Recorded live in Richmond,Virginia March 18th 1974
Opening Theme Love Me Tender / Keep It Goin'* / Going Back To
Memphis Tomorrow* /Announcements - Warmup / Also Sprach Zarahustra / See See Rider / I Got
A Woman / Love Me /Trying To Get To You / All Shook Up / Steamroller Blues / Teddy
Bear/Don't Be Cruel / Love Me Tender / Long Tall Sally/Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On - Mama
Don't Dance - Flip Flop And Fly -Jailhouse Rock - Hound Dog / Fever / Polk Salad Annie /
Why Me Lord / Suspicious Minds /Introductions / I Can't Stop Loving You / Help Me /
American Trilogy / Let Me Be There / Funny How Time Slips Away / Can't Help Falling In
Love / Closing Vamp.
* Recorded in Memphis, TN. June 10, 1975 and features Voice
The title of this CD is, of course. taken from a line from Steamroller.Blues
and it begs the answer does the CD blow your mind?
As with so many soundboards you often get a mediocre performance orbad sound. But, on this release you get a truly magical self-assured performance along with great sound. There are imperfections along the way, there are times when the sound level fluctuates and I could have done without the 5 or 6 minutes of the instruments warming up. But overall this is one of the best sounding imports that has been released in the last few years.
But what of the performance?
The CD begins with the "Love Me Tender " instrumental opening and two songs by VOICE, "Keep it Goin' " and "Going Back To Memphis Tomorrow" recorded on June 10/75 in Memphis TN. It is a wonderful treat to hear some of the additional acts that travelled with the Elvis Presley Show. I can't wait for a show to be released as a 2 CD set with the first CD containing all the opening acts and the second CD containing the Elvis performance. But I think that is a pipe dream.
Once Elvis enters the stage we are treated to strong versions of 'See See Rider" , "I Got a Woman", "Love Me" and the first treat of the evening, "Tryin' To Get To You". Elvis had only added this song to the set list the a month or so before in his Vegas stand and he clearly enjoys the experience of putting over a song that is new to his show. (even if it was recorded at SUN almost 20 years earlier). After a pit stop with the always dependable " All Shook Up" he moves right into the funkiest sounding "Steamroller Blues" you will ever hear. (RCA obviously heard it too, they released the same arrangement from the Memphis show 2 days later on Platinum)
"Steamroller Blues" at this point in the history of Elvis' concerts had been performed on a regular basis since the summer of 1972. It would only be a few more months before this song was dropped from Elvis' shows altogether.
The "Steamroller Blues" performed this March evening in Richmond ,Virginia reveals a loose, confidant Elvis Presley not hampered by the extra pressures of a live recording or movie/TV cameras staring at him with their penetrating lenses as had happened when he performed this song on the Aloha show a little over a year before. At that time it was new and Elvis and the band were still feeling their way through it. By now it had been transformed into a free swinging blues/rock song only hampered by the excessive orchestration that marred Elvis' performances and studio recordings in the 1970's.
This is the Highlight of the CD for me.
The oldies section of the show comes next with Elvis firing through them coolly and efficiently. A dark contrast to just a year or so later when he would sing the old standards in a lacklustre lazy fashion that must have left some patrons scratching their heads thinking they had wasted their money. But that was yet to come, here "Teddy Bear/ Don't Be Cruel ", "Love Me Tender " and the medley " Long Tall Sally/ Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On/ Mama Can't dance/ Flip Flop & Fly/ Jailhouse Rock/ Hound Dog" are performed at a breakneck pace that really puts Elvis and the TCB band in the groove.
The next set of songs, "Fever" "Polk Salad Annie" "Why Me Lord?" and "Suspicious Minds" show Elvis and his musicians to be just that, marvellous musicians. Just listen to the solos on "Polk Salad Annie" or the rapid fire drumming on "Suspicious Minds" and the self-deprecating humour of "Fever" to see why these musicians are still highly regarded in the entertainment field today.
After the brief band introductions the show winds down in typical fashion for early 1974 with "I Can't Stop Loving You", a new song," Help Me", "American Trilogy" ,"Let Me Be There" "Funny How Time Slips Away " and "Can't Help Falling In Love". With the only exception of "American Trilogy" , the low point of this CD, they are all performed to a high standard.
One can't miss and won't be disappointed with this CD - a must have addition to your Elvis collection.
John Carpenter - September 5/98.
Back to CD Reviews