THE VEGAS YEARS VOL. 1 (Audiophile Records) (Released 2006)
1. Review by Mike Sanders
| Las Vegas, March 31 1975 (M.S)
See See Rider
I Got A Woman/Amen
If You Love Me
And I Love You So
Big Boss Man (fs)
You Don't Have To Say You Love Me
The Wonder Of You
What'd I Say
I'll Remember You
Let Me Be There
Bridge Over Troubled Water
Celebrity intros (Liberace)
Hawaiian Wedding Song
Can't Help Falling In Love
The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face (March 30 DS.)
Big Boss Man
For The Good Times (part)/Funny How Time Slips Away
|1. Review by Mike Sanders
This is the first CD issued by the new label- Audiophile, and is very nicely presented with an 8 page booklet containing photos from this period, together with details and press reports from the time. The CD is a picture disc with an additional photo in the inlay tray so it scores full marks for presentation.
This CD contains an audience recording of the midnight show from the 31st March 1975 in Las Vegas. The sound quality is pretty good and constant throughout. Although the sound is a bit trebly and therefore lacks bass, it is still very clear and most of the dialogue can easily be heard. As a guide, in my opinion, the sound is better than on any other previously issued audience recorded show from this season.
From the start, both Elvis and the audience prove to be in a great mood. The opening 'See See Rider' is given extra atmosphere by screams from the audience during the countdown to the ending. During the teasing introduction to 'I Got A Woman', Elvis asks "Well, what do I do next?" and the audience responds "Well Well Well" en masse, to laughter and applause.
After this song, he says "I'm supposed to say Good Evening and enjoy the show and all that but I'm not going to do it…..I'm in a spiteful mood." He then continues to joke with the audience for several minutes during which he teases one girl saying "If you give the Maitre'd enough money, he'll put you on a swing in the centre of the stage." Love Me is then performed with various ad libs and asides to the audience throughout.
Immediately after this, the band then starts playing 'And I Love You So' (a new song for this season) which catches Elvis off guard so he promptly stops it, saying "I didn't give anybody the cue to start this song, I was talking to this girl…" However, it's all in good humour and when he restarts the song he laughs and ad libs the lines "How I've lived ‘till now-living with a cow!" and later "The book of life is brief--and so are my front teeth!" As soon as this song finishes, the band start playing 'Big Boss Man' but this time Elvis reacts with annoyance, saying "I did NOT tell you to go into this song….Just wait a minute….I don't want to do Big Boss Man anyway, I don't like it -- I'm tired of Big Boss Man!"
The next few songs are performed without a break with Elvis calling out the song titles to the band. They are all committed performances, although 'The Wonder Of You' is a shortened version, beginning with the verse "And when you smile the world is brighter." The band introductions are next, allowing time for more audience interaction and for Elvis to regain his former relaxed mood. During the solos, Ronnie Tutt performs a particularly good drum solo, prompting Elvis to say to his bass player "Duke…..how you follow that, son?" Unfortunately, the bass solo which follows, sounds especially weak, even without the competition.
Then it's time for 'Fairytale', (another new song for this season) which is performed well, as are the songs following this, until after 'Let Me Be There', Elvis says "Let's do something silly….Hound Dog." This is the only ‘50's hit featured and proves to be a throwaway version, lasting just over a minute. Afterwards, there are several minutes of dialogue, during which he announces how attractive he finds a particular girl in the audience but when told she is only 15 retorts, "Go back--that's jailbait!" He then asks another girl how old she is, to which she responds emphatically "Old enough!"
Afterwards he suggests several songs to sing next, before eventually deciding on 'Bridge Over Troubled Water', which he performs well. 'Little Darlin'', another new song for the season, eventually gets going after 2 false starts. Although obviously performed as a send up of the original hit, it's not a good performance. A celebrity introduction follows for Liberace who is introduced as "One of the best piano players in the world, one of the best showman around and he wears some of the prettiest wardrobe….say hello to my friend Liberace." He gets a tremendous round of applause and it's a nice moment. A request for Teddy Bear is turned down, with Elvis choosing to sing The Hawaiian Wedding Song instead, followed by the usual closing 'Can't Help Falling In Love' which ends this interesting show.
Finally, the bonus tracks filling out this CD, consist of additional songs recorded the day before but in slightly poorer sound quality. They are in lower level sound with a slight hiss evident--still nice to have though.
'The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face' from the dinner show comes with a dedication to Susan?
'Big Boss Man' is a complete version with the electric piano to the fore.
'It's Midnight' and 'My Boy' are both well sung, sound limitations excepted.
On 'For The Good Times', the band are unable to find an appropriate key, leading to an annoyed response from Elvis, saying, "Is that the key--Well you sing the damn thing. I don't want to sing it anyway…." He sure could be petulant when the mood struck. 'Funny How Time Slips Away' is performed instead and 'Sweet Caroline', which hadn't been performed since January 1974, ends the CD.
In conclusion, this CD contains a very entertaining show with plenty of audience interaction. The songs are all well sung (with the exception of 'Hound Dog' and 'Little Darlin''), as he was in good voice this season. It is certainly one of the more interesting shows and is well worth tracking down, providing a fascinating insight into the warmth and atmosphere at an upbeat Las Vegas show.
SHOW QUALITY: 4
SOUND RATING: 2+
© (UK), March 2006
Other reviews by Mike Sanders