Gotta Find My Baby!

May 13, 2022

Takin' Tahoe Tonight! (CD - FTD, 2003)

Takin' Tahoe Tonight!
FTD [FTD 027] [82876 53367 2]
Number of tracks:
Running time:
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FTD discography
May 13, 1973, 3 AM
September 2003

Takin' Tahoe Tonight is FTD's twenty-seventh CD. It contains the full May 13, 1973 3 am concert in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, during Elvis' second season in town. The CD is currently out of print at the label.

1973 was a big roller coaster for Elvis. In January, the success of Aloha From Hawaii was another victory in his career and the LP of the attraction followed the sales path of the previous ones with great numbers achieved.

However, his personal life was in shambles with the ongoing divorce from Priscilla, the discovery of the relationship with Mike Stone and the inevitable officialization of the divorce that would take place on October 9 of that year.

To make matters worse, Stone was trying to judicially limit Elvis' access to Lisa Marie and the singer was living a routine of death threats that culminated in a fight with four men who took the stage in Las Vegas with the intention of, at the very least, injuring him.

All this stress was reflected in his voice, appearance, physical and mental state. In the course of 1973, Elvis lost interest in studio recordings, tours and, above all, extensive stays in Las Vegas.

The Colonel's way of calming his protege's temper a little was to resurrect the 1971 contract with the Sahara Tahoe Hotel and arrange a season there as quickly as possible. Elvis was enthusiastic during most of the May 1973 performances in Lake Tahoe, playing a lot with the audience, mingling with the band and providing everyone with rare and fantastic moments, but that didn't stop him from canceling the last three days of concerts - which were not moved to other dates, as Elvis would not return to Tahoe until the following year.

With all the problems in Elvis' life and career, RCA ended up not being able to find enough quality concerts to release that year. After Aloha, the only official recording of a 1973 concert to be released is this one, exactly 30 years later.

Here, FTD surpasses itself and assumes the position of first label to work with non-Aloha material of that year. Incredibly, this is the third performance that day, included in celebration of Mother's Day, and Elvis sounds fantastic.

 Below is a review of the content available on the CD.

- 1. Also Sprach Zarathustra: As usual, the show's opening is announced with the fanfare.

- 2. See See Rider: 
This is one of the most energetic versions of 1973, if not the most energetic of Elvis' later years. You can see that his voice is strong, without drag or slur, as we heard in many bootlegs of that year. The band is certainly having fun and we can clearly hear James Burton doing his chickin' pickin' with his guitar.

- 3. I Got a Woman / Amen: The medley introduced earlier in the year is well executed, with Elvis playing with the notes. The striptease routine is skipped and the song's ending continues, with Elvis asking JD to redo his famous dive bombs: "You can do better than that!"

- 4. Help Me Make it Throught the Night: "Thank you, good morning!" Skipping "Love Me Tender", Elvis goes straight to the next song. Perhaps this was done intentionally, as it was the third show of the day. Played less slowly than the 1975 versions, this is the closest official recording to the first live versions. Elvis' voice isn't the best at this point and he intentionally adds the line "we don't want to be alone / help me through the night" at the end of the song.

- 5. Steamroller Blues: Things start to heat up and the band sounds like they're really having fun. This version is faster and has a more funk tone and not so much blues, like the Aloha one. Elvis does his best.

- 6. You Gave Me a Mountain: "Thank you. Good morning, ladies and gentlemen!" One of the most profound songs of this performance, it brings with subtlety what Elvis was going through at that moment. Listening to the lines "tired of working for nothing / just tired of being my wife", we hear all the sadness in Elvis' voice.

- 7. Love Me: "I'd like to do a medley of some of my records for you." The song opens with James Burton playing a few different notes that make Elvis respond, "Behave, James." The remark prompts Ronnie Tutt to give the cymbal an additional thump, which makes the singer laugh and say, "Oh, you wanna get funny, huh, Ronnie?" The song goes on as usual, with Elvis handing out scarfs and kisses to the fans.

- 8. Blue Suede Shoes: Obviously Elvis' voice isn't at its peak yet, but he has fun with it. There is a concern to achieve the correct notes and intonations, but still there is time to dedicate to the fans.

