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Hello Memphis


Hello Memphis
Rock Legends Acum CD 1005
Show date:


Opening theme 2001
See See Rider
I Got A Woman/ Amen
Love Me
Trying To Get To You
All Shook Up
Steamroller Blues
Teddy Bear/ Don't Be Cruel
Love Me Tender
Johnny B. Goode
Hound Dog
Polk Salad Annie
Why Me Lord
Suspicious Minds
I Can't Stop Loving You
Help Me
An American Trilogy
Let Me Be There
Funny How Time Slips Away
Can't Help Falling In Love
Closing Theme


This show is one of the more intriguing from the 1970's Presley tour catalogue, being the actual "return to Memphis" show (as opposed to the official RCA release 'Elvis Recorded Live On Stage In Memphis'). How in the world could over thirteen years pass between performances in his own hometown? It boggles the mind; certainly, Elvis would be ready to rock the house in his adopted hometown.
Coming near the end of a 24 shows in 20 days tour (!!), Elvis coasts through this March 16, 1974 midday set like it's in Anytown, USA. Those who've maintained that Presley wasn't especially good during afternoon gigs (he'd just gotten up) were right. There're no surprises, nothing special to alert the casual listener that this is something of an event. And it goes a long way towards verifying Elvis' lack of interest in his career by this point. One of the highlights is when Elvis says "hello, Memphis" after finishing his second number.

At the Ellis Auditorium in Memphis on February 25, 1961, Elvis performed songs he'd recorded no more than seven years previously ("That's All Right, Mama"); in his set were current chart toppers ("It's Now Or Never", "Are You Lonesome Tonight", "Surrender") and other recent huge hits. It was just like the type of performance he gave in 1956-57 -- and the audience responded in kind. Presleymania! Returning to Memphis in 1974 we observe an artist whose set is dominated by "oldies", virtually none of which are given the respect they deserve. How many brilliant songs had Elvis recorded between 1968 and 1974? How many of those songs would Elvis had enjoyed singing (as opposed to "Teddy Bear")? Certainly there were more than enough to enhance his shows -- somehow, this didn't happen.

"Trying To Get To You" and "Steamroller Blues" do receive fair workouts (they're done even better later on this tour, namely the 18th and 20th), "American Trilogy" is beautiful and "Johnny B. Goode" (not played much in 1974) features a killer James Burton lead. "Help Me", as ironic a number as Elvis ever sang, is given a fair rendition while "Funny How Time Slips Away" features Elvis ad-libbing "never know when I'll be back in town ... tonight".

In all fairness, this is a terrific sounding disc, taken straight from the mixing desk and very listenable -- an honest document of where Elvis Presley was musically in the spring of his 39th year.

Reviewed by Johnny Savage, USA

8 / 10