'From Georgia To Florida' - 1975

Another look at Elvis' April / May 1975 Tour # 18

FTD CD

- In-depth review by Geoffrey McDonnell / Piers Beagley -

Mid 1975 found Elvis back in good form and having fun on stage. This 5" digipack double-soundboard features two concerts from April 1975. The Opening Show at the Coliseum in Macon on April 24, 1975 and previously unreleased Lakeland April 27, 1975 Afternoon Show.

Unfortunately soundboards from the start of this tour all have the same inherent 'problem' a HEAVY bias towards Piano tracks, there was often very little drums or orchestra in the mix. With the previous Lakeland Evening show already out on FTD can this set really impart anything new?

Elvis soundboard super-collector Geoffrey McDonnell & EIN's Piers Beagley check out the reality of this new FTD double-pack .....


This new FTD 'soundboard' double-pack features two concerts from the start of Elvis' April - May 1975 tour #18.

Mid 1975 has always been a popular period with Elvis fans with Elvis back in fine form and having fun on stage. It was a positive comeback from the emotional roller-coaster of 1974 and before the slide of 1976.

Back in 2014 FTD released a 7" formatted 'Elvis In Florida April 1975' featuring the previously unheard Evening show from Lakeland Florida April 27 plus bonus songs from the early part of the same tour. Despite the "piano-heavy" audio-mix it was a fine compilation with an interesting selection of songs capturing the positive feel of the tour.

In 2017 FTD also released 'Elvis In Atlanta' another two concerts from this same tour the double set of Elvis' two legendary 1975 shows from the Omni Coliseum on April 30th and May 1, 1975. These again had the disappointing audio mix.


This 'soundboard' double-pack features two concerts from Elvis' April - May 1975 tour #18.

For collectors this is of real interest as the first CD is from Elvis' Opening Show of the tour in Macon on 24th April 1975. Elvis often had an extra spark on the first date of a tour and would often include some new songs in the set-list.
The second CD was recorded at the 5th concert of the tour, the Lakeland afternoon show on 27th April 1975.

Both CDs are incompletely recorded 'soundboard' shows starting with some dialogue before 'Love Me'. It would be nice if they were complete but missing out the all-too-routine 'I Got A Woman / Amen' is unlikely to disappoint that many fans.

The Packaging
In this fold open 3-panel digi-pack the cds are labelled to refer to the liner notes to identify each show and there are 6 pictures of Elvis.
Two are from Macon in his Blue 2-piece suit with Blue Armadillo on the shoulders and 4 from Lakeland A/S of Elvis again in a blue 2-piece suit with snake design on shoulders.

Interestingly the partial Macon concert first came out (up until a part of 'I'll Remember You') on the bootleg Rock Legends 1998 cd 'From Vegas to Macon', then upgraded for 2010’s 'Audionics' more complete cd taken from various sources which ran 50 minutes.

Elvis' Opening Shows are always of interest and on this tour he included 'Promised Land' which sadly he would drop at the next show.
This would be the reason FTD / Ernst chose three tracks from this Macon Opening Show to be included in the excellent "Southern Nights" compilation.
Unfortunately even then EIN noted that these Macon tracks were some of the poorest on the CD because of their terrible audio-mix.

The FTD Macon show however has the best consistent sound quality so far released (albeit a poor mix) and the longest running time of 53 minutes.

AUDIO QUALITY: All soundboards from the start of this tour have the same inherent 'problem' a HEAVY bias towards piano! No doubt due to the fact that a new piano-player might be needed to replace the disgruntled Glen D Hardin.
The real issue here is that the sound mix is pretty awful. Elvis' vocal sounds all-too-thin at times, the rhythm section is missing and there is no orchestra at all to bolster the sound. And there's too much Charlie Hodge!

While FTD's 2014 release of 'Elvis In Florida April 1975' was an interesting look at this tour with the odd audio mix offering "something different" - these two sides are more-of-the-same but with worse audio quality. In comparison to that earlier release 'Elvis from Georgia to Florida' sounds muffled and with an even worse audio mix.
Note that the Macon audio has been remastered since the 'Southern Nights' compilation and while the tracks do sound a little improved there is nothing that Jan Eliasson could do to change the terrible mono audio mix as was originally recorded.
The second CD has a better sound - less muffled and a better audio-mix with some orchestra audible at times - but again it is dominated by the annoyingly high piano.

