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Concerts Reviewed - 1973

Las Vegas - January 29, 1973 Dinner Show
by Evan

Twenty four years before his first world tour via video, Elvis Presley was yet again the first entertainer to perform a live concert around the world via the television screen As Elvis said back in 1969, "I've appeared dead before but this is my first live one". He could never have known the prediction of those words, both in the future years of his life and after.

Generally considered to be Elvis' greatest but last triumph, the Aloha From Hawaii via Satellite concert was performed on January 14, 1973, and it also highlighted Elvis' personal and professional restrictions - imposed by himself and his management - not to the world, but unto himself. From the worldwide acclaim of music magazines of New Musical Express and Rolling Stone, to awards from Billboard for outstanding achievement, The King was back at the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel twelve days later playing to packed audiences from January 26 to February 23, 1973 for fifty seven performances. Surely this environment served as one of Elvis' greatest anti climaxes. This Vegas season proved to be very professional and well performed for the most part. But soon into it, on February 1, Priscilla and Lisa Marie arrived for Lisa's fifth birthday celebrations. It had been just twenty-three days short of Elvis and Priscilla's first anniversary as a separated couple. Photographs from this day exist showing Elvis wearing one of his navy blue flying suits and his lion's claw necklace. In the photos, a healthy looking Elvis poses for "happy" family snaps with Priscilla, Lisa, and Vernon. There is a better known photograph from this day of Elvis standing with boxer Muhammad Ali.

But two days previous to Lisa's birthday celebrations Elvis acted on advice from doctors to cancel his midnight show on January 30 and both shows on January 31st during to a head cold. This problem reared its ugly head again causing cancellations of all midnight shows on February 13, 14, and 15. Elvis actually left the stage during the dinner show on the fifteenth after just seven songs.

Can't Help Falling in Love started only to be stopped by Elvis at the conclusion for Elvis to announce that he was continuing the show.. In an effort to give his fans their money's worth, he performed several more songs, albeit with a croaky voice. Including Faded Love, I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry (with extra verse not sung at either Aloha shows), Polk Salad Annie (one of only two versions performed in 1973!), American Trilogy, and a full reprise of Can't Help Falling In Love. Then on the eighteenth during the midnight show at the end of Suspicious Minds several men climbed the stage causing Elvis' body guards to go into "red alert" mode and fight off the "attackers". This seemed to serve as the nucleus to Elvis' apparent fits of anger the following nights in his suite where he attempted to persuade Sonny West to organize a hit man to kill Mike Stone -Priscilla's lover at the time.

Some of the new jumpsuits for this season included the Today suit and the Snowflakes suit.

The third Madison label soundboard presents us with the sixth show of the season from January 29, 1973 (dinner show).

This CD begins with 2001, which has been lifted from the dinner show of February 5, 1973 and was released on the Fort Baxter CD "It's a Matter of Time". The opening riff is punctuated with cymbal crashes from Ronnie Tutt and last just 0.34 seconds. Elvis sounds just like he did in January 14, 1973 for his Aloha special during SEE SEE RIDER Even James Burton's instrumental is almost the same. Jerry Scheff's bass, playing here for his last Las Vegas season with Elvis until August 1975, is very prominent in the last part of this song. The greatest difference with this version compared to the Aloha version is the drum roll that closes the song.

A few strums of James' guitar lead Elvis to welcome his fans to the show. "Thank you very much. Welllll. That's it folks, you know". I GOT A WOMAN kicks off straight away at a comfortable but slow paced. Elvis' pronunciation is very clear. The song builds up to full speed after the line "She knows a woman's place right there in the home".

Amen is sung for just one verse before JD is told to "Take it down" for his dive bomb impersonation. "I think they'll like that, really" Elvis tells JD of the audience. I Got a Woman is completed, and is best described as being in the same format as the Hampton Roads, April 9, 1972 evening show (as seen in On Tour), however is not as dynamic or exciting.

"Thank you. Good evening" Elvis says before indicating to Glen D Hardin to begin UNTIL IT'S TIME FOR YOU TO GO. Just before Elvis starts the chorus "Don't ask why....." it is evident he is playing with some girls. One of them takes his scarf prompting Elvis to laugh and announce "Thief!" This version is very softly sung and has a very pretty violin following Elvis' voice.

With a short applause and a "Thank you very much. You're a good audience", we get a rare version of SWEET CAROLINE which bops along at a nice speed. Ronnie's drums sound great during the part "Hands touching hands". Elvis sounds a little unsure of the words, "Look at the night", and he transposes the lines of "Touching me, touching you". "Thank you very much. I'd like to dedicate that to arrrhh, Colonel Beaulieu. Hahahah. 'Its a special request and I almost forgot the words to it". STEAMROLLER BLUES is a cool version, with Elvis accentuating the second line, "I'm gonna ROLLLLLL all over you", and tells James to "Play the blues" for the instrumental. This is very similar to the Aloha version.

