'Elvis: Las Vegas Hilton 1973'
FTD CD - Hilton 'Summer Festival' 1973
- In Depth Review by Geoffrey McDonnell / Piers Beagley
FTD announces the release of 'ELVIS: LAS VEGAS Hilton ‘73.'
A 2-CD 5” digi-pak this set features Elvis from two shows at the Las Vegas Hilton; August 20 (midnight) and September 2nd (3AM).
The August 20, 1973 (Midnight Show) is an old favourite that was released as a Fort Baxter bootleg back in 1995 on 'A Profile The King On Stage Vol 1'. It was a "stereo sound booth audience recording" in pretty good quality.
The September 2, 1973 (3AM show) is however previously unreleased.
Elvis soundboard super-collector Geoffrey McDonnell and EIN's Piers Beagley check out this new FTD double-pack from 1973.....
Early 1973 was an emotionally traumatic time for Elvis. Although his divorce had been officially agreed back in August 1972, Priscilla had decided to reopen proceedings. Mike Stone (Priscilla's boyfriend) was also trying to limit Elvis' access to Lisa Marie which really upset him.
The year had started on the perfect high of the Aloha special but, having achieved the ultimate live show, was there really any challenge left to divert him from the sadness of his personal life?
There is no doubt that the emotional stress was affecting Elvis’ health and his voice was also reflecting the strain. During his first 1973 Las Vegas season his voice sounded weak and Elvis had to cancel several shows. Similarly Elvis had to cancel his final eight concerts of his May second Lake Tahoe season.
Elvis’ health had improved by his 1973 Las Vegas Summer Season and he was fine through all 58 performances. There is however a definite feeling of boredom or lack of inspiration which can be no surprise since, after the peak of Aloha, how humdrum it must have felt being back on the same Las Vegas treadmill night after night. Having said that, Elvis was enjoying himself teasing the audience and playing pranks. He would also add new songs ‘Trouble’ andbto the setlist while still feeling the freshness of ‘Steamroller Blues’.
Regular bassist Jerry Scheff had quit the band back in March 1973 and so session musician Emory Gordy (Burnin’ Love) would fill his place touring with the TCB band until the end of the year. Emory Gordy plays some mean walking-bass lines which are joy to listen to.
Unfortunately Elvis live in 1973 is poorly represented by the FTD label – they have almost no soundboards available. Nothing has been released from Tour 7 or Tour 8. These two shows come from Elvis’ Las Vegas Season 9, August 6 – Sept 3. Elvis’ infamous and fascinating ‘Closing Night’ was released back in 2004.
Go here to see the stats and EIN’s list of FTD/BMG live releases.
Due to the pandemic the postal service to Australia is very slow - this set only arrived last week.
Elvis: Las Vegas Hilton 1973 - FTD review by Geoffrey Mc Donnell - with added input by Piers Beagley
This FTD double-set comprises of two “sound-booth” recordings, re-mastered for FTD by Jan Eliasson.
The sleeve note interestingly credits.. “Recorded by Bill Porter with microphones. Cassette Source”
Being “Booth recorded” rather than mono soundboard there is some cool stereo ambience on the recording and you get to appreciate more of the audience’s reaction. Perhaps Bill Porter wanted a better representation of what Elvis’ concerts sounded like compared to the alternate “dry” soundboard recordings.
The usual 5" triple page fold-out pack with the cover images from Elvis’ Closing Show on 3rd September and inside cover from the 31st August 73’ dinner show - all from the ‘Caught in a Trap’ book. Other ‘memorabilia’ here is the Las Vegas round menu and the advert for the extra show on 2nd September 1973, 3am Sunday morning show.
Other photos apart from back cover track listings is Elvis in his suit late August 1973 receiving an award ‘gold disc’ for ‘in the ghetto’ with Tom Diskin, RCA’s George Parkhill, Elvis and the Colonel. (Elvis looks ‘good’ in this photo),
The track-listing and liner notes looked pretty good until I noticed the song writing credits for ‘My Boy’ are misprinted, noting “Phil Coulte” and not the correct “Phil Coulter”. Similarly Ewan MacColl wrote ‘First Time Ever I saw Your Face’ not ‘Evan McColl’!
