Gotta Find My Baby!

September 28, 2022

September 27 & 28, 1974 - Total Chaos! [Chaos in College Park (CD - SA, 2006) / Recorded Live in College Park (CD - ECF, 2013)]

Elvis and police officers in College ParkMaryland; September 28, 1974

From humble beginnings in 1954, making success in only a few cities in the South US, to returning to the media after serving the Army for two years in Germany and returning to the stage permanently in 1969 in Las Vegas, until his final destination in 1977, Elvis Aaron Presley had 23 years of uninterrupted work, went through hundreds of cities and played 1794 sold-out concerts.

But things weren't always so good. Since gaining notoriety, Elvis has been the victim of slander, gossip, extortion attempts, death threats and all kinds of things. The singer was fine with this little nuisance of being a star, but with the end of his marriage and the whole acceptance process before, during and afterhis divorce on October 9, 1973, it wasn't always possible to see him not care about some gossip about his life circumstances or his alleged drug use.

In 1974, Elvis went on tour and surprised countless times with amazing shows. Several import and FTD albums covered the year from the March tour to the Tahoe and Vegas engagements, to the September 27 - October 9 tour and the last eight conerts that year, from October 11 to 14.

During the final season of the year in Vegas, a turning point began that would affect Elvis for the rest of his life. He had apparently planned a revival similar to 1970's "That's the Way it Is", with a different setlist to open his shows from August 19, 1974, mixing songs from the 1972 set, some songs from current albums that he never had sung before and his personal favorites. This included opening with "Big Boss Man" and singing "Down in the Alley" and "Good Time Charlie's Got the Blues".

Most fans assumed the Vegas crowd didn't like the changes, as Elvis would return to his usual setlist, opening with "See See Rider" and "I Got A Woman/Amen" the next day.

In hindsight, even though the changes had been accepted, Elvis still had his personal problems and drug abuse, and his behavior was already becoming erratic. The Las Vegas season was a success, but the singer was affected by a lot of aggression towards the end of it.

On September 2, 1974, Elvis performed his last show of that season and the songs were performed properly, but the key points were the odd rambling dialogue on different subjects that included karate, Bill Cosby, Priscilla and Mike Stone, Sheila Ryan, his liver biopsy and his diamond rings. The most infamous drug dialogue of all time took place that day, one of the few times the King of Rock openly denied using drugs and delivered a tirade against "movie magazines".

The show known to fans as "Desert Storm" would have been proof enough that he needed help, but the singer was due to start another tour in three weeks and no one knew what would happen or if the stress and drug abuse would finally lead him to his limit.

Elvis wearing the rare Turquoise Phoenix jumpsuit; August 20, 1974 MS

September 27, 1974 was the opening night of his fall tour and it started in College Park, Maryland. He would play two shows on two different nights, and for years there were rumors that both were the worst Elvis had ever played up to that point.

Stein Eric Skar of "Elvis: The Concert Years 1969-1977" recounted Elvis arriving at College Park's parking lot and simply falling out of the car: "Lying on the floor, he refused anyone's help, and from then on he struggled to get to the stage."

This concert can be heard in its entirety today thanks to Straight Arrow.


Chaos in College Park
Straight Arrow [SA 2006 4-02]
Number of tracks:
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Type of album:
Linked to:
Unofficial discography
September 27, 1974

Chaos in College Park is a Straight Arrow CD released in 2006. It contains the infamous September 27, 1974 concert in College Park, Maryland, in which sources have claimed for years that Elvis was totally out of his mind.

Below is a review of the performance.

- 1. Also Sprach Zarathustra: The fanfare anvounces the start of the show and the audience goes into ecstasy.

- 2. See See Rider: According to Geoff The Chef in the album jacket, "Elvis was visibly struggling as he entered the stage... Right from the get-go, the musicians on stage noticed that something was wrong. Elvis' vocals were weak and lackluster, and his delivery lacked focus and power." The singer does sound out of tune at times and this isn't even close to a good version of the classic, as the band completely screws the tempo at the end, but the audience cheers loudly. There's a weariness in the King of Rock's voice, but it certainly doesn't sound all bad.

