Blazing Into The Darkness

blazing.jpg (10683 octets)

Premier  CDM 2000-1

Las Vegas, Nevada August 11th 1972 dinner show


Track listing :

2001 Theme / See See Rider / Proud Mary / Until It's Time For You To Go / You Don't Have To Say You Love Me / You've Lost That Loving Feeling / Polk Salad Annie / What Now My Love /Fever / Love Me / Blue Suede Shoes / One Night / All Shook Up / Teddy Bear - Don't Be Cruel/ Heartbreak Hotel / Hound Dog / Love Me Tender / Suspicious Minds / Band Introductions /My Way / American Trilogy / Can't Help Falling In Love.


Review :

I have always been more of a fan of the pre-1974 live Elvis than the tours that came after. Therefore it was with much anticipation that I waited for the release of the 1972 soundboard of the August 11, 1972 dinner show, BLAZING INTO THE DARKNESS.

    The midnight show was released a few years ago under the title ELVIS AT FULL BLAST, this was one of the best sounding import CD releases of all time. So of course i was expecting the same sound quality for this release.

    You know what - I got it!! (there are a few minor sound problems at the beginning of You Don't Have to Say You Love Me - a minor quibble)

    BLAZING INTO THE DARKNESS is without a doubt one of the best sounding import CD's of the last few of years.The sound is full, crisp with the vocals well balanced with the rhythm section - which makes for a wonderful listening experience. The packaging is very good and the liner notes are an actual review that appeared in the Las Vegas SUN at the time.

    As for the show itself?

    As i had stated above i really am a big fan of the early 1970's shows. I believe Elvis was still at his magical best, even if he did have a few "off' nights his performances were strong, touching, funny and professional. The same can't be said for the majority of shows after 1974,
but I digress.

    Earlier in 1972, at the February engagement, Elvis had radically changed his show by including seven or eight new numbers. By the summer of 1972 The Elvis Presley Show was a fine tuned machine that rarely ran over an hour, but bowled over the audience with precision and timing. At this summer engagement Elvis added more new numbers to the show such as, "What Now My Love", "Fever","Steamroller Blues" and "My Way".

    The show opens with, by this time, the standard "2001 theme" and "See See Rider "(James Burton finds a few new licks during his instrumental on See See Rider) continues with "Proud Mary", "Until It's Time For You To Go" (one of the few times i have heard this performed without any mistakes), "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me", "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin" and "Polk Salad Annie" All are performed to such a high standard that it is hard to find fault. I guess i could only say that the renditions performed here don't top those from August 1970, but that would be almost impossible.

    The show continues with performances of two of the four new songs for this engagement, "What Now My Love" and "Fever". Most fans are familiar with the versions performed on the Aloha broadcast a few months later in January 1973. In My humble opinion the renditions here are superior, especially "What Now My Love" Elvis evokes such a tender plea to the song's question that every woman in the audience must have been dying to answer it!

    The show continues with the oldies section, "Love Me", "Blue Suede Shoes", "One Night", "All Shook Up", "Teddy Bear/Don;t Be Cruel", "Heartbreak Hotel", "Hound Dog" and "Love Me Tender" There would come a time within about 2 years that Elvis would perform these tunes with so little commitment he could barely be heard above a mumble. On this night, he seems to be growing tired of the repetivness of these songs. These are not badly sung renditions, but Elvis has sung this material so much better in 1969-1970, even at the Madison Square Garden shows in June of 1972. Just prior to "Hound Dog" Elvis mentions that as everybody was taking their seats in the showroom he was upstairs in bed reading a cartoon, maybe his lacklustre performance of this material is because he still isn't awake, hey - you never know!

    The last portion of the show is the highlight for me. After introducing Mr. and Mrs. Tippler (owners of the Crown Electric Co. that Elvis worked for just out of High School in 1953) Elvis performs a stirring rendition of "Suspicious Minds" replete with the "shove it up your nose' line and lyric changes about a tree trunk and being from Alabama.

    Elvis is having a good time here.

    After the band introductions Elvis performs another new song, Frank Sinatra's "My Way". This song would become almost as connected to Elvis' career as it was for Sinatra. The arrangement here is closer to the original recording than Elvis' rendition on the Aloha broadcast and other subsequent performances. Anyone familiar with Sinatra's original recording with note that the end of the song isn't an escalating note but a lower scale note, Elvis' uses this arrangement here. After the performance Elvis' comments on the song, which he rarely did, saying that it is a "good song, OK for Sinatra", but that he hasn't "ate it up and spit it out yet!"

    The show winds down with a great version of " An American Trilogy and closes with the standard, "Can't Help Falling I n Love".

    To Summarise BLAZING INTO THE DARKNESS is a standout import CD, it is a very good performance with excellent sound quality, easily rating 5 CD's!!

    I can't wait for the next PREMIER label release - Keep up the good work!

    By John Carpenter