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Concerts Reviewed - 1971

Boston, MA. November 10, 1971
by Stefan Kock

November 1971, Elvis starts his third tour since 1970, the first and only one of 1971. During the last Vegas engagement it showed that Elvis had to cope with what they call "Vegas boredom". The shows were rather short (around 45 minutes) and he hardly gave it all during the shows. Still they were very enjoyable and entertaining, but something was missing. None of the shows was of the same height as in 69/70. Because this was only his third tour and he was going to the people instead of them coming to him it was a very different story during this tour. These tour shows were the best of 1971, together with the excellent Tahoe shows from July.

The pre-program and the intermission are behind the crowd when the lights are dimmed. Everybody is hasty on their way to their seats. Slowly the orchestra begins to play the familiar 2001 Theme. At that time is was fairly new to the show. All the lights are out, except for one spot. The tension begins to grow and then finally Ronnie Tutt begins hitting the drums. Elvis comes on stage and looks around the auditorium. His eyes are almost closed as he is greeted with thousands of flashbulbs. He barely sees something of the 15.509 who are attending the show. He opens with a good version of That's All right Mamma. Without saying anything he goes on with a great rocking version of I Got A Woman. Right from the beginning the audience is very enthusiast. There is a very short Amen at the end of I Got A Woman, as opposite to the long, dragging versions of later years. Again without saying anything to the crowd he burst out in a very good version of Proud Mary. The versions of November 1971 are a mix between the slow versions of feb. 1970 and more familiar ones from 1972. A very relaxt version with great, aggressive guitar playing by James Burton. A somewhat slower version of You Don't Have To Say You Love me follows. What a great voice!!

After this song it's time for, as usual, You've Lost That Loving Feeling. Something at the beginning of the song makes him laugh. What the audience gets is very powerful rendition of this beautiful song. After the applause Elvis continue the show with Polk Salad Annie. Probably for one of the last times he uses the spoken into the song. He has lost all of his nervousness by now and his having great fun with the intro: Some of you haven't been down south to much, I'll tell you a little story so that you will understand what I'm talking about. Bla bla bla bla, that's a little story. Ah, down there we have a plant that grows out in the woods and the fields, look something like a turnip green. EVERYBODY CALLS IT POLK SALD, yelling from the audience, you'll know a girl lived out there and picked her mess of it, a weird old chick, whooo, carried it home and cooked it for dinner. That's about all they had to eat....I don't want you to say it....but they did alright......After Polk Salad it's time for the 50's songs. He starts with Love Me and goes on with good versions of Heartbreak Hotel, Blue Suede Shoes, One Night and Hound Dog. Hound Dog is the well known slow/fast version we also would get in New York the next year. An early version of How Great thou Art is next.

These early versions are close to the studio version of 1966. Performed with great style and drama!! During the introductions of the band the only thing that has changed is that The Imperials are replaced by J.D.Sumner and The Stamps Quartet. This will remain so till the end. I have a record out called I'm leaving..ah I'm not gonna sing it, I'm gonna do it. I'm arriving. OK. This song is a real pearl. It never got the reaction it deserved. A very touching version. Only a short Bridge leads into a strong version of Bridge Over Troubled Water. After he has finished it a rare (for this song!) reprise follows. Only this version of Bridge is worth the ticket!!!! I Can't Stop Loving You is next before he starts Love Me Tender (For my darling I love you, cause you take the.....always will). Now It's time for the showstopper of the concert: A very good, rocking version of Suspicious Minds. A karate demonstration ends the song after about 5 minutes. In order to get his breath back he asks for the houselights to be turned on. After he has thanked the audience he performs a moving version of Funny How Time Slips Away. This version is also very close to the original studio version from the year before. It sounds more like a real country song than it would be during the next few years. Again he thanks the audience en closes this almost brilliant show with Can't Help Falling In Love and a rocking closing vamp.

The November tour of 1971 was in every way a good one. Records were broken and many are still standing today. After a somewhat mediocre Vegas engagement in August he revanched himself with this absolutely great tour.

Stefan Kock

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