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Concerts Reviewed - 1972


HEY BABY, I AIN'T ASKIN' MUCH OF YOU - Las Vegas, Feb. 23, 1972 MS
by Evan


Las Vegas - February 23, 1972 midnight show.
Priscilla Presley wrote in her book ELVIS & ME that between the dinner show and the midnight show on February 23 (the closing night of Elvis' sixth Vegas season) she finally confirmed with Elvis that she was ending their marriage. Anyone who has been in this position could sympathize with both parties and their emotional reactions to such a change in their lifestyles. For me I've always wondered how Elvis was after Priscilla made this announcement to him. Luckily, I have been able to listen to a part of that very night via an audience recording of the midnight show that night. This recording begins with the 2001 filled with many screams of excitement, which climax with Elvis' entrance to the stage. The sound is very typical for an audience recording, however the clapping from the Sweet Inspirations is very evident suring the opening riff. SEE SEE RIDER is very similar to the opening night performance, and Elvis repeats the line ".well I'm going, aarrrr way baby" just as he does in his evening performance from Hampton Roads, April 9, 1972 (refer ELVIS ON TOUR), instead of singing "I'm goin', goin' goin' away baby". Elvis certainly does not sound like he has just had his wife tell him their marriage is over.

The girls in the audience are wild tonight. Elvis says thank you, and signals the start of PROUD MARY. J.D. Sumner's voice booms "roll on, roll on" through the International's showroom. One fan can be clearly heard saying "Oh my God" as Elvis does his thing to Ronnie's drum roll. She's hot for Elvis tonight!

Hardly before the applause starts Elvis starts a haunting version of NEVER BEEN TO SPAIN. One guy is heard saying "Oh yeah!" in approval to Elvis' choice. The sound on the tape improves a little allowing the listener to hear a slight echo in Elvis' voice during the first two verses of this song. Elvis' pronunciation of the lyrics, "well they tell me I was born there" is very different to the usual. There is more power and is used to good effect. What I dig about these January/February 1972 versions is Elvis' overall clear pronunciation of the words in this song, where as by April, he was less careful in the way he sang them. James Burton's guitar lets out some awesome riffs in the finale of Never Been To Spain. I love this song, and feel that it really suited Elvis. A woman sitting near the tape recorder this night says to her friend, "He (Elvis) has a bracelet on!" Perhaps it was Priscilla's? Little time is allowed for applause when YOU GAVE ME A MOUNTAIN is performed. This version is still sung at a similar speed as the first versions, but Elvis seems more confident in his approach allowing his vocals soar. Unlike in some later versions (i.e., September 2, 1974 closing show) Elvis does not emphasize the lyrics that include ".just tired of being my wife, she took my one ray of sunshine" but before, he does sing "so tired of THE workin' for nothin'" which is a little unusual. There is a lot of conviction in Elvis' performance of You Gave Me a Mountain tonight, and the audience's reaction proves they felt his emotion in his singing.

UNTIL IT'S TIME FOR YOU TO GO starts immediately. There is a little movement in the tape recorder, but does not hinder the sound too much. One advantage that audience recordings provide which soundboards do not is the overall effect of the crowd reaction to Elvis. Often we lose sight (or hearing) of the fact that Elvis and his audience would mould into one microcosm when they were together, and even on RCA/BMG recordings much of this participation is lost.

Until It's Time.. is a very straight version with no hiccups. For me it's not a great song. However it was a recent single at this time, and so Elvis was obviously promoting it whilst also enjoying it.

Elvis allows the applause to last for a normal amount of time before Jerry Scheff starts POLK SALAD ANNIE. The girl who was quite audible in Never Been to Spain screams her excitement as Elvis starts his singing. Jerry's bass solo starts a little earlier than usual, but is real dirty version. Elvis is into this, and he seems more comfortable with this arrangement than the last few this song had already experienced. The finale brings the audience to near ecstasy LOVE ME starts immediately. There is the crash of glass, and some of the fans roar with laughter. I am uncertain if Elvis was aware of what was happening, but it does not appear to be a dangerous situation. In fact, Elvis as probably in the middle of it. During the lyrics, "I'd be sad and blue" there is somewhat of a commotion. Elvis chuckles and says, "Easy job, man".

After a slight edit, ALL SHOOK UP kicks in at super sonic speed. The clapping by the quartets is very evident, and Elvis has fun with the lyrics as he over pronunciates "she touched my hand and WHAT a chill I got". A great performance clocking in at just 0.59 seconds.

