Title: On The Road Again (West Coast Tour Volume 1) (released in 2004)
Label: Memory Records
Date: November 11, 1970, Portland, Oregon + bonuses: track 23 - Fan's comments (same date), tracks 24-28 - August 21, 1970, Las Vegas, Nevada, Dinner Show
Sound Quality (Concert): * * * - - / * * * * * +
Concert Rating: * * * * * / * * * * * +
Tracks: 1.Opening Vamp 2.That's All Right 3.I Got A Woman 4.Monologue / I Walk The Line (excerpt) / Tiger Man (excerpt) 5.Love Me Tender 6.You Don't Have To Say You Love Me 7.Sweet Caroline 8.You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' 9.Polk Salad Annie 10.Introductions 11.Johnny B. Goode 12.Band Introductions (ctd) / Blueberry Hill (excerpt) 13.How Great Thou Art (2nd live version ever) 14.The Wonder Of You 15.Heartbreak Hotel 16.Blue Suede Shoes 17.Hound Dog 18.Bridge Over Troubled Water (with 4 false starts) 19.Suspicious Minds 20.Funny How Time Slips Away 21.Can't Help Falling In Love 22.Closing Vamp / Announcements Bonus: 23.After show fans comments 24.I Just Can't Help Believin' 25.Sweet Caroline 26.Johnny B. Goode / Happy Birthday to James Burton 27.Blue Suede Shoes / Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On 28.Bridge Over Troubled Water (Duration: 76 min. 45 sec.)
Package: Very well done, with all the necessary information (band members, technical data), fine liner notes and photographs from the actual show.
Elvis: He is as energetic as ever, his voice is marvelous, in one word: fantastic.
Highlights: How Great Thou Art alone is worth getting this CD. It's the second live version of it, closer to the master than we have ever heard, and it is very intimate.
Review: 1970 in one way or another could easily be considered as one of the best years in Elvis' career. There were performances at the Houston Astrodome, there were two long and successful seasons in Las Vegas, the second of which produced Elvis' first documentary - That's The Way It Is. The only minus was the beginning of the so-called "Vegas boredom" syndrome - as soon as the filming crew left Las Vegas' showroom on August 13, Elvis threw half of his contemporary material out of the set and cut short such songs as The Wonder Of You, Blue Suede Shoes and others unexpectedly making only "run-through" versions of them. However, his voice and energy were on an unmatched level. Even the 1971 concerts, showing a similar attitude can't compete with the worst (if you can apply this word to a 1970 concert) shows of 1970.
This particular CD features the second Elvis' concert of the second tour of the year. Here is Elvis acting as if he is an animal just out of the cage. "Right over there! Watch" declares a member of the audience sitting close to the Sony stereo cassette recorder that is capturing this amazing performance. The sound quality on this release may be a little overloaded at times, but in other terms it is a very good sounding audience recording that has been very carefully treated by the remastering team. That's All Right is a very energetic version, Elvis seems to be really electrified. I Got A Woman is next, it is close to the 1969 versions of this song, just a little bit slower than the summer versions. "Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Johnny Cash," Elvis says as the band begins playing a part of I Walk The Line. Elvis teases the audience by saying that "It's a pleasure to be here in Oakland," and "I played this town when Tom Jones first learned how to do it," then announcing "Tiger Man" and having only the intro played he stops the band to say "Then I did a song called..." He continues entertaining the audience throwing standard Vegas jokes, but in much more wholehearted manner this time and the audience reacts much better than in Vegas. Love Me Tender contains the change in words - Elvis delivers it as "for my darling I love you, 'cause you took the pill". You Don't Have To Say You Love Me is very well performed, Sweet Caroline is shortened for whatever reason, while You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' is a masterpiece, as good as the August versions. "Thank you," Elvis says as he goes into the intro of Polk Salad Annie "Some of you that have never been to south too much, I want to tell you a little story so that you will understand what I'm talking about... Down there we have a turnip green... Down there we have a plant that grows out in the woods and it looks like a turnip green. Everybody