This engagement has received a lot of criticism for being ‘lazy +lackluster’ compared to Elvis in the past. Whilst I agree - from eye witness fans reports- that his stage movements were reduced this season there is no doubt that the set-list was greatly improved with the inclusion of great versions of ‘Trouble’ & ‘My Boy’ and Elvis was back singing strongly in a great, rich, voice.
As far back as 1995 the 20th August 1973 M/S was a highlight of the Fort Baxter bootleg release ‘A Profile The King On Stage’. On a more recent SA ‘Elvis Rocks the Hilton’ bootleg set it ran 2 minutes longer having a lengthier build-up before the 2001 intro.
Several fans have commented on it running a little fast and indeed 'See See Rider' really does sound a little too fast but as the show progresses on it sounds ‘ok’. (Better a little fast than draggingly slow as in ‘Live in LA’!)
In fact, as Elvis mentions Bob Hope three times during the show - clearly in awe of the great comedian with 70-year-old Hope up in Elvis’ suite afterwards saying how much he enjoyed the show! – it would not be a surprise if Elvis himself had asked Bill Porter to record the show as a ‘keepsake’. The care of Elvis’ measured performance and minimal banter may even indicate this was a ‘special performance’ from Elvis.
Once again back in the Hilton for a summer season Elvis was a little bored and frustrated by his ninth Las Vegas season. This would of course accumulate with his Closing Show and his firing of manager Col Parker.
CD1 – August 20 Midnight Show - 53 minutes.
The season started on August 6th so August 20 Midnight show would be Elvis’ 30th performance of the season.
The 2001 Theme kicks off cd1 and straight away you can hear that the audio quality and the mix is very good. As mentioned ‘See See Rider’ seems a little too fast with the ‘I Got A Woman / Amen’ starting ‘softly sung’ with J.D asked to do his double deep-bass endings. Elvis says in a rather flippant off-hander, “Were going to walk around a lot and act like we know what we are doing!”.
By 1973 ‘Love Me’ had become the usual routine scarf throwing / kissing the girls version and with the “booth” recording you can hear the crowd laughing along.
‘Steamroller Blues’ is a fine version with a great rock driving beat plus a delicious Emory Gordy walking bass-line. Seven months on from his Aloha performance this was definitely a highlight.
‘You Gave Me A Mountain’ whoever led the brass intro surely ‘bummed’ out this night playing flat, before the song does become a great version in which you can feel Elvis’ pain and suffering. 18 months from Priscilla’s leaving, Elvis was still putting the pain into his performances.
Having been a highlight of the ’68 Comeback’ it was always a mystery why Elvis wouldn’t include ‘Trouble’ as a regular treat. The Vegas season it became a nightly highlight but was disappointingly dropped by the next tour. Tonight Elvis’ version is very fine with him noting, just before Emery’s bass solo, “do something wrong!” - a great highlight.
Sadly, by comparison, the following ‘Blue Suede Shoes’ is a total throwaway (with some added Charlie Hodge).
The Rock Medley. If an artist performs a “medley” you know it’s purely to cover their greatest hits audience obligation and this is a prime example. ‘Long Tall Sally’ however, at least features a quip about Bob Hope when he sings “Saw Bob Hope with bald headed Sally”-Whole Lotta Shakin is fast paced but fun while the rest are unfortunately all too rushed.
Love Me Tender is another scarf giving out song and Elvis says after “he will make the rounds”. Again the ‘booth recording” – over a dry recording - gives one a chance to hear how the fans were amused by it.
Fever smolders along nicely with a good bass a good version.
What Now My Love (first performed in August 1972 but dropped after this Las Vegas season) is ‘Dramatic’ if taken at too fast a tempo for its theatrical lyrics.
By August 1973 Suspicious Minds had become a required crowd-pleaser as opposed to a show-stopper and tonight it sounds fairly ‘pedestrian’ again missing the power of previous years. All over in 3 ½ minutes.
The ‘Introductions’ are luckily brief and quick. Elvis mentions the Orchestra was voted the #1 orchestra of the year, a valid award as they sound excellent tonight. The highlight is when Elvis’ introduces Bob Hope as “an American Institution and one of the funniest men that has ever lived” and states that it is a great honor that he came in to see the show.