The TEDDY BEAR-DON'T BE CRUEL medley is next, and brings many screams. Perhaps Elvis is throwing teddy bears and hound dogs into the crowd. As Elvis repeats the chorus, he sings "I just wanna be" then in a slightly lower tone he repeats, "Just wanna be". The "bop de wops" by the Stamps are very prominent in Teddy Bear. The start of Don't Be Cruel has girls in hysterics. This version includes the "kick your ass" lyrics and Elvis puts much emphasis on "I don't want no other love". The fans go ape shit at the end of this performance. Elvis's voice emerges from the screams with a slow, bluesy "Youuuuuuu aiiiiiinnnnnttttttt nuthin' buttttttta hound dawg". HOUND DOG has this particular girl getting very excited, and Elvis plays up to her before building up to full speed. After just one verse during the fast section of the song, the band tries to end because of the break Elvis puts in the words "You aint never caught a rabbit (pause) and you aint no friend of mine" however Elvis continues singing for another verse, and the band quickly follows. However when he does sing his intended pause (which is a bit of an oxymoron on my part), the fans scream indicating Elvis is physically making it very clear that the song will now finish.

A BIG HUNK OF LOVE is a ball ripper of a version. Elvis screams the lyrics to great effect - much better than the version from the opening night of this season. The band is cooking with gas during this song. Elvis hypes James Burton's solo with some initial hiccups. Tonight's version is as fast as Hardheaded Woman - real fast.

Without warning HELP ME MAKE IT THROUGH THE NIGHT is sung. It is very similar to the studio cut, but seems to have a little more horn orchestration. Luckily for tonight's fans', Elvis sings a full version which almost clocks in at two minutes.

BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER has it's piano introduction slightly edited, but this chick I mentioned before starts hollering like she is on heat, or duck hunting season just started! It's peculiar, and I can't help imagine the funny looks Elvis must have given the Stamps when he heard her! Elvis actually laughs, then a male fan screams out to her "Quiet!". Elvis replies, "Yeah, we're trying to do this song please be quiet back there" which causes the audience to applaud. This "hooting" fan must have felt like an absolute dick after Elvis told her to shut up. "Bridge." is a mesmerizing version. Jerry's bass notes can be heard floating around the showroom, and there is a beautiful flute also to be heard in places. I tend to rank the April 14, 1972 Greensboro versions of this song as one of the best ever - a ten out of ten, and thus tend to compare other versions to this one. Tonight's version is about a nine out of ten compared to Greensboro.

SUSPICIOUS MINDS starts but is suspiciously edited soon after it's start. This is approximately thirty minutes into the show indicating that the fan recording the concert was using a sixty minute tape, and took about three minutes to realize that side A had run out before starting the recording again on side B. Therefore we only get about one minute of Suspicious Minds. Judging by the screams and Ronnie's drumming, Elvis was showing of his karate interest again!

The band introductions proceed without any announcement from Elvis that he wants to introduce the TCB band. After the band introductions, Elvis introduces an actor whose name I can not understand. Elvis continues, "I'd like to say that everybody up here on stage have been, urr, very professional. And have made this one of the happiest engagements I've had here in Vegas (applause). And my Dad, he's here with me, Grandma. And Colonel Parker. And er, Priscilla, my wife. Everybody whose come to see the show, I'd like to thank you very much. I'd just like to mention those FAT funky angels up there on the wall. The tape becomes inaudible, but some guy screams out "They're all yours baby".

Elvis continues another introduction. It is very difficult to understand what he says, but it sounds like he says, "Yeah, the Rambos" He continues, "Yeah, they're fantastic. A gospel group, Would you stand up please? The Rambos".

Once the applause dies down AMERICAN TRILOGY starts. The Stamps' section of the song receives much response from the fans, and Elvis follows with a very vocally outstanding version. Like in You Gave Me a Mountain, Elvis' confidence compared with earlier performances of this song has grown. He allows himself no boundaries, and lets loose on the high notes. The flute solo can be heard bouncing off the walls of the show room Man it must have been great to be there! There is a very strange edit just after the flute solo causing the sound to become much clearer. Unfortunately I do not know if this is from the same show as the sound is much different. Perhaps the concert was not recorded in it's entirety and hence this possible splice from another performance. The standard CAN'T HELP FALLING IN LOVE follows, and is a very typical performance.

Considering the significance of this concert at this time in Elvis' life, his performance runs at just fifty minutes. He is very professional, but maturely entices his fans with his cheeky humor. The show does seem a little rushed, and is closed soon after the introductions, however I get the feeling Elvis is more anxious to finish this long Vegas season because he wants a break rather than rush to a reconciliation with his wife.

Evan



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