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Concerts Reviewed - 1971

BATMAN: Las Vegas, NV September 6, 1971 Closing Show
by Zach

1971 was one of the busiest concert years to date since the comeback in 1969. Elvis played his usual winter gig for the International during February. Then in July he did his first two-week engagement in Lake Tahoe. It was a tired Elvis who roled into the newly re-named Hilton hotel for his summer engagement. For the most part Elvis was at his worst since his return to the concert stage. He was still a lot better than he would be in later years, but compared to his last summer engagement Elvis was a mere shadow of his former self. In Tahoe Elvis was at his best, but in Vegas he brought the exact same song list and performed it on a lower level. So it was safe to say that Elvis was happy to see closing night. He would have a few months rest in between Vegas and the start of his next tour in November.

There are two significant things about this closing show. The first is it would be the last time the Imperials would be backing Elvis. After a money dispute with the Colonel they would leave and J.D. Summer and the Stamps would be brought in for the upcoming tour. The second significant thing that takes place at this show is Elvis is wearing a cape for the first time, at his wife Priscilla's urging. Elvis would wear a cape on stage until the Summer engagement in 1973.

The tape recording begins very clearly with the 2001 THEME. All in all this tape has pretty good sound for an audience recording. There are a few dropouts at times but it is still good. Elvis goes straight into his traditional THAT'S ALL RIGHT which sounds just like any other version from these early years. The only different sounding version from these years I've heard comes from the January 29th DS in Las Vegas. "Well...I said I Got A Woman," Elvis quickly goes into this song and just like the previous song, it's no different than any other version except AMEN is missing that familiar J.D. bass. Elvis greets his audience and then heads into PROUD MARY which is like a 1972 version of this song instead of a February 1970 version. Without a pause it's into another standard version of a song. This time it's SWEET CAROLINE. During this song the tape becomes a lot more clearer, and Elvis is much more audible. So far this concert has offered no real surprises. POLK SALAD ANNIE kicks in with Elvis saying, "Batman, I'll fly away." A definite reference to his new cape. Elvis is wearing the Black Fireworks suit this night.

The arrangement of Polk Salad Annie seems to be more speeded up like the 1972 arrangement and not so much like the 1970 arrangement. Elvis finally has more than two words to say to his audience after the song and says "Good evening my names Johnny Cash. I'd like to welcome you to the International. We'll entertain you one way or another." He then ask for something to be taken off, it's kind of inaudible but I believe it's his cape. He then announces LOVE ME TENDER. The band starts it but Elvis stops it saying "we're not going to do it yet." But he starts it anyway. This is standard Love Me Tender. The scarves are starting to fly for the first time and Elvis plays a lot with his audience during this song. The song is pretty short. Next Elvis calls out "down in Louisiana" and James Burton starts a very Aloha sounding JOHHNY B. GOODE. IT'S IMPOSSIBLE is next and this is one of the first musical highlights of the show. It sounds a lot like the master but with the only real difference being in the line where Elvis says "and tomorrow could you ask me for the world," here Elvis says "oooohhh and tomorrow..." He also sings it at different key at parts and it sounds simply beautiful. I love this version.

Then it's into the 50's stuff with LOVE ME, BLUE SUEDE SHOES/WHOLE LOTTA SHAKIN GOIN ON, HEARTBREAK HOTEL, and TEDDY BEAR/DON'T BE CRUEL. All of these are no different than any other versions we know with plenty of scraves and teddy bears to go around. The next highlight of this show comes with a totally inpromptu version of ARE YOU LONESOME TONIGHT. Elvis hadn't sang this song much since 1969 and it gets a big eruption from the audience. Elvis sings this song totally serious. It sounds a lot like Hampton Roads 1972 but better and very gentile. Elvis sounds like he's about to start crying during the spoken part. This might be the best I've ever heard this song performed in concert. "You ain't nuthin but a HOUND DOG." Quickly Elvis is into a slow version of Hound Dog. There is an edit on the tape and suddenly it is the fast version. Elvis ends the song by saying "you ain't nuthin but a chicken...dog...you ain't no friend of mine."

Elvis then calls for SUSPICIOUS MINDS. You can really tell Elvis is getting bored of this song here. It is nothing like the kick ass versions from 1969-70. A woman on the tape sounds like she's having an orgasm during this song. There is a lot of karate at the end.

The band introductions are next and Elvis is very out of breath during them. Elvis notes during the intros that he is drinking Gatorade and that the first word for it was Panther? I might have missed something there. Elvis also mentions that guys in the service get awful homesick because they call each other mother a lot. I think I've heard this dialogue before. After the intros Elvis introduces some celebrities and does a few lines of a song called THE EASY PART IS OVER. Elvis then thanks the International and introduces his wife Priscilla. He also mentions that the musicians he has with him are the best in their fields. "I have a new record called I'M LEAVIN." This is good song and I've never heard a live version that was any different than any other. "Lawdy, Lawdy." LAWDY MISS CLAWDY is the last highlight of the evening. Elvis really gets into this one, so much that he even does a reprise of it. I have always liked the 70's version of this song. Elvis is a little inaudible before starting CAN'T HELP FALLING IN LOVE. In his words he does say that without his audience, "it would just be one cold ass room." Can't Help Falling In Love starts but Elvis stops it. "Hold it...hold it a minute. And people ask me...when am I going to quick...why don't you retire...NO! (a woman screaming "no, never,never!") Retiring...I love it! (A little inaudible) I'll be singing till I'm dried up like a prun...and old dry prun. A...anyway." Then a standard version of Can't Help Falling In Love starts and finishes.

This is a very entertaining show and one of my personal favorites. It is pretty straight forward for a closing show but there are still some must have songs and comments in here. If you don't mind a show recorded by the audience go pick this one up.


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