Elvis introduces his next song ‘My Boy’ as a beautiful song by Richard Harris. This is SUPERBLY performed with the pause before ‘Sleep on’ adding great drama and effect to a brilliant performance. A real show ‘highlight ‘sung so well by Elvis and with a beautifully paused ending and sad final note from the Orchestra. Surely a master-class performance.,
‘Release Me’ starts fast but sadly soon deteriorates with missed words as a fan insists on keeping throwing back the scarf Elvis threw at her. “Don’t throw any more” Elvis keeps saying mid-song. In fact this goes on several times and ruins the performance. The incident was mentioned in the Jeanne LeMay Dumas book ‘Elvis Linda & Me’ and Red West also related the story in the filming of "All The King's Men."
After the show Elvis started an argument with Red West about the scarf incident and it nearly developed into a gun fight until Elvis realised that RED was mad and backed down! I do kind of sympathize with Elvis regarding what happened as it clearly started as a ‘laugh’ and got out of hand.
In a more positive reaction Elvis says "You're a good pitcher, kid" just before the start of ‘American Trilogy’. Again well performed and a sincerely moving version – another ‘highlight’.
While for any Elvis fan seeing him perform ‘Mystery Train / Tiger Man’ would have to be a highlight but tonight’s 2 minute version – along with the annoying trumpet - is almost a throwaway and nothing more than that.
Elvis asks for an ‘E’ Chord and sings ‘Help Me Make It Through The Night’ which while fairly short and a kiss-the fans interlude is still a nice version.
Elvis then dedicates the next song ‘How Great Thou Art’ to Bob Hope. With the challenge set it is a very good indeed. Elvis would only perform this song at half his shows this Vegas season and while it is famous as being a crucial song in Elvis’ Memphis 1974 LP release it was actually a set-list rarity in 1974.
Afterwards Elvis says a simple ‘Thank You – you have been a fantastic audience” and closes with a fine ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love’.
This closes a very good show with lovely deep and ‘Ambient’ two microphone recorded sound. However it has to be noted that the FTD audio quality (although raised in level) shows no real improvement to the original Fort Baxter bootleg release.
With Bob Hope in the audience it is perhaps a surprise that Elvis didn’t include some more rarities such as ‘A Big Hunk O Love’ or even a reprise of ‘How Great Thou Art.
DISC 2: 2nd September extra 3am show - 51 minutes.
A Saturday Night specially added concert. Elvis had of course already performed two shows that day already however he only had the two Sunday shows to go - including the infamous Closing Night – before his hard work was finished and he could head home for a well-earned break.
Unsurprisingly Elvis kept the show fairly short dropping season regulars ‘My Boy’ and ‘Blue Suede Shoes’. We do however get a beautiful ‘The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face’ which Elvis only introduced to his regular set-list this season.
Once again a booth recording giving a stereo ambience plus featuring more of the audience reactions. The overall mix is excellent but sadly the recording is not a clear as on CD1 and also includes some minor peak distortion at times. While perhaps a fairly short concert, with a well-known set-list, the humour of Elvis’ performance makes this concert a truly enjoyable addition to our collection.
It was at this show that Lamar Fike carried Elvis onto the stage on his back.
‘2001 Theme’ – with its ambient recording - nicely captures the reaction from the crowd with them not only shrieking but also laughing loudly at the joke.
Elvis is similarly enjoying the prank as he laughs all the way through a very upbeat ‘See See Rider’. Wide awake and ready for fun Elvis laughs and tells the crowd, “That was my friend Lamar Fike!”
Elvis is still in great humour as he kicks off ‘I Got A Woman’, “God Help Us!” Elvis laughs in places and gets J.D. to do his ‘Amen’ ending just the once - “Oh Lord Have Mercy, fantastic” – and the show continues with quite a fast pace.
Elvis then says "Good morning, Evening, Afternoon whatever it is…how can you top that entrance Man!’... .”J.D. you’ve been up a long time, and I’ve been up a long time too’.