- 3. I Got a Woman / Amen: Washington Post critic Larry Rohter noted that the Cole Field House had "horrendous acoustics" and that perhaps a small majority of people did not even hear Elvis during the opening. Elvis, not quite out of it as he seemed, notices this and asks the audience if the band was too loud on stage; receiving a thunderous yes as answer, he asks his sound engineer to turn down the volume of the band and backing vocals and turn up his microphone. After interacting with fans and begging them to give him a chance to sing, the rendition begins.

Elvis' voice really sounds weak here and the band isn't cohesive in many parts, but they make it to the end with good results. After doing his "striptease" routine, which was greeted with awkwardness by the audience, he asks JD to perform his famous dive bomb. The singer seems to lose track of time while talking to his fans, and only returns to the song and its completion almost two minutes later. From start to finish, the rendition is so long that it surpasses those of 1977: 9 minutes and 40 seconds.

- 4. Love Me: "Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Wayne Newton!" This was a song that Elvis always used to give hugs, kisses and scarves to his fans, being quite a throwaway, but even so, the singer sounds unfocused and with a weak voice. Maybe the stress and tiredness were really getting to him.

- 5. If You Love Me (Let Me Know): This is perhaps the first song that Elvis really focuses on, despite his voice easily drowned out by the backing vocals.

- 6. It's Midnight: "This next song is a new record that I have coming out next Tuesday, I hope you like it.There seems to be a significant improvement in Elvis' voice and performance here. The backing vocals are back below the singer and despite a slight drag in his voice, the King of Rock seems to be waking up for the show.

- 7. Big Boss Man: A fan asks for 'Jailhouse Rock' and Elvis seems to get annoyed: "I don't know 'Jailhouse Rock', it was a long... No, I was only thirteen when I did it! No, we got a lot of the old ones, 'Don't Be Cruel... 'Johnny B. Goode', 'Love Me Tender'; but we don't have 'Jailhouse Rock' because we never rehearsed it." Elvis' voice is missing again and he doesn't even seem to be singing during the choruses, but the version is good.

- 8. Fever: A fan tries to get Elvis' ring and he retorts: "No, no, honey. It's the last one I got, last one I got. Tell you, I'll do... I'll give you the scarf, okay?" As the band plays the beginning of the song, the singer continues to talk to fans and makes somewhat nonsensical notes: "I can't give you a kiss without my pants, they'll put me in jail!" Then he talks about the band-aid in his hand: "For those of you that may be able to see this band-aid in my hand, I just got through working in Las Vegas and, you know, you're out there shaking hands of people and kissing and all that. Some girl scratched the daylights out of me, man, I... But she didn't mean to, she just reached out and touched me, but she had fingernails like claws... And so it got infected, and I've had eighteen doctors and they can do nothing. So, anyway... I tried to cover it up, there's like a hole."

When the song finally starts, after 2 minutes of intro, the version is a throwaway as usual. Elvis makes so many puns and inserts so many ad-libs into the lyrics that he ends up losing his tempo several times.

- 9. Love Me Tender: After talking to the audience about the films he made "in order" (but citing all out of order, inserting a "Return to Sender" before "King Creole", titling "Wild in the Country" as "Wild Wide Country" and "Follow That Dream" as "Lost That Dream"), Elvis enters the rendition. Fans scream in desperation as he approaches them. He really screws the tempo and lyrics near the awkward ending with high notes out of tune.

-10. Hound Dog: "Who put this rope on stage? They think I'll hang myself? My own group put a rope in hopes I'll hang myself!" Elvis threatens to start the song several times to test his band and laughs every time they get it wrong. When the version actually comes out, it's a mere 80 seconds long and a throwaway.

- 11. Bridge Over Troubled Water: At this point, it is no longer possible to know what to expect from Elvis. His rendition is great until halfway through the song, but from the moment he asks the band to slow down, the correct tempo is lost forever.

- 12. Polk Salad Annie: Elvis tries to do as much as he can with the song, but it sounds almost exactly like the 1977 versions, with a lack of air in several parts and a less-than-spectacular ending.

- 13. Introductions: Elvis introduces "the group I call Voice" and then adds: "I call them a lot of things, but I can't repeat it in front of the kids." Hearing effusive applause after introducing The Sweet Inspirations, he comments: "No, not too much, not too much. They'll start to ask for a damn raise!" After asking comedian Jackie Kahane to stand up for everyone to see him, Elvis snaps: "He's not funny, but at least he kills some time." When introducing JD Sumner and The Stamps Quartet, the singer has trouble remembering the members' names. Kathy Westmoreland also gets a lot of applause, to which Elvis replies: "She's not that good."

