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Concerts Reviewed - 1972

Blazing Into The Darkness 11-08-1972 DS, Las Vegas, NV.
by Stefan Kock

August 1972. the filming of Elvis On Tour, 4 completely sold-out performances In New York's Madison Square Garden were behind him. What else could he offer the fans in the summer of '72? Well, that one is simple: his best Vegas gig since August 1970. After two gigs in 1971 where he obviously was very bored with Vegas, and another gig in Jan/Feb 1972, which was very good but was plagued by the fact that Pricilla had just left him, the thriompfes from then on seemed to give him wings. The shows were tight, professional and energetic, the song line-up was practically the best of his career and his voice was phenomenal. The opening show on August 4th, with songs like Mystery Train / Tiger Man and My babe, lasted only about half an our because of a headache, but the other shows lasted about an hour. The line-up varied with every single show.

The show we will now focus on is the dinner show from August 11th, one of the best from the gig. Till around August 15th Elvis would wear several two-piece suits in and not his , by now, traditional jumpsuits. After he several times split his pants during songs like Suspicious Minds or Polk Salad Annie he got back to the Jumpsuits. Usually he removed the jacket of those two-piece suits very early in the show. He then wouldn't be bothered by it.

The 8pm show of tonight starts when the lights are dimmed and the band begins to play the famous 2001 Theme. People are eating their last food, filling their glasses with champagne and turning their eyes to the stage. Soon Elvis will appear!! When Ronnie Tutt begins hitting the opening vamp, a soft spot is dancing around one side of the stage, the side that will be the entrance of Elvis. Once he get on stage the audience is screaming, clapping, yelling for attention. Plagued by a little stage freight, but used to the commotion his entrance always causes, he walks from one side of the stage to the other, shaking some hands, occasionally kissing a girl. Slowly he walks to Charlie Hodge who gives him his guitar. Pulling the microphone slowly towards him and lifting it up a little he sings the first line of See See Rider. He sounds full of energy and is in a very good voice. This song is fairly new in the set-list. He first began to sing this song during the feb. 1970 Vegas engagement. At that time he included it somewhere in the middle of the show.

Those versions were a bit bluesy and rather slow. Now, as his opening song, it really rocks. The band is still playing a little with the arrangement. After having sung it as his opening song in Jan / Feb that year and also during the April "Elvis on Tour" tour he fell back to That's All right Mamma during the famous June tour. For reasons only he knew....... Without saying anything to the audience he breaks into a good version of Proud Mary. A good song that changed a lot over the years. The last version would be sung in August 1974. The crowd really likes it and gives him a great applause after he finishes the song. His next song, a single from 1971, slows the show a bit down. He performs a very solid rendition of Until It's Time For You To Go. Glenn D. Hardin really shows his capabilities during this song and it's as beautiful as ever, not rushed and full of emotion. A very powerful and by the band great backed version of You Don't Have To Say You Love Me is next. The train is going at full speed again. Elvis says very little and is really concentrating on singing. The song, a favourite of Elvis since he introduced the song in August 1970. ends way to soon. Before the applause can end; the fisrt bass-notes of Jerry Scheff are hitting the showroom.

It's time for You've Lost That Loving Feeling. As you can see in That's The Way It Is he starts the song with his back turned towards the crowd. Just one spot dances around him when he sings the first verse. His warm and soft voice is gliding trough the audience. After that first verse he suddenly turns himself towards the audience, smiling about their reactions. The songs grows towards the finale. During the standing ovation he looks a little amazed, but also amused, partly because of his own vocal capabilities, into the showroom and cues Jerry to begin with Polk Salad Annie. The monologue at he beginning of the song is totally gone by now and is replaced by a slightly longer musical intro. Great team work of Jerry Scheff and James Burton. The song had changed during every Vegas, Tahoe and tour and by now transformed into the kind of song Elvis wanted it to be. Something between the slow, funky versions of 1970 and the short, rushed versions of 1971 this song is rocking more than ever. The bass solo in the middle is of an absolute great standard tonight!! After this brilliant performance; for the first time he speaks to the audience. He welcomes them to the International and is joking a bit with them. His next song, one of the most beautiful, sincerest and best ballads he ever performed, is What Now My Love. Being a bit slower than the well known '73 versions, he performs this song beautifully. His voice goes from soft and calm to hard and very powerful at the end. Emotion is the key-word. A real highlight in tonight's concert. Every emotion, question about his loss of Pricilla are showing in this song.

A second new song in the set is his 1960 song, Fever. I like this early performances of the song. Then it's time for the oldies section in the show. During this period the songs in this section differed a lot. That meant that he still could bring great versions of songs like Blue Suede Shoes or Hound Dog. Sung with a little self-spot, he quickly goes trough this part of the show, hardly giving himself or the audience time to breath between songs. Before to long these songs became crowd pleasers and would he lost interest in singing them.. But not during this concert, where he gives them the attention they deserve. After the Oldies he introduces the couple he worked for in 1954. He thanks them: Thanks for the job to...... The train gets going again with a very fast, but good, version of Suspicious Minds. The crows goes wild. James really highlights the song with his sharp, mean but brilliant guitar licks. Next are the short and to the point the introductions of the band. Right after Glen starts with the intro of My Way. Elvis delivers a good, though not as emotional as in later years, version. This song is also new in the show and he makes a few comments to it after he has finished it. It can't be coincidence that this song would get a very prominent place in his shows during the last year of his life. The last version on June 25th 1977, the one before last show he would ever give, was one of the best!!

During the intro to American Trilogy Charlie places the earlier removed jacket around Elvs's shoulders so that he can use it as a cape. After a few seconds he interrupts the intro and asks: How do you like it so far...? And the intro begins again during the applause of approval. When The Stamps begin with there short solo there is some applause!! During the fluit solo, there's nothing but silence!! Then the finale comes and ultimately the standing ovation. GREAT. Only one song follows: Can't Help Falling In Love. People are going to the stage and are yelling or clapping for Elvis's attention. Then it's all over. Ronnie Tutt begins a thunderous closing vamp. Elvis has left the showroom!!

For a Dinner Show, this concert is really good. HI delivers a fantastic show to a grateful, enthusiastic audience. After Vegas he would do a tour in November. The end of that tour takes place in the same venue as Aloha From Hawaii. He finishes with three great shows in Honolulu as preparation to Aloha.......... Elvis sure is ready for 1973..................

Stefan Kock

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