‘Love Me’ is the usual routine version but ‘Steamroller Blues’ that follows is a very fine version with some nice walking-bass from Emory Gordy.
You Have Me A Mountain is a similarly a good version, not as O-T-T as in later versions.
Once again ‘Trouble’ is a highlight, menacing and with a good low bass. Elvis puts in a great performance hitting a neat falsetto on “my middle name is misery”. While he didn’t keep this song in his set-list beggars belief.
The Rock Medley features a joke line about “J.D.Sumner with Charlie Hodge” during ‘Long Tall Sally’ with ‘Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin On’ all too brief and with the whole medley rushed through in under 2 minutes.
‘Love Me Tender’ is a throwaway kiss the girls version but does feature the funny line ‘Take me to your leader!’ (same as in Norman 26.3.77 show!).
“Let’s do this other silly song” Elvis announces before he plays around with ‘Fever’. He teases with the crowd who laughs along and throws in line changes such as including “polk salad Annie, gator’s got your grannie” - a completely non serious and fun 3am version.
Next Elvis says it’s too early in the morning to do ‘Bridge’ – a regular for this season – disappointing the crowd but noting, “I’m running this damn show, I’ll will do what I want!”.
Unfortunately Elvis also throws away the drama of ‘What Now My Love’ as he keeps breaking up laughing “Damn man. Sing it Charlie you fool” and adding several humorous word changes. The crowd, however, are in on the joke and Elvis does pull off a great power-ending.
Afterwards Elvis apologises noting that “I ruined a perfectly good song, we just get in a silly mood sometimes”. Elvis then does a water-throwing slapstick routine with Charlie causing loud laughter from hsi fans.
The crowd-pleaser ‘Suspicious Minds’ is again a routine “I hope this suit don’t tear up baby” 1973 version, although I am sure the fans would have loved every moment.
The ‘Intros’ are brief and routine with Elvis afterwards mentioning that there are a lot of people from the British Fan Club present causing plenty of audience reaction.
“Drop the arrangement” Elvis announces before a too fast and throwaway ‘Release Me’. In a very light and fast tempo with new brass arrangement – along with the line change of ‘I Can’t Help if Guercio’s Queer’ – the drama is lost and the song is not a patch on previous versions.
Before ‘American Trilogy’ has Elvis asks for the light man NOT to turn the flag on during it - “the song says enough, we don’t need it”.
When Elvis asks the Stamps to sing “I wish I were in Dixie” he lightly quips “I wish you were” but this time the emotion is not spoilt and it remains a strong version with a lovely flute solo. The dramatic highlight of the evening.
Upping the pace as they head towards the dawn, Elvis ramps up ‘Mystery Train / Tiger Man’. As always, while still including that annoying trombone, the audience lap it up.
Introduced as “One of our favorite songs” ‘The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face’ is a lovely version sung with real care and tenderness. Elvis sings “I knew a joy that would fill the earth” with touching sincerity. Another concert highlight, afterwards Elvis rightly remarks, “It’s a pretty song”.
Elvis introduces the next song as featuring the Stamps Quartet. ‘How Great Thou Art’ is another highlight with lovely bass inflection. Not sung as overly dramatically as in later years, it’s a strong version with Elvis putting out the emotion. After Elvis says “I liked that, good stuff” and reprises the ending.
Having really satisfied his loving audience Elvis tells the`m that, “If we have done anything to make you happy or make you smile or giggle or whatever, then I feel we have done our jobs. Thank You very much. ”
‘Can’t Help Falling In Love’ is of course the finale and is a pleasant enough version concluding this fast-paced and fun-filled 50-minute show.
This FTD version from a sound booth recording is vastly SUPERIOR to its previous outing on the ‘Audirec’ audience Bootleg release even if the bootleg version includes a minute longer with more recording before 2001 starts.
NOTE: Others have queried the correct speed of these discs. On FECC Johnny2523 says that CD1 runs 4% too fast and CD 2 runs 2% too fast. He could well be right.
