I really struggled during my first run-through of CD 3 of Elvis On Tour, as I initially found both the sound and performance disappointing. I decided to give it another try about a week later, so this consolidated review actually represents impressions from both my first and second listens of the show.
I’ve been enjoying the new Elvis On Tour boxed set, so I’m continuing my informal, off-the-cuff reviews. This time, I’ll be listening to CD 3, which captures Elvis Presley’s concert on Friday, April 14, 1972, at the Greensboro Coliseum in North Carolina. Though this show is previously unreleased, it does have 3 songs that appear in the actual movie.
Also Sprach Zarathustra (Theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey)
See See Rider: Though nothing really distinguishes it, this is a fine 1972 version of “See See Rider.” The audio quality on the Hampton and San Antonio concerts was mostly impressive. I’m not sure about Greensboro yet.
Elvis sounds tired as he says good evening to the audience.
Proud Mary: This should be a drum-heavy song, but Ronnie Tutt is lower in the mix here than I would like. Nevertheless, this is a rockin’ version. However, much like “See See Rider,” nothing really distinguishes this one from other fine performances of this tune in 1972.
Never Been To Spain: This is an okay version of this song on Elvis’ part, with nothing standing out. “We’ll get the ending right one day,” he notes after completing it.
I must admit, I’m disappointed in this concert so far. I’d been looking forward to it. Hopefully things will pick up. I’m also hoping for a surprise or two in terms of the setlist (I have not read the accompanying booklet yet, which includes the track listing).
You Gave Me A Mountain: I’ve mentioned in previous reviews that this is a poor spot in the setlist to downshift to slow songs. “Polk Salad Annie” right here would be so much better. I love slow songs, but this should be a little later in the show. This is not an especially good version of “You Gave Me A Mountain,” either. Elvis again sounds tired.
Until It’s Time For You To Go
Polk Salad Annie: The Greensboro crowd reacts loudly as “Polk Salad Annie” begins. I love the wild Jerry Scheff bass guitar solos on the 1972 versions of the song, and this one is no exception. The bass could be a little louder in the mix, though, and poor Elvis still sounds tired.
Love Me: The crowd is definitely enthusiastic in Greensboro. Way to go, North Carolina!
All Shook Up: Elvis offers up a surprisingly spirited version. At least he doesn’t sound bored like he often does on this song.
Teddy Bear/Don’t Be Cruel: I usually don’t enjoy the “oldies” section of the show in 1972, but Elvis again sounds enthusiastic on this medley.
Hound Dog: Well, that all just went out the window. Elvis really should have retired “Hound Dog” after 1970. This is a rather poor version.
Heartbreak Hotel: I normally like 1972 versions of “Heartbreak Hotel.” This one is good, though he gets distracted.
A Big Hunk O’ Love: Here we go! “A Big Hunk O’ Love” really takes off! Elvis says, “It’s your big chance, man” during Glen Hardin’s piano solo. I love how this song has two instrumental breaks, one for Glen and the other for James Burton on lead guitar. This should have happened more often. I love this song! So awesome!
Bridge Over Troubled Water: This version of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” appeared in the Elvis On Tour movie. I know some fans consider it Elvis’ best version ever, but I can’t grasp how they can think that when 1970 exists. In any event, it’s fun to hear a 1972 version of this song. As a teen, I remember being surprised to see this in Elvis On Tour when I watched it for the first time. I associated the song with 1970, for it was such a climactic moment in Elvis: That’s The Way It Is, and I didn’t realize he continued performing it after that year.
Suspicious Minds: All right, let’s do it right, Elvis! The start is fairly strong, for 1972. Overall, a decent version. It’s probably the best version of the three I’ve heard so far on this set – which isn’t necessarily a huge compliment. Why did Elvis allow his most recent #1 hit to become almost a throwaway?
As the band begins “Comin’ Home Baby” for the introductions portion of the show, Elvis says, “My first movie, ladies and gentlemen, was Love Me Tender. I’d like to sing that for you,” and the band quickly shifts into “Love Me Tender” instead.
Love Me Tender: A short but fine version. Includes the ad-lib, “You have made my suit turn blue, and I love you so.”
Comin’ Home Baby/Introductions By Elvis
For The Good Times: I really enjoyed the multiple attempts of “For The Good Times” on the Hollywood Studio CDs of this set. While I prefer studio versions of this song, this live version is still good. The female backing vocalists are more prominent in this mix than the usually male-dominated mixes of this particular song. I like it! Possibly my favorite live version of this song.
An American Trilogy: Dixie/Battle Hymn Of The Republic/All My Trials – This appeared in the Elvis On Tour movie. It’s a great version. I like the Hampton Roads version better, but I can see why they went with this one for the movie – it’s visually better than Hampton. This makes me want to watch the movie again. It’s been a few years.
Burning Love: Oh, cool! Elvis debuts his soon to be hit song, recorded only a couple of weeks earlier. You’ve gotta crank the sound up on this one. Go Elvis! Who cares if some of the words are wrong? It’s the feel of the song. That’s always been the case when listening to Elvis. This Greensboro version of “Burning Love” is possibly my second favorite live version, after San Antonio. I love James Burton’s guitar so much on these 1972 versions. I don’t know why he changed that sound for the 1973 Elvis: Aloha From Hawaii version.
Release Me: This one appeared in the excellent Elvis: The Lost Performances VHS video in 1992. It’s a good version of “Release Me,” but certainly anticlimactic after “Burning Love.”
Funny How Time Slips Away: This is a good 1972 version of “Funny How Time Slips Away.” It will probably be my go-to version for that year. This performance appears in Elvis On Tour. I love finally hearing these songs in context of the full shows. When multiple police officers pull a fan away after trying to reach Elvis on the stage, he says “Let her have that, let her have that, man,” to one of them, handing the officer a scarf to give to the overzealous fan. How cool.
Generally, this song indicates the show is almost over (because time is slipping away). I am hoping he squeezes in at least one more song before the “Can’t Help Falling In Love” finale, though. “Let me drink a little Gatorade, and I’ll sing another song for you,” he says. Maybe!
Can’t Help Falling In Love: Well, darn. The show is just about over. 1972 versions of “Can’t Help Falling In Love” are way too fast, but he does sound good here.
I really wish the show was a bit longer. Most Elvis concerts are around 60 minutes. This one clocks in at 62 minutes. For some reason, it feels shorter than that. The overall Greensboro experience feels unsatisfying compared to Hampton and San Antonio.
Well, 51 years later, I guess I shouldn’t complain since at least I get to hear this show at all. The first listen was definitely disappointing, but I enjoyed it more the second time through, including multiple highlights noted above. The sound is not as clear as Hampton or San Antonio, but it’s not horrible by any means.
“May the mountains yield prosperity for all, and may the hills be fruitful.”