The Audiophile Records label released their second CD title called "Let It Be Me" with a previously unreleased - and according to the press release completely unknown - audience recording of Elvis Presley's Midnight Show in Las Vegas, February 21, 1970, taken directly from the original master tape.
The picture chosen for the eight pages booklet is a great one, they could have blown it up a bit more for my liking. The typography is done a bit amateurish, and this is a pity since it is otherwise a well illustrated and informative booklet. It contains several rare photos taken by an Elvis fan that recorded several shows during this Las Vegas engagement and a fan’s essay on the experience of seeing Elvis. These more personal liner notes always make interesting reading (and make me jealous).
We already have ten or more concerts from this engagement on the BMG (“On Stage”), FTD (“Polk Salad Annie”) and import releases taken from both soundboard (Electrifying”) and audience recordings (“Sheik Of The Desert”). So we know what to expect.
The 1969 season was a rock and roll season; this season was more “middle of the road” with the addition of several melodious ballads – like the title song of this CD - which in later Vegas shows would become his signature performances.
The shows themselves were short; Elvis had a contract for “at least 35 minutes” per show. Some of the shows from the previous august ran 80 to 90 minutes. So with the additional bonus track this release runs for 65 minutes.
The New Musical Express from England wrote “The king returned to his throne at the International Hotel, Las Vegas, last week. And there was no doubting he is the monarch”. Even Albert Goldman, writing for Life Magazine was very positive on Elvis’ stage presence, but did name him the “King of the Oldy-Moldy-Goldys”. Both commends make some points. Elvis rocked the stage and showed who the king was, but also added the more "oldy-moldy-goldy standards to the set. Listening to this and other releases from this second Vegas season I hear a powerful and enthusiast Elvis singing all songs as they should be sung. This goes for both the recordings from February 21 as the bonus tracks from one day later.
The songs "Kentucky Rain" and "Let It Be Me" are incomplete from the main show. However, bonus tracks were taken from another unreleased audience recording during the February 20th Dinner Show, that contain the complete versions of "Kentucky Rain" and "Let It Be Me".
Personal favorites like “Kentucky Rain”, “Walk A Mile In My Shoes”, Neil Diamonds “Sweet Caroline” and show stoppers “Polk Salad Annie” and “Suspicious Minds” make this CD worth another spin. If the sound quality would be better I would crank up the volume even more.
A great concert, unfortunately only an audience recording; but for the enjoyable concert it is worth tracking down a copy of this release.
February 21, 1970 Midnight Show:
01. Opening Vamp - 02. All Shook Up - 03. I Got A Woman - 04. Long Tall Sally - 05. Don't Cry Daddy - 06. Hound Dog - 07. Love Me Tender - 08. Kentucky Rain (incomplete) - 09. Let It Be Me (incomplete) - 10. I Can't Stop Loving You - 11. Walk A Mile In My Shoes/In The Ghetto (medley) - 12. Sweet Caroline - 13. Polk Salad Annie - 14. Celebrity Introductions - 15. Suspicious Minds - 16. Can't Help Falling In Love
February 20, 1970 Dinner Show:
17. Long Tall Sally - 18. Don't Cry Daddy - 19. Kentucky Rain - 20. Let It Be Me - 21. Walk A Mile In My Shoes (false start) - See See Rider - 22. Sweet Caroline - 23. Polk Salad Annie.