- 9. Long Tall Sally / Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On / Mama Don't Dance / Shake, Rattle and Roll / Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On: This medley is different in many ways from what we would hear on the 1974 LP "Elvis as Recorded Live On Stage In Memphis". Performed at a much faster pace than the Aloha version, which only featured "Long Tall Sally" and "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On", this version already incorporates "Mama Don't Dance" and "Shake, Rattle and Roll", in addition to the rare repetition at the end of "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On". Later that year, "Flip, Flop and Fly" and "Jailhouse Rock" would be added to this medley, with "Hound Dog" entering in 1974.

- 10. My Way: After Aloha, Elvis had dropped the song due to his vocal problems. Here it presents itself as the first real challenge of the performance, but the singer does better than expected and the thunderous ending is proof that his voice was slowly returning. There's even a charming moment where Elvis forgets part of the lyrics and hums an entire sentence.

- 11. Hound Dog: A quick and unedited version, but which makes it clear that his voice still required care.

- 12. What Now My Love: Interestingly, Elvis was able to give his all in songs that demanded his voice, like this one, and let his tiredness and sore vocal cords show in those that didn't require much effort and he was already used and tired of singing. The end of this version is a clear demonstration of this nuance.

- 13. Suspicious Minds: Elvis saves himself in this version, singing it in a much less demanding way than we had heard on Aloha. In some parts, Elvis' voice gets weak or he stops singing for one reason or another and we can hear Charlie Hodge making up for it.

- 14. Introductions: Quickly, Elvis introduces JD Sumner and The Stamps, "the young ladies that opened our show toonightThe Sweet Inspirations, "little girl with the beautiful high voice" Kathy Westmoreland, James Burton, John Wilkinson, Ronnie Tutt, Emory Gordy, Jr. (called "Emerson Boozey"), Glen Hardin, Charlie Hodge, "God damned" Joe Guercio and his orchestra.

- 15. I'll Remember You: Elvis' version of this Hawaiian classic reflects showtime and it starts with a word from "Alfie". Elvis' laugh is infectious amid fan interactions and sexual puns made with modifications to the original lyrics, the main one being "well after this / when this long night is over / I'll be horny / lonely, oh so lonely".  A laughing fit ensues. "Well, that's about enough."

- 16. I Can't Stop Loving You: Elvis is still in a good mood. As the fans scream his name, he yells back at them and laughs. Surely the silly hands of the looser fans also had a lot to do with all that laughter. When the song takes place and the seriousness sets in, Elvis' voice sounds like it's perfect in the ending.

- 17. Bridge Over Troubled Water: The song, which had not been performed since June 1972, shows that the concert had reached a point where Elvis was looking to give the follow-up spontaneity. In addition to the great harmony between Glen Hardin's piano and Emory Gordy's bass, Elvis still does a rare rerun of the finale that is marred by tape damage, but doesn't lose its shine.

- 18. Funny How Time Slips Away: "Give me The Impossible Dream. We got The Impossible Dream, Joe?" Guercio answers no. "For the Good Times... In what key do we do that in?" Joe again denies it. With no option, Elvis follows the programmed setlist and delivers more scarves and kisses to the fans. Some fans appear really loose as Elvis laughs at their actions.

- 19.  It's Over: "Ok, The Impossible Dream." Joe Guercio again responds that the orchestra does not have the scores. "It's Over, let's do It's Over." Performed here in a milder tone than in Aloha, it's a pleasant version.

- 20. Release Me: Elvis jumps right into the song on a very high note, having to restart it. "God damned, that's high!" Noting that he couldn't hit the required notes, the song is aborted: "Stop! Stop! Let's do Faded Love."

- 21. Faded Love: The rendition of the rare song is quite fast and fun, with Glen Hardin and the orchestra participating a lot. Elvis complains that they are "too fast" at first, and when the speed is readjusted, he says they are "too slow". Laughter flows freely.

- 22. Can't Help Falling In Love / Closing Vamp: 
"I'd like to sing a song from Blue Hawaii." At four in the morning, with dawn on the horizon, it's time to wrap up the performance.


- 23 I'm Leavin' (May 13, 1973 MS): The CD's two bonus tracks come from the midnight show on the same day. What we have here is a simply delicious version of the song that has been part of the performances sporadically since 1971.

- 24. A Big Hunk O' Love
 (May 13, 1973 MS): Despite not bringing news, it is a very explosive version.

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