Down”, there is enough reason for that. But there are exceptions, even BMG will release their first audience recording on the Follow That Dream label. On this CD we get both the band and Elvis reasonably up-front and the audience isn’t disturbing. The overall sound is a bit high, it could use some more bass, this would also give it some more power. The concert isn’t too long; we clocked the CD at almost fifty minutes.
The CD start with a strange laughter (is The Joker from Batman recording this?) but immediately we get into the standard opening with the “2001 theme”, “See See Rider” and “I Got A Woman”. After a short “Love Me Tender” we go into three songs which Elvis loved to perform “You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me”, "Steamroller Blues" and “You Gave me A Mountain”. Unfortunately we don’t get the powerful Elvis who showed the world what he was worth a month earlier with his “Aloha From Hawaii” performance. He missed some power.
“Blue Suede Shoes" is okay, but only lasts one minute. Most of his oldies get the short treatment. “Johnny B. Goode” gets its power from the finger picking of James Burton and Elvis is having fun with the audience on “Hound Dog”.
Fortunately Elvis gives “What Now My Love” a far more serious treatment, making this the most interesting song from this concert. On “Suspicious Minds” he has some troubles. After the band introductions the show continues with “I Can’t Stop Loving You”, with a “messy” end, including a small reprise of the final word “yesterday”. “An American Trilogy” is the other song Elvis gives a better treatment. But again, he misses the real power we know he can lay in his performance.
In this show he does turn up some heat, but unfortunately he doesn’t burn it down. Reading the liner notes, perhaps that’s what he should have done to free himself from the “cage” that held him trapped for the rest of his career.
A good audience recording in audio quality, and an okay Elvis concert from his first Las Vegas engagement of 1973.