"Thank you" is all Elvis says before the next song. Unlike Aloha, You Gave Me a Mountain is performed after the previous song. This is a rather pleasant "dinner show" type of version. Well performed and very committed. The second chorus has Elvis accentuated the word "may" in "You gave me a mountain you know I MAY never climb".

FEVER rolls along next and attracts a very attentive audience that soon falls to Elvis' mercy with his hip and knee rolls. There is a little giggling from Elvis during this, but he does not miss any lyrics.

"Thank you. Thank you. Treat me like a fool, treat me mean & cruel, thank you...". A blue print of the Aloha version has the girls screaming to LOVE ME. A very nice version with a strong ending.

BLUE SUEDE SHOES is queued by James Burton, and this version is a little more aggressive than the Aloha version. In fact, it is a mixture of the June 10, 1972 afternoon show version without the echo, and the January 12, 1973 performance. "Thank you. My first movie was LOVE ME TENDER, and I'd like to sing a little bit of that for you". Elvis misses a few words, but is having fun making the rounds. One girl runs back to her seat causing Elvis to ask, "Where you going?" This version clocks in at one minute thirty eight seconds.

"Thank you." is heard before JOHNNY B. GOODE. A better version than Aloha because Elvis does not rub a scarf in his face during the lyrics "Stood an old cabin made of earth and wood". James Burton also borrows some riffs from the Promised Land as he did at the February 5, 1973 dinner show.

HOUND DOG is queued by Glen D's piano keys. "Thank you. Youuuuuu, aint nuthin' but a. You don't know what I'm gonna do yet. I did this song on the Ed Sullivan show and my voice was much higher and I have to stand like this otherwise I'll strip my gears" Elvis says whilst teasing his fans and leaning on his left knee. Hound Dog starts off a slow pace as was the norm for this period. James' funky guitar licks answer back to Elvis in perfect harmony. Running at just 0.50 seconds, the most interesting part of this version is Elvis announcement of "My belt" which begins to comes loose during the closing lyrics, "Wellllll, you ain't never caught a rabbit - My belt! - and you ain't no friend of mine". Elvis orders the start of WHAT NOW MY LOVE with a simple "Take it on". A very well performed version. The line, "Once I could see, once I could feel" comes across very well. Since the performance of this song in Honolulu fifteen days earlier, both Elvis and band seem very comfortable in delivering this often forgotten Presley masterpiece.

"Thank you. Thank you very much. You're a very good audience". SUSPICIOUS MINDS takes off, and unfortunately Elvis sounds a little disinterested and tired at the start, but he soon regains his energy. A standard version with some nice violins. Both Elvis and the band are on top of it, but the impression a seasoned Presley fan gets is that this song has been performed too many times already before tonight. "A tough way to make a living" is thrown in for good measure whilst Elvis smacks lips with the girls ringside. Nonetheless, Suspicious Minds clocks in at four minutes, fifty-eight seconds.

The BAND INTRODUCTIONS are next as usual. Charlie Hodge gets the same introduction as he did in Aloha about being the "general flunky". (incidentally, this scene was only seen in the Japanese TDK sponsored broadcast).

I CAN'T STOP LOVING YOU is the first song after the introductions and what a magnificent version this is. Elvis enthuses himself in the words and high notes. The closing lyrics, "In dreams of yesterrrr, yesterrrrr, yesterdayyyyyyy" is better than that heard in the reprise from June 10, 1972 evening performance. Soon after it's end, AMERICAN TRILOGY begins. As usual for this period, this is performed with much character and patriotism to the southern region of the United States. It was during this season that Elvis had an American flag lowered as a backdrop behind the orchestra during this track. I have also heard that a slide projector was used to project images of some pioneers of American history but have never seen any evidence to support this. During the instrumental where the flute fades into the full orchestra, Elvis can be heard queuing the timing of the music as he did on January 14.

"Thank you. You're a good audience ladies & gentlemen. Glad you liked it. Thank you. (possible edit here).If we've done anything to make you happy then we've done our job". Strangely, this mono mix switches from both channels to the right. There is clearly an edit here. Then in the right channel, Elvis says "This song from Blue Hawaii I'd like to sing for you". CAN'T HELP FALLING LOVE indicates the end of this forty-seven minute long performance. A very typical performance which the fans seem very appreciative of and appear to have had a good time. The trumpets stop playing after about twenty five seconds during the closing riff indicating that Elvis had better plans than shaking hands, kissing girls, and accepting gifts from the stage edge of the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel.

Overall, I like this concert. Elvis is professional, delivers his performances very well, and the atmosphere is very much a "dinner show". It is evident that he is somewhat disinterested (and who could blame him after Aloha and the events happening around him). I am sure that those who were in the audience on this night went home with good memories of a fine performance. The highlight of the concert is I Can't Stop Loving You, the low point would have to be Hound Dog (however it is very much like the Aloha version). There are other more essential Presley concerts available than this, but for listening pleasure, and a little rarity for the time of its performance this concert is worth tracking down.


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