EIN’s Piers Beagley comments..
There are always some magical moments in Elvis' 1975 performances that can really make them special and raise one’s emotional involvement when hearing a new concert.
Such as...
1. The kick-ass rhythm section when Elvis sings 'Promised land'
2. The beautiful hush as the flute solo plays on 'American Trilogy'
3. the great brass section kicking in on Hunka-Hunka-Burning Love.
4. James Burton's neat guitar on T.R.O.U.B.L.E.
5. That great country violin/brass call-&-response on 'Fairytale'
6. The beautiful violin swirl enhancing the emotion as Elvis sings 'I Remember You'..

.. well guess what folks, all these and more are missing from this new FTD 1975 concert release because the sound-mix is so BAD!
No orchestra, no rhythm section, very little James Burton, ... it is all Elvis' vocals cranked up and sounding way too thin backed by Glen Hardin's piano.
Hey, we even get more Charlie Hodge than Ronnie Tutt!

The mix is better on the second concert but… really ‘Dixieland Rocks’ from Murfreesboro May 6th the penultimate date of the same tour is so, so, so much better.

In this FTD there is a STRONG J.D. Sumner Vocal presence too - which actually is far more pleasant listening than too much Charlie Hodge and as Elvis mentions he read an article in the paper all about J.D (being from Lakeland) so it seems appropriate.

As stated in our previous “Elvis In Florida” review the different sound mix can be of interest at times as they do present a different emphasis from the several good quality soundboards that we already have from Elvis' MAY 1975 concerts with a full-mix and similar set-list. This, at least, offers something different to collectors. 'Elvis in Atlanta' was similar. This new set is mastered by Jan Eliasson from the original somewhat sub-standard soundboard tapes.

Some of the tracks sound almost a capella with only piano and backing-vocalists as accompaniment, along with some bass. There is very little drums or orchestra in the mix.

The following day's Macon News review of the performance noted...

Before the band could complete even the first note of "2001," the song which always marks Elvis's arrival on stage, the 11,000 fans in the Macon Coliseum screamed in anticipation.
The crowd rose to their feet and cheered when the "King" appeared, an action that was to be repeated again and again throughout the sold out concert.
As Elvis dressed in blue and silver, began singing 'C.C. Rider' the crowd quieted, but only temporarily.
Every song he sang and every word brought screams from the crowd. Women jumped up and down or sat mesmerized with their hands to their faces. The young and old were enthralled by Elvis Presley.
The audience laughed and applauded when Elvis mistakenly began to refer to Macon as Atlanta.
Every thrust of his guitar or body caused pandemonium among the women. This was especially true of his rendition of 'Burning Love' a showcase for the Elvis style which caused Ed Sullivan to censor Elvis's first network television appearance from the waist down.
Other audience favorites included 'American Trilogy', 'You Don't Have To Say You Love Me', 'It's Midnight', 'My Boy', and 'T.R.O.U.B.L.E.'
A cry of dismay rose from the audience when Elvis began 'I Can't Help Falling In Love With You' his traditional closing song.

So the GOOD News is that this Opening Show did show Elvis on good form and pleasing his fans.

'Elvis from Georgia to Florida' FTD - review by Geoffrey Mc Donnell

CD 1 - Macon, Opening Concert 24th April 1975 - 53 minutes.
The cd kicks-off with Elvis saying 'I'm Johnny Cash', jokingly telling the crowd that "It's nice to be in Atlanta"! And says he will do all of the songs-even if he has to be here all night!

Elvis then kids Charlie Hodge "does he remember what to do with the scarves" before LOVE ME- which is pretty ordinary.
As noted, the Piano sound is most dominant, but also you can hear all the back-up singers and at least you can feel the positive audience response.

'IF YOU LOVE ME' is 'ok' if nothing like punchier, better mixed, versions.

Unfortunately the audio mix truly lets down the classic 'YOU DON'T HAVE TO SAY YOU LOVE ME'. With Elvis' wavery and thin vocal all too prominent in the mix it only shows his lack of vocal power compared to the early 1970s. This song would have worked better later in the show - when he had warmed up and with a better mix - but as it is it sounds terrible (although I sure a crowd-pleaser on the night).
Note that Elvis' Jacksonville version from the next day (as on Elvis In Florida 1975) sounded similarly weak.
Elvis would sensibly soon drop the song from his set-list.