Overall Verdict: With less and less unreleased material left in the RCA vault, fans cannot overly complain about any new performances that FTD manages to produce for our burdening collections. So with a few caveats, we can certainly recommend this 1973 two-fer-one double pack. If you own the original Fort Baxter August 20th release, to be honest, there is little difference here. However the slightly less clear sounding 3am show is a neat bonus to our collections – Elvis may be about to bust-up with Col Parker but he’s having a great time on stage and having fun with his audience. This concert demonstrates a very different mood to Elvis’ Closing Night and is a great addition to our rather limited 1973 live collection. More ‘Booth recordings’ please.
|DISC 1 – August 20, 1973 (Midnight Show)
1 Introduction: Also Sprach Zarathustra
2 See See Rider
3 I Got A Woman / Amen
4 Love Me
5 Steamroller Blues
6 You Gave Me A Mountain
8 Blue Suede Shoes
9 Medley: Long Tall Sally / Whole Lot-ta Shakin’ Goin’ On / Mama Don’t Dance / Flip, Flop And Fly / Jailhouse Rock / Hound Dog
10 Love me Tender
12 What Now My Love
13 Suspicious Minds
14 Introductions by Elvis
15 My Boy
16 Release Me (And Let Me Love Again)
17 American Trilogy
18 Mystery Train / Tiger Man
19 Help Me Make It Through The Night
20 How Great Thou Art
21 Can’t Help Falling In Love
|DISC 2 – September 2, 1973 (3AM show)
1 Introduction: Also Sprach Zarathustra (Theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey)
2 See See Rider
3 I Got A Woman / Amen
4 Love Me
5 Steamroller Blues
6 You Gave Me A Mountain
8 Medley: Long Tall Sally / Whole Lot-ta Shakin’ Goin’ On / Mama Don’t Dance / Flip, Flop And Fly / Jailhouse Rock / Hound Dog
9 Love me Tender
11 What Now My Love
12 Suspicious Minds
13 Introductions by Elvis
14 Release Me (And Let Me Love Again)
15 American Trilogy
16 Mystery Train / Tiger Man
17 The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
18 How Great Thou Art
19 Can’t Help Falling In Love
'Elvis: Las Vegas Hilton 1973' - FTD June 2021 release.
FTD CD Credits: Compilation produced by Ernst Jorgensen & Roger Semon. - Mastered by Jan Eliasson.
Closing Night- Las Vegas 1973: EIN's Piers Beagley takes an in-depth look at the most controversial CD so far released by the FTD label. It was indeed an historic night when on stage Elvis said "Adios Las Vegas, and bye-bye Colonel too!"
(FTD Review, Source: EIN)
|'Elvis: Lake Tahoe '74' FTD In-Depth Review: 'ELVIS: Lake Tahoe ‘74' features another value-for-money double pack with two Dinner Shows from May 25 and May 26 1974. This a 2-CD 5” digipack release.
The setlist at Lake Tahoe this season was fine, and while the May 25, 1974 Dinner Show has been out as an audience recording, the May 26, 1974 Dinner Show is totally unreleased.
Although both concerts are "Dinner Shows" on May 26, with The Jackson 5 in the audience, Elvis was inspired and included several rarities - and pushed the band on with unexpected reprises.
Both concerts create a good combination - making this a great two-for-one release from FTD.
(FTD Reviews, Source;EIN) June 2010
|Did Elvis Record 'Tiger Man' At Sun?: A question that has puzzled Elvis fans through the years is whether he actually recorded the song ‘Tiger Man’ during his years at SUN studios.
The basic question is why did Elvis refer to 'Tiger man' several times in concert as “The second song that I ever recorded, not too many people heard it”?
And if Elvis DID record it, then why hasn’t any reference to it at SUN or proof of its existence been found?
Elvis would first perform ‘Tiger Man’ in concert at his first 1969 Las Vegas International season and would continue playing it through the years – usually in a medley with Mystery Train - until his last performance at Saginaw on May 3 1977. He would sing it over 150 times on stage!
The thought that there might be an acetate or undiscovered tape of Elvis at SUN singing ‘Tiger Man’ is a mouth-watering concept - but is it an unlikely fantasy or strong possibility?
Go here to our detailed 'TIGER MAN' spotlight as EIN's Piers Beagley puts in the hard yards to check the facts from the fantasy .
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