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Concerts Reviewed - 1973





"The King Will Never Die - August 9, 1973 MS "
A Classic Bootleg review by Javilu

""Life is no fairytale, as one day you will know..."

It's common knowledge that 1973 was the beginning of the end for Elvis Presley. And the irony of it all is that it started with one of his greatest achievements, the "Aloha from Hawaii" special in January.

It is easy to see how it all went downhill from the special on, more and more Vegas concerts, some Lake Tahoe appearances and one US tour after another with few and far recording sessions in between.

After the Aloha triumph, it was back to Vegas and the routine started taking its toll on Elvis, the shows were more or less based on the Hawaii special with few changes in the setlists, and most concerts sound like Elvis is on autopilot.

With that said Elvis behaved like a focused professional throughout the engagement, even when he lost his voice in mid February.

After a couple of tours and some concerts in Lake Tahoe, Elvis recorded the "Raised on Rock" album.

It was a very weak effort with an uninspired performer going through the motions on most of the songs.

Then it was back to Vegas for the summer season that lasted for almost a month. It started on August 6 and ended on September 3.

Elvis performed 58 shows this time and even though the concerts were a little more dynamic than they were the previous season at the Hilton Hotel, he still sounded bored on many of the shows, finally losing control on the last concert by joking around too much and trashing basically every song he was supposed to sing.

Some songs new to the live show were "Raised on Rock" (played only once), "Trouble" (minus the fast ending found on the studio version) and "My Boy", a song that would not be recorded until the December sessions at Stax Studios in Memphis.

This closing show was first released as an audience recording in 1995 with the title "The Funny Side of Elvis Presley" and in incomplete form from a soundboard recording in 2004 as "Closing Night" by the Follow That Dream label.

Around 20 concerts were released on bootleg CDs from this season, all of them recorded from the audience.

They rank from unlistenable ("Fire in Vegas", "Take These Chains from My Heart") to excellent stereo "booth" recordings ("Getting Down to Business", "High Spirits in Vegas", "A Profile Vol. 1 Disc 1").

Somewhere in the middle lies "The King "Will Never Die!".

This CD was released in 1993 by the "Sabam" label and chronicles the beginning of the season with the Midnight Show recorded on August 9, 1973.

On the front cover the date is spelled "9/8/1973" which is the way dates are written in Europe and South America.

The tape seems to run a bit too fast but the sound is a little above average for an audience recording.

The artwork is not very accurate for it features on the front and back pictures of Presley in 1975 wearing the "Chicken Bone" and "Totem Pole" jumpsuits, although the back cover has a nice design with Elvis being "presented" the setlist by a member of the audience!

The complete "Also Sprach Zarathustra" leads to a fast "C. C. Rider" and we can already notice the tape running faster than it should.

For some reason the left channel has much higher volume than the right channel, and given that this is a mono recording, the producers of the CD could have copied the best sounding channel into the other one.

A short, 3 minutes long "I Got A Woman" keeps up the fast pace of the show.

"Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, we hope you enjoy the show tonight" is the brief introduction Elvis makes before going into "Love Me" which judging by the audience reactions throughout the song, had a lot of "scarf interaction" even for a 90 second version.

"Steamroller Blues" was included in Elvis' live show since appearing on the Aloha special and is sung with gusto.

The James Taylor tune is quickly followed by "You Gave Me a Mountain", a song that rarely left the setlist from 1972 on, which showed how much the song meant to Elvis.

The King Creole classic "Trouble" was performed regularly this season and it has a killer solo by James Burton.

It is a great version and Elvis sings "I'm only made out of blood, sweat and bones" instead of "flesh, blood and bones".

The "Rock and Roll Medley" had different incarnations when present and on this occasion Elvis sings "Blue Suede Shoes", "Long Tall Sally", "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On", "Your Mama Don't Dance", "Flip, Flop & Fly", and "Jailhouse Rock".

"My first movie was "Love Me Tender" and I'd like to sing a bit of that for you" is the way Elvis introduces the title song from his first movie and judging by audience reactions again, there was plenty of kissing during the 90 second performance.

There was barely any talking during the whole show and even "Hound Dog" with its funky intro doesn't get past the 90 second mark.

"Fever" has the women in the audience screaming loudly during the chorus and gets a decent treatment.

"Thank you very much, that's a fun song" is what Elvis tells us before launching into "What Now My Love".

As was always the case with this originally French song, Elvis makes it a showstopper and shows us his vocal power when reaching for the final note of the song.

I would pick this performance as one of the concert highlights.

"Suspicious Minds" gets the usual rushed treatment of post 1970 versions but at least we don't get the "I hate this song" comment Elvis added to the bridge of his 1969 hit near the end of the season.

Even with a concert lasting for only 50 minutes, at least it's all singing and no talking, excepting the "Band Introductions" of course, which lasts for 60 seconds.

At this point we get some changes in the recording levels and the volume gets louder and a bit clearer.

"We'd like to do a new song for you tonight...it was done by Richard Harris...it's got good words, I'd like to sing it for you... it's called "My Boy"" is one of the rare instances in this show where Elvis speaks and we get slightly different phrasings during the chorus than he would use in the studio recording in December that year.

"I Can't Stop Loving you" is a little sloppy but gets better towards the end and "An American Trilogy" is another highlight of the concert with Elvis singing greatly and not joking at all.

A great ovation follows and we get the rarely performed "Release Me".

Even though it can't compete with the 1970 version found in "On Stage" it's always nice to hear Elvis include a song that wasn't performed very often.

"Mystery Train / Tiger Man" follows and it really cooks.

James Burton's fills are done with taste as always and we can only imagine how the showroom must have rocked during this performance.

"Thank you... a song from "Blue Hawaii" ladies and gentlemen" is the cue for the "Can't Help Falling In Love" show closer and although the "Closing Vamp" is mentioned in the back cover, it was not included on the CD.

Even though it seemed at times that Elvis was in a rush to leave the stage because he had better things to do, this is an enjoyable concert with a good setlist and an all singing-no talking Elvis.

If you're looking for the best sound quality on shows from the 1973 Summer Season, go for the already mentioned "High Spirits in Vegas", "Getting Down to Business" or Straight Arrow's "A Change of Mind".

If you want a decent concert with one song after the other and no fooling around, you might enjoy "The King Will Never Die!"

After all, we know he never will!

(c) Javilu - February 21, 2011



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