'BIG BOSS MAN' ups the pace and "Rocks" but again mainly with the Piano!

The ballads tend to benefit more from the lighter audio-mix and 'It's MIDNIGHT' is well sung, but again mostly just with Piano and Kathy for accompaniment.
'PROMISED LAND' is 'ok' (as on Southern Nights) but it so lacks the power of a good rhythm section and again is only driven by the Piano again - AND Charlie Hodge!

'FAIRYTALE' is introduced by Elvis saying "We have not recorded this yet, but I hope you enjoy it". No doubt he meant to say "Not Released yet" as the album would come out a few weeks later. Elvis would only sing this song 3 times in this tour and this is not a bad version.

'BURNING LOVE' however is a very up-beat, good version, and loved by the crowd but again disappointingly lacking the drive of James Burton's lead guitar.
Afterwards Elvis jokes "I'd like to lay down for a few minutes"!

The Introductions have Elvis joking around saying "This is the same group that I had with me in Macon before – unfortunately – they are 'average'". Elvis had played Macon in April 1972, three years before.
The regular introductions follow, before James Burton's mostly instrumental 'WHAT'D I SAY’, Drums - Ronnie Tutt, Jerry Scheff - Blues (which Elvis seems to enjoy, asking for more) plus piano-solo-loud! from Glen D.Hardin. Then intors to Charlie Hodge, VOICE, Joe Guercio Orchestra –plus regular instrumental ‘HAIL,HAIL ROCK N'ROLL’.

'MY BOY' follows which being a piano led song actually sounds OK and with a mix that suits the song, which is sung very well by Elvis. Very similar to the previous "Elvis In Florida" the lack of OTT orchestra in the mix here is a plus.

Elvis' new single 'T.R.O.U.B.L.E' had been released two days before and so tonight was going to be Elvis' very first live performance - and so maybe they should have rehearsed it a little more! “We don’t know it, but we’re gonna try it”!, says Elvis. This is not what you want to hear from your favourite superstar!
'T.R.O.U.B.L.E.'
has the piano backing again, but Elvis mixes up the words and screws it up creating not a particularly good version.

'I'LL REMEMBER YOU' again has a nice Piano emphasis but sadly lacks the emotional pull of the violins that usually help.
'LET ME BE THERE' is well sung as usual, a song always done will in 1975 and with reprise.

'AN AMERICAN TRILOGY' is spoilt by the 'Disneyland' comment and the mock high voice 'Sing it' to the Stamps giving us a devalued version even if the power-ending does help. Elvis’ loving audience is captivated and it gets a huge appreciative applause.

Then Elvis mentions that they have been a fantastic audience in Macon and closes with Can't Help Falling in Love- which is a more distant version.

The show is basically 'ok', but Elvis sounds un-rehearsed – a real shame for an Opening Show where you could hope for more energy and focus - and yet he clearly tries working the crowd with his strongly selected show repertoire.

After 2 shows in Tampa, Florida Elvis arrived at the Dutch Inn, Lakeland ready to perform 2 concerts at the Civic Center Arena. Before his first Afternoon Show on 27th Elvis met back stage with Mrs. Carolyn Poe (who was going blind from Diabetes). In the newspaper review of the show Jeff Klein wrote that Elvis was 'Overweight as well as a little tired', however he also noted that Elvis sang well.
Certainly Elvis was awake and in a good mood and frame of mind for his first Lakeland show: -

CD 2 Lakeland 27th April 1975 Afternoon Show - 53 minutes.
Again the first two songs are missed - and after some dialogue Elvis announces, "I'm Wayne Newton" to a laughing crowd.

'LOVE ME' is again 'routine' and unremarkable however the sound in the mix is noticeably better on this recording even if still piano heavy. You can hear more of the band, drums and audience.

'IF YOU LOVE ME' is enthusiastically sung yet 'LOVE ME TENDER' is pretty ordinary.

'Teddy Bear/Don't be Cruel' is actually passable this night and 'HELP ME' that follows is a real highlight and a very nice version. Again the mix works better on the ballads and less OTT songs.

'BURNING LOVE' again is a great version, rocking and better audio balance, pretty exciting with at last some rhythm section in the mix. Elvis pushes the Hunka-Hunka-Burning-Love ending further than normal, “Whoo” he enthuses to keep the band going - “Cmon’ take it band” he says at the end.

