Review : Nevada Nights FTD 2 CD Concert Set : August 19 & 21, 1974
The cover photo is of Elvis in his Karate gear, on the inside behind Disc 1 is a picture of Elvis demonstrating Karate at the Tom Jones Caesars Palace show on September 4, 1974. Behind Disc 2 is a photo of Elvis from his closing September 2, 1973 midnight show. (Disc 1 is on the right, disc 2 on the left)
The back cover includes a photo of Elvis wearing the cream leather suit as designed by his cousin bobby, along with the tracklisting.
Disc 1 : Las Vegas August 19, 1974 Opening Show
This first CD features the famous opening night : August 19, 1974, where Elvis departed from the conventional opening - not starting with Also Sprach Zarathustra or See See Rider - instead opening with Big Boss Man - and including many songs he had not performed live before.
Down In The Alley, Good Time Charlie's Got The Blues, I'm Leavin', Softly As I Leave You and Promised Land making this the most unique concert of the 1970s. Big Boss Man is a great rocking' opening, followed by Proud Mary - a surprise - as we're transported back to 1972 and it is a pretty decent version too! Elvis then introduces himself as the NBC Peacock! Next, Down In The Alley is a complete surprise and an excellent rocker and highlight of the show. Good Time Charlie's Got The Blues is a recent recording and funny with Elvis' ad-libbing of 'lose your wife' - 'already did that' and 'lose your life' 'almost did that too' - being autobiographical.
An interesting opening show so far with some very nice surprises!. Never Been To Spain is another 1972 throwback and again receives good audience applause. It's Midnight introduced as his 'new' record is a great version. If You Talk In Your Sleep is okay but of more interest is afterwards when Elvis jokes that he didn't write the song about himself, kidding that Charlie Hodge did before noting Red West wrote it.
Elvis Presleys handwritten note to stage director and personal aide, Charlie Hodge, and a list of 17 songs (Just Pretend written twice) also penned in Elvis' hand. These were songs that Elvis wanted to rehearse at RCA's Sunset Hollywood Studio, during August 1974. This was in preparation for Elvis' Summer Season at the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel. Elvis would usually write down the songs he required before a rehearsal or a live show and give them to Charlie Hodge in advance. The manuscript reads (with commas added to song list for easy reading): RCA Studio Rehearsals - Run down these and any others they come down with - play with new opening. Promised Land, Down In The Alley, It's Midnight, First Time I Ever Saw Your Face, Softly, Proud Mary, Help Me, Mountain, Just Pretend, I'm Leavin, If You Love Me, The Twelfth Of Never, Good Time Charlie's Got The Blues, Loves Been A Long Time Coming, If You Talk In Your Sleep, Just Pretend, Burning Love.
I'm Leavin' is as good as the performance of Let Me Be There (with reprise) which is followed by Softly As I Leave You, Elvis slightly stuffs up the spoken part, but the song still works well. If You Love Me (Let Me Know) is again very well sung, with the rehearsed J.D Sumner ending.
Polk Salad Annie is simply 'routine' and the intros mention Ronnie Tutt (as his Karate pupil), a swipe at John Wilkinson (for not trusting him) and Duke Bardwell spelt Dook! Circus Lion trainer Gunther Gebel Williams is introduced next, followed by a rocking version of Promised Land which although it 'rocks' sadly the mono sound doesn't bring this across so well. Telly Savalas is introduced next (in fact they were friends for a long time and Telly even bought a Palm Springs house from Elvis later on) Elvis calls him one of the coolest actors and the says he has the #1 show on television. My Baby Left Me is okay but not quite as good as the Recorded Live On Stage In Memphis March 20, 1974 version.
Elvis closes with Can't Help Falling In Love (incomplete) and the 60 minute show is over.
Elvis Presley : August 29, 1974. Photo from inside the front cover.
In conclusion, this is one of the most interesting opening shows Elvis performed since January 26, 1972 but it is a great pity that many of the new songs were dropped soon after with Elvis content to keep in as new only Promised Land for the 20th August and more regularly five new songs Big Boss Man, Softly As I Leave You, It's Midnight, If You Talk In Your Sleep and If You Love Me (Let Me Know.
Disc 2 : August 21, 1974 Midnight Show
On this CD the sound seems a little better and it's a great show. Straight from the opening riff to See See Rider - not the best 1974 version - a bit too 'smooth' and plenty of 'loose' James Burton guitar but Elvis' voice sounds up-front. I Got A Woman starts after Elvis complains about hearing a 'ringing sound', it's a pretty fast version with piano up-front and Elvis making J.D. Sumner repeat his part calling him the 'original deep throat' to a great ending. Elvis then introduces himself as the 'ice cream man' and mentions that his cousin Bobby Jean made the cream leather suit he is wearing (seen on the back of the FTD package) Love Me is okay followed by If You Love Me (Let Me Know) which is well sung and with piano and J.D nicely up-front. It's Midnight is beautifully sung and Elvis is really getting into singing this show as Big Boss Man rocks! Fever is the 'deep voice' version with reference to Duke Bardwell's playing and another reference to his leather jumpsuit show. Love Me Tender is a 'routine 'scarf / kissing song, All Shook Up is basically a throwaway and Elvis even mentions his dog 'Getlo' and six year old daughter, Lisa Marie and that she calls him 'Alvis'. There is then a brief one liner of the 1965 Waylon Jennings song Stop The World (And Let Me Off) followed by I'm Leavin' which is very good with great drumming, then Elvis mentions that the story of the next song, Softly As I Leave You - he found out from 'some people down in Florida' – a good performance.
