Vegas Rhythm is a reissue of Fort Baxter’s “A Matter Of Time” … with all the reissues coming out, this release perhaps was “a matter of time”. Is it worth getting?
This release comes in a bright white design with a touch of sentiment through the use of the Hilton logo. The booklet is a small souvenir photo album with a lot of pictures by Ed Bonja from the same series used for the 1973 “Raised On Rock” album. The pictures were taken a few days prior to the show. The short liner notes contain an enthusiastic review from February 1973 and a word from the producers on the reason for this release and the effort they made. The producers give the credit to the Fort Baxter label for discovering and releasing the show; they added a sound improvement and corrected some edit errors according to the booklet.
The announcement of this released caused some commotion as it contains the same concert as the “A Matter Of Time” Ford Baxter import release from 1993. That CD received both rave reviews on audio quality and content but also remarks that Elvis delivered a mediocre show with some gems like “What Now My Love” and “I'll Remeber You”.
The original release was wrongly dated February 5, it contains the February 3, 1973 concert. The producers of this release were not completely sure about the date either because the front cover mentions February 3 while the back mentions February 5, 1973 :-). But what we got is the first date.
The show itself has been reviewed extensively over the years. If you like the “Aloha From Hawaii” show from three weeks earlier, you will enjoy this show since only a few alterations were made to the set list. Elvis himself is entertaining, but not top notch and 100% focussed on all songs; partly due to some health problems and partly due to the “Vegas Rhythm” of the engagement.
From the original review on the For Elvis CD Collector’s Only website:
“What can be said of this concert except one word - Awesome! … Elvis had just completed his "Aloha from Hawaii" Special 3 weeks earlier, and was still in top form ... An absolutely beautiful version of “Until It's Time for You to Go” …”You Gave me a Mountain” … was performed with a lot of emotion, especially during this time period where Elvis was particularly saddened by his divorce from Priscilla ... then goes into “What Now my Love”, it almost seems as if just him and Priscilla are in the room, and he is singing it directly to her. You can feel this emotion just from the speakers of your Stereo system. Elvis does another treat, “I'll Remember You”… To me this song is one of the most beautiful that Elvis performed live, especially during this time period in his life.”
So far all is covered except the most important part of this review, the audio quality. Playing the two CDs back to back my conclusion is that the producers created a brighter sound from the soundboardtape and I actually like the improvement since it sounds more widely than the original Fort Baxter edition. Listening to the concert, you hear more and the musicians have their own spot on stage and in the room listening to this concert almost 34 years to date. Even in 5.1 surround the CD sounds good.
Altering, remastering or improving the sound is always a topic for discussion among fans, my thoughts; you like it or not. I for one enjoyed listening to this concert twice.
Reissues are not everyone’s cup of tea, but this one is not a cheap reissue making a quick buck over somebody else’s work. The producers improved both the design and – more important of course – the sound. For those who missed the original release 14 years ago, you’re lucky this time