With no Big Boss Man (sung only 3 times this tour), Promised Land (dropped after the Opening Show) or Fairytale (only 3 times this tour) this night, The Introductions come on sooner than the Macon show and they last ten minutes – surely far too long in a show running an hour.
With the usual routine Elvis jokes "The Sweet Inspirations are "'really fantastic', but not really he just had to say something!"

J.D. Sumner, who was playing his home-town this night, is however sincerely introduced as “One of the finest gentlemen and one of the finest bass-singers in the country”. Elvis jokes that he has to say that “because of what J.D said in the paper today!”
There's more kidding around as Elvis asks if J.D's mother will be in for the second show and kids him that he is in heaps of trouble!

James Burton plays 'Johnny B. Goode' beautifully this night but Elvis doesn't join in much.
The usual drum/bass/piano solos follow, Elvis says "Play it Jerry Lee" to Glen Hardin, plus a throwaway ‘School Day’. .

'MY BOY' again with prominent Piano-mix is a very sincere and measured version however it features far too much Charlie Hodge in the chorus.

'T.R.O.U.B.L.E' - introduced as “We have a new record out, that’s been out about 4 days, it’s got a lot of words and I haven’t had time to learn it” - is actually not bad tonight as, being the fifth live attempt, Elvis doesn't get the words mixed up and it gets a cute extended ending. Beforehand Elvis again says he has to read it. (C’mon Elvis why not learn your new single before the show!)

'WHY ME LORD’ is really funny tonight as Elvis kids J.D. more than usual saying “No way” in response to “What did I ever do?” and reminds J.D that he is in his hometown. This makes it tougher than usual for JD and they both really fall apart laughing. With Elvis joining in sincerely on the choruses this makes it one of the very best “Joking” versions released. “J.D. I have never heard you sing better” Elvis teases at the end.

LET ME BE THERE is as strong as usual, and after Elvis persuades Kathy to give a guy a scarf and a kiss. Knowing there were some issues between Elvis and some-time girlfriend Kathy at the time it all feels rather uncomfortable.

THE HAWAIIAN WEDDING SONG is then very nicely performed with Kathy.
Teasing the crowds with, “You AIN’T ….. Never been To Spain” HOUND DOG itself is a complete 'throwaway'. (Never Been To Spain would have been such a better choice)

AN AMERICAN TRILOGY is a decent, serious version apart from the usual “sing it fellas” joke and “In Dixieland where J.D was born” with this time a nice clear Flute solo and Elvis putting in a sincere and powerful ending. Afterwards this true highlight gets a very prolonged audience ovation with Elvis having to keep on thanking the crowd.

Elvis then wraps it up with a wonderfully sincere ending telling his loving fans, “You’ve been a beautiful audience and you’ve been so good to us here in Lakeland and – I’ll tell you a secret - you are the real stars of the show. We are so happy to be here and so until we see you again may God Bless You and take it easy”.

It is one of the most touching endings Elvis ever expressed to his loving audience and obviously so sincere.

With that it is a better paced ‘Can't Help Falling in Love’ that brings the show to a fine close.
Knowing he had another show to follow this truly was a good afternoon show with Elvis sounding in a fine form.

The obvious question is why FTD didn't give us a “twofer” before of both Lakeland performances but this is presumably be because the Evening Show (as reviewed here) was almost identical.

Overall Verdict: Combining the Opening Show from Macon and its different set-list with the later Lakeland show does in fact make this 1975 double an enjoyable listen, with the previously unheard Lakeland performance truly adding to collector's interest. However there is no doubt that the generally poor audio-mix is the reason that these April ’75 concerts are being released so late in FTD’s schedule even if the second disc is not as bad. This double-set can be recommended for keen soundboard collectors but "general fans" must surely first purchase FTD’s ‘Dixieland Rocks’ as the best release from this tour.
Fans should also consider the earlier FTD ‘Elvis Live In Florida’ as it features another excellent Lakeland performance – the evening show- plus a selection of interesting bonus songs including four other songs not featured here (Funny How Time Slips Away, That's All Right, Heartbreak Hotel and Help Me Make It Through The Night).

 

Review by Geoffrey McDonnell / Piers Beagley.
-Copyright EIN February 2019
EIN Website content © Copyright the Elvis Information Network.