In concert, Elvis talks about how Lisa calls him Alvis.
Hound Dog is a very fast throwaway, You Gave Me A Mountain is a good solid performance. Polk Salad Annie is another great performance with (after some feedback) Elvis singing one line 'Her mama was working on the feedback'. The introductions follow The Sweet Inspirations, J.D. Sumner .... then two lines of the old Hank Williams song Take These Chains (And Set Me Free)
'.... Take these chains from my heart and set me free, you've grown old and no longer care for me ....'
Elvis says he is glad J.D. is up here as he is the father figure (and Kathy Westmoreland is the Mother ... figure) - James Burton is next and then Elvis kids John Wilkinson that he picked up a girl who wore braces and 'can't see'. Ronnie Tutt again gets mentioned as a Karate student and Duke Bardwell for 'occasionally playing bass', Glenn D Hardin, Charlie Hodge, his friend and the guy that sings harmony with me, Voice get an embellished intro, then celebrity Lovelace Watkins gets introduced as opening at the Flamingo tomorrow night. If You Talk In Your Sleep is well performed where as Why Me Lord completely breaks J.D up. (Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear / Don't Be Cruel is again routine followed by a beautiful renditions of Hawaiian Wedding Song and The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face (sung for Linda Thompson) but unfortunately it's incomplete with the 3rd verse ...
(And the first time ever I lay with you
And felt your heartbeat close to mine
I knew a joy would fill the earth
And would last 'till the end of time, my love
And would last 'till the end of time
Aah huh aah ooh ho he who who hoo aaagh he arrr uhuh huh)
... missing-with the characteristic soaring up vocals a pity as it's a real show 'highlight'
Let Me Be There is pretty good and Elvis says he's had a wonderful time before closing with the usual Can't Help Falling In Love, poorly sung except for the strong ending. This show ran for 66 minutes and although slightly incomplete represents one of the best sung shows this season.
An excellent FTD double delight and a chance for non-bootleg buying fans to obtain these shows in the best sound. A great release!. Buy Nevada Nights FTD 2 CD Set
August 19, 1974 : Opening Night Show
1. Big Boss Man
2. Proud Mary
3. Down In The Alley
4. Good Time Charlie's Got The Blues
5. Never Been To Spain
6. It's Midnight
7. If You Talk In Your Sleep
8. I'm Leavin'
9. Let Me Be There
10. Softly As I Leave You
11. If You Love Me (Let Me Know)
12. Love Me Tender
13. Polk Salad Annie
15. Promised Land
16. My Baby Left Me
17. Bridge Over Troubled Water
19. Hound Dog
20. Can't Help Falling In Love (incomplete)
August 21, 1974 : Midnight Show
1. See See Rider
2. I Got A Woman / Amen
3. Love Me
4. If You Love Me (Let Me Know)
5. It's Midnight
6. Big Boss Man
8. Love Me Tender
9. All Shook Up
11. I'm Leavin'
12. Softly As I Leave You
13. Hound Dog
14. You Gave Me A Mountain
15. Polk Salad Annie
17. If You Talk In Your Sleep
18. Why Me Lord
19. (Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear / Don't Be Cruel
20. Hawaiian Wedding Song
21. The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face (incomplete version)
22. Let Me Be There
23. Can't Help Falling In Love
24. Closing Vamp
Buy Nevada Nights FTD 2 CD Set
Guitars: James Burton, John Wilkinson; Guitar and Vocals: Charlie Hodge; Bass: Duke Bardwell; Drums: Ronnie Tutt; Piano: Glen D. Hardin; Vocals: The Sweet Inspirations, Myna Smith, J. D. Sumner & The Stamps, Kathy Westmoreland, Voice. Joe Guercio and his Orchestra.
Recorded live at The Las Vegas Hilton.
Tupelo's Own Elvis Presley DVD + 16 page booklet.
Never before have we seen an Elvis Presley concert from the 1950's with sound. Until Now! The DVD Contains recently discovered unreleased film of Elvis performing 6 songs, including Heartbreak Hotel and Don't Be Cruel, live in Tupelo Mississippi 1956. Included we see a live performance of the elusive Long Tall Sally seen here for the first time ever.
This is an excellent release no fan should be without it.
The 'parade' footage is good to see as it puts you in the right context with color and b&w footage. The interviews of Elvis' Parents are well worth hearing too. The afternoon show footage is wonderful and electrifying : Here is Elvis in his prime rocking and rolling in front of 11.000 people. Highly recommended.