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Gyrating Asheville

Released: 1997, by Live Archives EPE 1020
Live, Asheville1975/07/23

Content

CD-1
Also Sprach Zarathustra
See See Rider
I Got A Woman/ Amen
Big Boss Man
Love Me
If You Love Me (let me know)
It's Midnight
All Shook Up
Teddy Bear/ Don't Be Cruel
Hound Dog
The Wonder Of You
Turn Around, Look At Me
Polk Salad Annie
Band introductions
Johnny B. Goode
Instumental solos
CD-2
Introductions
School Days
T-R-O-U-B-L-E
Why Me Lord
How Great Thou Art
Let Me Be There
Shake A Hand
Fairytale
Introduction of Vernon
Little Darlin'
Mystery Train/ Tiger Man
Funny How Time Slips Away
It's Now Or Never
Promised Land
Can't Help Falling In Love

Reviews

By the summer of '75, Elvis Presley had already completed his last-ever proper studio session. He spent June and July touring around the south-eastern US, giving a most memorable series of rockin' performances; this was the last time he would do so with any consistency. And it was the final time his famous sideburns would be seen in a flattering length and style.
'Gyrating Asheville' is a decent, listenable 2xCD audience recording of the July 23rd gig in Asheville, NC The penultimate tour show of 1975 (although Vegas and a special New Year's Eve date were ahead), Elvis again performed at a very high level. He gave the Wednesday evening crowd of 7,400 plenty of standards from this era like "C.C. Rider," "Polk Salad Annie," and "Funny How Time Slips Away" and perversely throws away the 50's numbers, as usual, like "Love Me" and "Hound Dog"; however, there are a number of very surprising inclusions to the set, like "Turn Around, Look At Me" (a short, but full-blooded rendition), a soulful, measured version of Faye Adams' "Shake A Hand" and a smooth-sounding "Promised Land." "Fairytale" is so unfamiliar to the set that when Elvis calls for it the band sounds tentative; it ends up a more pleasing, less "showy" performance than those of the following year.

At his final three dates in Asheville Elvis apparently was spurred on to give more than usual; the local folks just weren't the type to give standing ovations. Each night became a personal challenge to get them up out of their seats, thus the unexpected songs and extra-long shows. The performance on the 24th would find Presley throwing two of his diamond rings into the crowd! It's regrettable more Elvis audiences weren't this discriminating.

Elvis interacts well with the southern crowd ("I'm not getting better, I'm gettin' older!"); he even accepts a Bible at one point, pausing to point out a "strange" coincidence: "Do you know how the first chapter of Genesis spelled? G-E-N-E-S-I-S, right? Okay. What's the human body made of? G-E-N-E-S. Okay, just a little bit of information, you know." Then he goes into "Little Darlin'!" It's crazy, it's an Elvis Presley show.

Live Archives make up for the off-line cassette-recorded tape with a superb package, sporting no less than nine high-quality color shots from Asheville, some of which are previously unpublished. It's especially well-done, better than most of Elvis' "official" live album covers. Perhaps someday we'll hear more of the Asheville stand (not to mention two wonderful sets in New York just four days earlier) from the mixing desk tapes, but considering that all we have from the July'75 tour is audience-recorded documentation, this is a worthy addition to the Presley legacy.

It's worth remembering, too, that this was the tour that garnered a very honest, yet positive review from noted critic John Rockwell in the New York Times:

"His baritone is still as solid as ever, with its humorously cavernous bottom and its nasal vibrato on top. When he is putting out ... reaching for the top notes and shaping phrases with the same easy individuality that has always marked his best work, he is still the king."


Reviewed by Johnny Savage, USA


Sound: 5 out of 10.
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z