- 14. Lead Guitar Solo: James Burton does a little improv. Elvis only introduces John Wilkinson.

- 15. Drum Solo: Ronnie Tutt demonstrates his technique.

- 16. Bass Solo: Amazingly, Elvis doesn't make any negative comments about Duke, as usual, and lets him do his solo.

- 17. Piano Solo: Before Glen Hardin's solo, Elvis decides to tell a story: "I have to tell you something about him... This guy can drink more than anybody in the world, and yet... He can drink seven fills and the next day he's just as sober as a judge, he ain't got a hangover, nothing. I can tell you that I can say 'Glen, I want an arrangement for a forty piece orchestra'... 'Okay, you got it!' The next day he will have it!Next, Joe Guercio and the Joe Guercio Orchestra are introduced.

- 18. Killing Me Softly: Elvis invites Voice to perform the song that had been Roberta Flack's biggest hit in 1973. In addition to promoting the group that the singer had assembled and managed indirectly, this section of the show became common from 1974 onwards and served to let him catch his breath.

- 19. Why Me Lord: "I'd like to ask JD and The Stamps to sing one of my favorite songs.There's an adoring silence as JD's powerful voice echoes through the venue. Elvis seems more attentive here, singing well and being heard over the instruments and backing vocals. He jokes around during JD's solos to try to make him laugh and succeeds at times, but it doesn't get in his way too much.

- 20. All Shook Up: Perhaps the fastest version of all, it lasts 50 seconds and makes it seem like both the orchestra, band and backing vocals are struggling to keep up. Elvis manages to stay with them and the difference in his behavior and disposition from now on is visible, although the show is already in its final stretch.

- 21. Teddy Bear / Don''t Be Cruel: Elvis' voice is fine, but as usual, this is a throwaway version, just used so he can hand out more scarves and kisses.

- 22. Hawaiian Wedding Song: After talking to the fans for a while, Elvis says: "Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to ask you a question here. How many people saw that movie, 'Blue Hawaii'? The most requested song of that movie was 'Hawaiian Wedding Song'." He does a middling version of the closing song from the 1961 movie "Blue Hawaii," and the audience doesn't seem to be too excited about it. The screams for kisses and scarves are very present during the rendition.

- 23. How Great Thou Art: "Excuse me, I got to tell you something. My time is up on stage. Sorry, but it's the rule." Desperate fans ask for every song possible, but Elvis has another idea: "I'd like to sing a song that... It's a Gospel song and it's really the only one that fits the time we have." The rendition is basic, with aird of the bests of 1974, but with less presence of Elvis in the vocals. When he tries very high notes, his voice immediately goes out of tune.

- 24. Can't Help Falling in Love: "I can tell you something, in all sincerity. If all the audiences were like you, I would sing my guts out for you!" The song that closes the show is yet another opportunity for fans to receive kisses and scarves. Even knowing that his voice was a little damaged, Elvis tries to do high and different notes, which ends up getting a little weird.

- 25. Closing Vamp: The fanfare announces the end of the show and the fans go wild. There is widespread and deafening screaming as Elvis tries to attend to the crowd for the last time. He spends two and a half minutes on stage, a record time for his endings. At the end, Ed Enoch makes the standard announcement: "Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis has left the building."

Elvis and Felton Jarvis at MemphisMid-South Coliseum; March 16, 1974

Certainly, the September 27, 1974 performance in College Park was not the best of them all, but it is far from "Elvis' worst tragedy" that has been chronicled for years. On simple analysis, unfortunately there are shows from 1976 and 1977 that are much worse.

However, this presentation, as well as those on September 2, showed that Elvis had already begun to navigate the drug abuse spiral of the following years. His tantrums, aimless speeches, irritation with fans and technical problems on stage were clear indications of his severe depression and addiction. Of course, the impositions from the Colonel and RCA for keeping the same tiresome songs in the repertoire of the shows and for new studio material helped a lot to leave him in a state that only he could know what it was like.

The chaos in Elvis' mind and behavior continued the following night, at the second and final show of his career at College Park. Anyone looking for evidence that his denials of drug abuse were hollow need look no further than the concert on September 28, 1974, possibly the lowest point of that period.

As out of focus as the worst concert of 1977 - but with the added problem of an acidic tongue creeping into his mood - this 80-minute long concert proves the old adage that bigger isn't necessarily better.


