by Ken Jensen
I'm listening to Closing Night as I'm writing this. Running time: 1.17.06. I normally listen to a CD at least twice before I pass judgment, but let's throw caution to the wind and tackle this mother dead on. Here goes:
1. 2001 Theme
What an opening! The band rocks! Elvis isn't as energetic as usual, perhaps because this is D. S. He seems tired, almost sleepy, and attempts to stop the song near the end, but the band keep on playing. After the song, he complains about his mike, which reminds me of Dinner at Eight, then interacts brilliantly with J. D. (drug related).
Nothing special. Same ol', same ol'. The sound is good, although it's hard to hear the audience.
4. Love Me
Standard. He says "Chinese" twice or thrice during the song.
[IMGr]http://www.tcb-world.com/images/reviews/caught01.jpg[/IMGr]5. Steamroller Blues
Way cool. Nice piano playing from Hardin.
"Born in the heat of the desert" is fitting for Vegas. Elvis sings this opening line with an intensity I've rarely heard him do. "The sound system in this hotel has ... [gone to hell?]." Interesting version. Finishing the song, he says he was only kidding about the sound, then follows a short dialog with the sound engineer.
Rare live song, performed nicely. Emory Gordy takes it away on bass. Elvis changes the lyrics, which is cool.
8. Rock 'n' Roll Medley
First song from the M. S. Elvis changes lyrics again, great fun. The sound appears to be better now, but that may be an illusion. The man is in a very special mood all right.
9. Love Me Tender
Starts off with speeded-up crazy-singing. Fantastic stuff. Then: "Adios, you mother, bye-bye, poppa too, to hell with the Hilton and the showroom too." He says something I can't catch right around "Hilton", something about "hotel".
"Myrna Smith and J. D. Sumner had a very mad affair ..." Elvis sings like this basically throughout the entire song, to great merriment from everyone on stage. Charlie Hodge laughs so hard Elvis has got to ask him to cool it. Elvis claims to be allergic to cats.
11. What Now, My Love?
Much laughter as the King slips into bed, doing things with his mike that is best left unsaid. Too bad we can't hear the audience. I'd like a good audience recording of this too, just to check out the reaction from the crowd. Elvis delivers a powerful version.
Hilarious. Gotta hear this. Runs for 50 sec. Says "SOB" and says jokingly he'll leave the stage.
Forgets the words and asks for them. A lot of folks on stage start singing, to which El replies, "Listen to them, amateur night." Elvis takes over, powerful ending, beautifully done.
14. Suspicious Minds
Starts out as a straight version but Elvis sings powerfully all of a sudden, then softly. He did this on another song too, probably to drown out Hodge. Another "SOB" comment falls, and he exclaims that he hates the song.
Having fun, talking nonsene. "J. D. Sumner and the Stumps Quartet." Most of the intro is straight, actually. Introducing celebs, Col. Parker, his father, Linda T.
16. My Boy
Very fitting song with his divorce and all. Done here some months prior to recording it in the studio. A great version but not as good as on Dixieland Rocks. The sound is also better on the 1975 show.
17. I Can't Stop Loving You
Sings "made up my bed" instead of "mind". Referring to "What Now", or his divorce, or both? Is that why he got in the bed during "What Now, My Love" (now that it's over)?
18. An American Trilogy
Having some fun with the lyrics, talking to someone, perhaps himself, slapping the mike. Powerful ending, as usual.
19. Big Hunk
He did it better in 1972 and in Aloha. I think this is the fourth to last version of this song.
20. The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
The first time ever this song is released live officially. Missing verse is included (as opposed to the studio version). A very good performance by Elvis.
21. Mystery Train / Tiger Man
Elvis talks about Mario, who will be fired by the Hilton as soon as Elvis leaves. This monolog has been erroneously placed at the end of "Saw Your Face". This medley rocks. Elvis stops the band before ripping into "Tiger", dedicating the song to the hierarchy of the staff of the Hilton Hotel. The lyrics can easily be taken as death threats.
22. How Great Thou Art
Killer version. Elvis repeats the ending twice, saying he can sing it all night.
23. Help Me Make It through the Night
Mediocre to standard. Nothing special either way.
24. Softly as I Leave You
Incorrectly listed (twice) as "Softly as I LeaveYou". Elvis whispers this version. For the first time "performed" on stage. He seems to be on the verge of tears as he utters the last words. Directed against Priscilla, no doubt.
25. Can't Help Falling in Love
Standard. Nothing you haven't heard before.
That's it, folks. Please keep in mind that these are my initial comments. There may be mistakes here, or views I can't defend later on. This is first impression, simple as that. Enjoy it for what it's worth.
To sum it up: I really, really recommend this CD. It's a must, people