This is a review I wrote a few years ago (IMG:http://elvis-tkc.com/forum2/style_emoticons/default/tongue.gif
July 23rd 1975. Elvis’s second night in Asheville was coming up. Fans and critics were very positive about last evenings show. Elvis faced an difficult task. Performing multiple shows in one town isn’t easy. But Elvis was determent to give the Ashville crowds varying shows.
After the last intermission ( the one that followed comedian Jacky Kahane) the lights dim. The 2001 theme is set in by the band and orchestra. Finally the band breaks into the Opening Vamp. The crowd is going wild, Elvis will appear. Many people have waited years for this moment. The month before Elvis: That’s The Way It Is was shown on US television, so many people must have had an idea of what to expect. Nothing was more from the truth. Elvis’s show, vocal abilities and looks had changed drastically during the five years that had passed since the shooting of TTWII. However, no one got home disappointed that night!
Elvis wears a suit he introduced earlier during the tour, the beautiful Dark Blue Gypsy Suit. For some matter Elvis always looked fabulous in blue and black, but because of the fact that it was very difficult for the fans in the far back to see him he seldom wore suits in those colours. It takes a while before Elvis begins singing See See Rider. The strength of his voice has to be heard to believe it. These July ´75 versions have the same energy and strength as the early 1972 or the late ( especially December) 1976 versions. Elvis is really attacking the song. He’s moving quite energetically and his face is one big smile. Flash lights are bringing brightness to the dark concert-hall.
After this good opening Elvis thanks the crowd and proceeds with his Well Well intro to A I Got Woman. Again, like the previous night, he pronounces the lyrics very clear and really seem to enjoy this song. You got to wonder how many times one can sing a song and not get bored with it! It surely shows his class! A surprisingly good Amen is followed by JD Summers impression of a B-52 Bomb Diver. Personally I can do without it, but the crowd likes it and screams of approval can be heard throughout the act. Elvis concludes the song with a last verse of I Got A Woman and while the band ends the song Elvis makes some karate moves with his guitar before he ultimately throws it over his shoulder where Charlie Hodge catches it.
The applause seems to die very quickly after I Got A Woman and Elvis directs his band into a version of Big Boss Man. A very committed version with several words almost shouted by Elvis. Ronnie is really driving tonight’s version with his “busy” playing. Elvis’s phrasing is a little different, a somewhat more bluesy feeling is added. Also James guitar playing is a little different and reminds of some versions of the last couple of shows of the August/September 1974 Las Vegas engagement. James ends this version with some brilliant guitar licks.
Again Elvis talks a little with the crowd. “ Thank you very much ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the show. We hope you have a good time this evening. We’re going to do our best to entertain you”. As usual Elvis gets a little distracted by some fans near the stage and also by the fans sitting behind the stage yelling for him to turn their way. As Elvis indeed turns to them he says “We’re gonna turn around” and while turning back proceeds “We’re going to do lots of songs, old ones, new ones. I hope we do something that you like. I’ll walk around and sweat a lot, give away scarves and kiss people” and jokingly adds “throw the Stamps out”
Normally his welcome speech was over by now, but he has an extra announcement for the Ashville crowd: “I don’t know what you have heard The people come in here and brainwash ya, they say, you know, ah, don’t move, stay in your seat…..just have a good time folks”. After a quick applause following this statement Elvis says softly: “ That’s what we want to hear ..”
Next is Love Me, a 1956 hit song. This song was, by now, his “get to know the audience” song. During Love Me he taxated the audience so he would know what kind of audience he was singing to. If the crowd didn’t react as Elvis had expected the show would be typical, short and little interactive, but when the crowd was responsive and enthusiastically he often put some extra songs to the line-up, did requests and was often more energetic on stage. Tonight’s version is OK. Following Love Me Elvis again takes some time to talk with/to the audience. He mentions his usual joke about having kissed somebody with the Creepin´Grud and that if he has it they will get it too. Often the response was: Give it to me. If You Love Me is next. These July 75 versions are among the best he did. He really puts some vocal effort into this song which he liked very much. From the latter part of 1976 this song would be a standard song in the set-list, mostly as 4th or 5th song, in combination with Fairytale. ( a good example is the August / September 1976 tour where Elvis during the first part used If You Love Me but then switched to Fairytale. Another good example is the Kalamazoo April 26th 1977 show where Elvis begins singing Fairytale but goofs up en then says: …Let’s do that other song….and sings If You Love Me instead.)