Elvis as Recorded Live in College Park
Elvis Concert Fan [002]
Double CD
Number of tracks:
Running time:
Type of album:
Linked to:
Unofficial discography
September 28, 1974

Elvis as Recorded Live in College Park is an Elvis Concert Fan CD released in 2013. It features the full concert from September 28, 1974 in College Park, Maryland, the day after the infamous "Chaos in College Park" concert.

Below is a review of the concert.

- 1. See See Rider: As usual on soundboards of the time, "Also Sprach Zarathustra" was not recorded. The show starts with Elvis on stage. The singer's voice appears to be in the same condition as the day before, exhibiting a more noticeable drag in the speech pattern. The King of Rock even tries to do some vocal flair during the rendition, but it's obvious that he has a hard time keeping up with the rhythm and not getting out of tune.

- 2. Dialogue: The nonense bit of the night starts right in the beginning of the show: "Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you. You are a fantastic audience, I can tell you right away. Thank you. I've played before many a people, many a person, many an audience, whatever. But you're fantastic, really.After asking "the voice of God" (JD Sumner) to tell the audience how much he appreciates them, the singer proceeds to argue with a fan who screams for his attention.: "Honey, honey, honey, honey... Oh, honey! Honey, if you give me A chance, I will make the rounds. I will turn completely around... I will turn around, I will go to every section of this big a... This big, big, big building."

When it looks like Elvis is about to return to the show and starts the "well, well, well..." routine, he again stops to address the audience: "You see, you see, folks, I love what I'm gonna do. I love show bin-ness, bin-ness.. business. No, I do, man, I dig it, see? A lot of people go out there and they breeze through it... 'Well, I gotta work tonight'... Not me! Hot damn, I love it! I ain't kidding!" Whatever he meant by that goes unnoticed by everyone.

- 3. I Got a Woman / Amen: It took five minutes of nonsensical stuff for him to start singing, but not before doing some totally disconnected harmonies. The song itself is well executed, but Elvis singing low and almost out of rhythm. JD performs his famous dive bomb and nearly blows out the speakers, in addition to generating feedback that would become the target of Elvis' criticism and acidic humor: "What's that feedback, Felton? I've got the best sound engineers in the world and I get all humming sounds, you know, ye ye ye ye. What is that feedback, son? You either do that or I'll take your kidney away from ya!" (referring to the fact that he paid for his producer Felton Jarvis' kidney transplant)

- 4. Dialogue: "Good evening. You think I'm Elvis Presley, I'm Wayne Newton, see? You went to the wrong place." The audience just keeps on making song requests. "We're going to try to do every songs that we can to make you happy. We're going to do old ones, new ones, middle-aged ones, you know, whatever. But we are, really. But don't throw up requests at us, because we're gonna get to 'em anyway, just.. You know, I'm gonna be up on stage approximately an hour and twenty minutes, so... I am going to sing my, uh... Whatever off."

- 5. Love Me: Between hugs, kisses and scarves for his fans, the song is a throwaway, as usual.

- 6. If You Love Me (Let Me Know): Although it's a good version, you can clearly hear the tiredness in Elvis' voice and the vocals of JD and Sherill Nielsen are very loud in the mix.

- 7. It's Midnight: "This next song is a new song that we have coming out soon, in the next couple of weeks. I hope you like it, it's brand new." Like last night, it seems Elvis' voice and performance have started to wake up. Aside from a few ad-libs and observations during the rendition, it's the best on the show so far.

- 8. Big Boss Man: Elvis misses some parts and Duke Bardwell's bass sounds a little loud, but the version is good.

- 9. Fever: "This is one of my sexy songs, I gotta get it right. Hope I don't fall off the stage, I know you guys can catch me. I fall off, you guys put me back on the stage." As he tries to hit the steps to the music, he asks his legs to "wake up and do it right!". The version is a throwaway as usual.

- 10. Elvis Dialogue: "I'd like to say something right here. Those of you who saw the morning paper- evening paper, whatever it was, they gave me a, they gave us a fantastic write up. No, they did. Except they said I had a paunch here. I wanna tell you something - I got their damned paunch! I wore a bulletproof vest on stage! True. You know, in case some fool decides to take a 22 and blow my a... belly button off. That's the truth. I got his paunch! Son of a bitch!The audience screams and applauds effusively.