Click here to comment on this review


Disc 1: Coliseum, Macon, Georgia, April 24, 1975
1 Talk 1:05
2 Love Me 2:45
3 If You Love Me (Let Me Know) 2:56
4 You Don't Have To Say You Love Me 2:05
5 Big Boss Man 2:52
6 It's Midnight 3:09
7 Promised Land 2:52
8 Fairytale 3:23
9 Burning Love 3:11
10 Introductions including: 7:06
(a) What'd I say
(b) School Days
11 My Boy 4:18
12 T-R-O-U-B-L-E 3:40
13 I'll Remember You 2:32
14 Let Me Be There 3:28
15 American Trilogy 4:28
16 Can't Help Falling In Love 1:42
17 Closing Vamp 1:39

Both Discs mastered by Jan Eliasson

Disc 2: Civic Center Arena, Lakeland, Florida Afternoon show, April 27, 1975.
1 Talk 0:42
2 Love Me 2:20
3 If You Love Me (Let Me Know) 2:58
4 Love Me Tender 1:55
5 (Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear / Don't Be Cruel 2:40
6 Help Me 2:36
7 Burning Love 3:11
8 Introductions including: 9:18
a) Johnny B. Goode
(b) School Days
9 My Boy 4:12
10 T-R-O-U-B-L-E 3:50
11 Why Me Lord 3:02
12 Let Me Be There 4:19
13 Hawaiian Wedding Song 2:33
14 Hound Dog 1:46
15 American Trilogy 4:42
16 Can't Help Falling In Love 1:42
17 Closing Vamp 1:31

FTD CD Credits: Compilation produced by Ernst Jorgensen & Roger Semon.



'Elvis In Florida April 1975' FTD In-Depth Review: Mid 1975 found Elvis back in good form and having fun on stage. Officially we have so far heard almost nothing from the first part of Elvis' Tour#13 from April 24 - May 7.  This FTD features material from Elvis' Lakeland concerts on April 27th & 28th as well as Jacksonville April 25 1975.
The St. Petersburg Times commented … "But Elvis' forte is still the rockin' stuff, and he shows he hasn't lost what it takes. His Burning Love puts shame even to his own record version. When he launches into a slow, torchy Heartbreak Hotel, the inflections are vintage 1956"

FTD decided that this interesting selection deserved a release in the larger 7' format.

Go here as Elvis soundboard super-collector Geoffrey McDonnell checks out this previously unreleased concert and these unexplored April '75 concerts ....
(FTD Reviews, Source:GM/ElvisInfoNet)


'Elvis In Atlanta' FTD In-Depth Review: Mid 1975 found Elvis back in good form and having fun on stage.
As the Atlanta Journal commented … "The mere dimming of the lights is sufficient to set off a feminine uproar. Elvis moves across the stage .. surely the walls of the Omni will tumble at any moment. Musically he's the old Elvis... but also introduces a new recording called "TROUBLE" which is a feverish rocker harkening back to his early days."
FTD has now released a double CD of two legendary 1975 shows from the Omni Coliseum on April 30th and May 1, 1975 retrospectively.
The different piano/vocals sound mix offers an alternate musical vibe to the previously released mid-summer concerts..
Go here as Elvis soundboard super-collector Geoffrey McDonnell & EIN's Piers Beagley check out this new 1975
(FTD Reviews, Source:GM/ElvisInfoNet)

Stunning Sound on 'Dixieland Rocks' :  At this stage of his career (1975) some of his concerts were rushed and lacked a little polish, but not his concerts in Murfeesboro, Tennessee on May 6 and 7. Every one of the 24 selections on this release is strong. From the high energy of I Got A Woman (J.D Sumner's low note has to be heard to be believed) to a rumbling version of Polk Salad Annie, the listener is treated to a great concert from the King.

Crisp, clear vocals and great audio quality make Dixieland Rocks a real winner.


Go here for other relevant EIN ELVIS reviews

Dragonheart: South Bend 1974 FTD Review

'Good To Be Back' CD Bootleg Review:

'Elvis In Atlanta' 1975 - FTD In-Depth Review:

Dinner at Eight 1975. FTD Review:

'Elvis: Spirit Of Jackson, MS' 1975 - FTD In-depth Review:

'What Now My Love' 1972 FTD in-depth Review:

'Elvis: Murfreesboro '74'' FTD In-Depth Review:

'Elvis: Lake Tahoe '74' FTD In-Depth Review:

'Elvis: The Bicentennial Show' 1976' FTD In-Depth Review

‘Forty Eight Hours To Memphis’ 1974 live.



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