“ Ladies and Gentleman, There’s a fellow that lives here in Asheville who that wrote a song, it’s one of my favorite songs that I recorded”, Elvis is interrupted by some fans yelling that they can’t see him, “ His name is Billy Ed Wheeler. Put the light…that’s cool, he wrote a song called It’s Midnight. I’d like to try that for you right now”. Elvis then performs one of the best, if not the best, version of this song he recorded in December 1973. A very powerful performance. The oldies (All Shook Up and Teddy Bear – Don’t Be Cruel) are above average tonight. Elvis puts some energy and vocal commitment in these songs seldom heard after 1972. The audience is having a great time during these 50´s classics. This is how they remembered Elvis. Hound Dog is next and is, although he begins it very committed, only average. When the song has ended there’s almost no response from the audience. Elvis must have felt very uncertain at this point. “ You may applaud ladies and gentlemen if you want to let us know you’ve heard the song”, the audience is now responding, “ otherwise we won’t know it up here”. The Wonder Of You gets a good run trough, but again missing the complete piano intro. After The Wonder…..Elvis receives a picture of his daughter from a fan in the audience…”that’s beautiful…” While talking a little bit more a female fan shouts out TURN AROUND!. Elvis replies with a “ Turn Around”, almost as a question and then immediately performs a short but emotional and powerful version of Turn Around, Look At Me. It only lasts about 35 – 40 seconds but is brilliant. The few times Elvis sang a song out of the blue that wasn’t his, it were beautiful versions. (You Can Have Her – May 13th 1974 / You’re The Reason I’m Living – March 22nd 1975 Midnight Show / Jambalaya –May 4th/June 9th 1975 / Turn Around, Look At Me – Asheville July 23rd 1975). This was really THE highlight so far. Now the audience gets the choice between Polk Salad Annie and Burning Love. Although Burning love is clearly the audience’s choice Elvis comments: “ Ok, we’ll do Burn, Polk Salad”.
Polk Salad Annie is brought really good this evening with lots of body movements and is great backed by the rhythm section. The Band Introductions are up now. James Burton plays Johnny B Good with the guitar behind his head (this must be the first time that Elvis asked James to do that) and even plays an instrumental break at Elvis’s request. Just when the instrumental part has ended Elvis ends the song. The intro´s are further just “as usual” with the solo’s played by Ronnie Tutt (drums), Jerry Scheff (bass), Glen Hardin (piano) and the orchestra conducted by Joe Guercio.
“Let’s go down to T.R.O.U.B.L.E”. For some strange reason this song isn’t introduced as his latest single this night and seems to be a little faster that usual. By now Elvis has total control over this song, not missing a single word. The Hey Hey ending is extended when Elvis throws in a Walk It, Ride It. segment. Brilliantly done! The crowd clearly loves to see Elvis perform a rock song.
Since Elvis was very religious he sang quite a few gospels. Why Me Lord is one of them. This song was first introduced at the January/February 1974 Las Vegas engagement. Till the summer of 1974 Elvis played the song very serious, very straight. He only sang the Chorus, the rest was sung by JD Sumner and the Stamps Quartet. From the August 1974 season Elvis began to joke during the song. For example when JD sang ...what did I ever do?, Elvis replied: “ Not much” which cracked JD up. This habit of cracking JD up developed to a routine during 1975 and sometimes JD was hardly able to sing because he was laughing so much. This song is immediately followed by another gospel song, How Great Thou Art. Tonight’s version is even better than the night before. Elvis’s voice is just incredible. Everything he got is thrown into the song and it works, so the reprise of the last part isn’t a surprise.
Next on the programme is Shake A Hand. The night before they had much trouble to find the right key, but tonight they have it right from the start. The pace has slowed down considerably and therefore the song sounds a lot stronger. Elvis hits some unbelievable notes at the end of the song. At this point the question comes to mind why he didn’t sung this song more often in concert. It’s a great song, he had total control over it and the crowd really liked it. Only 4 live versions are known, namely: Asheville July 22nd / 23rd / 24th and Atlanta June 6th 1976.
After Shake A Hand Elvis asks for the words of Fairytale as does a great slow, strongly country flavoured version which is absolutely a highlight of the concert. At this time it wasn’t a regular concert song. After the applause Elvis mentions the sickness of his father and then introduces Vernon….” Daddy, stand where they can see you”. He jokes a little with the audience about the word Genesis and continues the show with Little Darlin´ which is nothing special but nice to hear anyway. Next it’s time for Mystery Train / Tiger Man. This medley is brought with so much energy and enthusiasm that you can’t help but smile and enjoy it to the last second. Funny How Time Slips Away is received really well by the audience. Before the song Elvis receives a gift from a female fan. Just like the night before Elvis performs It’s Now Or Never during the show. It’s a really good version that sounds fresh and with a committed Elvis.
Elvis then asks the audience if they want to hear something special and gets a request he can’t do (his dad asks for Pieces Of Myt life), instead he says: “ How about Promised Land?”. Promised Land is probably the last live version ever and is sung really good. A little faster than the August ´74 versions. This time the song really rocks. James guitar work is simply brilliant.
Elvis then talks a little about the fact the they have four aeroplanes full of equipment and people…” to make sure you get the very best sound, because that’s why we’re here, to please you.
As usual Elvis closed with Can’t Help Falling In Love. During the song he shakes some hands and makes sure that everybody can see him for the last time. When the song has ended walks Elvis to both ends of the stage to greet his fans. He then walks back to center stage en turns to the audience seated behind the stage, spreads his arms and makes a bow. Then he turns to face the audience for the last time before he is escorted off-stage.
This second show in Asheville was even better than the one of the night before. Elvis had put on a great show and the additions of It’s Midnight, Fairytale and Promised Land worked really well, but tomorrow night he had to do it again ....