calls it Polk salad," having only one refrain completed Elvis goes into the end of the song, then slows it down and goes impersonating some of the contemporary performers to the delight of the audience, simply declaring: "Tom Jones like this, Humperdinck, Glen Campbell". Having the song completed after a reprise, Elvis goes into the introductions of the band having said "Good evening ladies and gentleman" one more time. "On lead guitar is my favorite guitar player James Burton - WAY DOWN IN LOUISIANA, JAMES!" Mr. Presley shouts, delivering a very electrifying and energetic Johnny B. Goode. Introducing Ronnie Tutt he declares that "he works almost as hard as I do" and having Glen D. Hardin introduced he performs one line of "Fat's Domino's Hill". He doesn't introduce the Joe Gurcio Orchestra neither Charlie Hodge this night, but instead asks the house lights to be turned up and then goes into an outstanding version of How Great Thou Art. The song is a mixture of the later versions (demonstrating very good vocal control) and the accurate natural falsetto voice that Elvis shows in the beginning of the song. "Then I did a song last year that went like this," Elvis says, shortening The Wonder Of You two times, but vocally it is flawless. "Now I'm going back about 12 years," he declares going into a short Heartbreak Hotel, but the energy comes through the speakers and blows your heart away. Elvis speeds up Blue Suede Shoes for whatever reason, and says "I've ran you, Ronnie," having the song completed. Next is Hound Dog, a very energetic version.
By this time Elvis gets so highly spirited that it takes him over 2 and a half minutes to finally get Bridge Over Troubled Water started, first beginning it in a high falsetto voice and declaring: "No, that's a wrong move, wait a minute, Charlie. Wait a minute, wrong move, this is a serious song, Glen D. straighten up!" leaving behind a few short false starts Elvis says during a yet another attempt on the intro: "A very beautiful song really, called Love Me Tender... Bridge Over The River Kwai" and finally getting to a point where he could sing: "I will ball them all..." he stops the song again saying "I will bring the Blossoms tomorrow night". What has to be said is that once he gets into a serious mood the song gets a fantastic treatment, this surely is among the best versions of the song - no single post 1970' version can compete with it. Suspicious Minds is still energetic and the line "I can't walk out because Elvis has left the building," makes it even more outstanding. Funny How Time Slips Away is next, it is much better than so many version of the later years, a great mixture of the live 69' versions and the studio master. James' Fender Telecaster produces some fine glassy sound that this guitar-model is known for. "Thank you, you are a fantastic audience, I love you, thank you, you're beautiful, thank you!" Elvis announces as he goes into the Can't Help Falling In Love closing segment.
This is not an end, however, since after 9 minutes of fan's post-concert comments, we get to hear some bonuses from August 21, 1970 Dinner Show in Vegas. The sound quality here seems to be worse, too mush distortion, but the concert itself leaves a feeling of a masterpiece - I Just Can't Help Believing is a real beauty, the second part(after the so-called "fake-ending") is so carefully and intimately sung that it makes your heart tremble. Sweet Caroline is complete here and really passionately sung. "My favorite guitar player on lead guitar is Chuck Berry, if you don't believe me, just listen to him," James' licks seem a little better here than on the November concert, Elvis' voice is just a little more controlled. Having the song completed, Elvis announces "Mr. James Burton, ladies and gentlemen," and sings Happy Birthday. The medley of Blue Suede Shoes and a few lines of Whole Lotta Shaking Going On is a fine rendition. Bridge Over Troubled Water gets a more serious approach here, but is just a little bit worse than the version from the November concert.
In fact the fantastic quality November concert makes it worth having this CD in your collection in case you have missed other releases from this date, and it's possible that you'd prefer to have this CD in your collection too, as it is presented in better sound quality. However, be aware that this is an audience recording.
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