Between one rambling dialogue and the next, Elvis receives gifts from fans for the next three minutes, until one makes him angry: "If you don't leave me alone I'm going to walk off the stage and go back to the dressing room and play with my foot."

"I wanna tell you something, ladies and gentlemen. You may or may not know, but I practice the art of karate." Elvis develops a quick explanation of the order and color of the belts, which no one seems to want to know, and tells how he broke his finger in training.

- 11. Love Me Tender: After talking to the audience for six minutes, Elvis enters the song. Fans scream desperately for a kiss, hug or scarf.

-12. Hound Dog: "Oh, I dread this, dude. I dread this, dude! This next song, I dread it with a passion!" Elvis makes a fuss of his voice during the rendition and puns to call someone "white trash".

- 13. Band Introductions: Elvis introduces "the fellows that opened out show tonight, shouldn't have", Voice; "the young ladies that was second on the show tonight, they think they're great", The Sweet Inspirations; "the gentlemen behind them, that's where they belong," JD Sumner and The Stamps Quartet; and Kathy Westmoreland.

- 14. Guitar Solo: James Burton does a little improv. Elvis doesn't introducee John Wilkinson.

- 15. Drum Solo: Ronnie Tutt demonstrates his technique again.

- 16. Bass Solo: Amazingly, Elvis encourages Duke instead of criticizing him as usual.

- 17. Piano Solo: Glen Hardin improvises and is then instructed by Elvis to play whatever he wants by changing the tempo.

- 18. Band Introductions:  Next, Joe Guercio and the Joe Guercio Orchestra are introduced.

- 19. Blue Christmas: "Let me tell one thing, ladies and gentlemen, before we go any further. I carry my own... [a fan asks for 'Blue Christmas'] Blue Christmas? Do you want to hear it?" His initial reasoning aside, Elvis complies with the request. For an improv, it sounds great and is definitely the best rendition of the night.

- 20. All Shook Up: Another throwaway, it is performed as usual between kisses and scarves for fans.

- 21. Teddy Bear / Don''t Be Cruel: Interaction with the audience follows in another throwaway rendition.

- 22. Tryin' to Get to You: "I tell you what I'm gonna try to do. I'm going to try to do one of the first records I ever recorded, and this is a haaaard dude to sing... [a fan asks for 'Jailhouse Rock'] Son, I don't know 'Jailhouse Rock', I swear to God.... I really- I know it, but we have never rehearsed 'Jailhouse Rock', we've done others- all the others... My band-aid is coming off, wait a minute." The rendition doesn't match others of the period and both Elvis and the band are lost in the end.

- 23. Dialogue: Elvis explains what the Voice group is and invites them to sing.

- 24. Killing Me Softly: This section of the show became common from 1974 onwards and served to help Elvis catch his breath. The song only lasts 40 seconds.

- 25. When it's My Time: The Stamps are invited into the spotlight. Bill Baise's off-key effort at the end - which Elvis asks him to repeat! - at least proves that the singer wasn't the only one with vocal problems that night.

- 26. Heartbreak Hotel: Elvis doesn't seem to get along with the music and forgets the lyrics. There's not much to complain about, as it's just another throwaway.

- 27. Let Me Be There: An average version, but that redeems the singer from all the chaos of the last 15 minutes.

- 28. How Great Thou Art: "I'd like to sing a song, it was a Gospel song that we did about 1966, and I got to tell you a little story first... [A fan asks for 'Burning Love'] Honey, I don't know 'Burning Love' either." Elvis praises Ed Enoch and calls him the guy who "sings this song better than anybody in the world" before saying he "shall attempt to blow him off the stage" with his rendition. The version is basic and Elvis does a few different harmonies, but immediately goes out of tune when he tries the high notes.

- 29. Hawaiian Wedding Song: "How many of you people saw that movie 'Blue Hawaii'? Okay, the reason I ask, probably the most requested song in it was the 'Hawaiian Wedding Song'." Before starting his rendition, Elvis drinks his Gatorade and his voice starts to sound perfect during the interpretation. This is definitely the best song of the night.

- 30. Blue Suede Shoes: "Let me just say something. I've been on about an hour and twenty minutes and... 'Blue Suede Shoes'? Which one do you want to hear, 'Blue Suede Shoes' or 'Talk in Your Sleep'?" Unfortunately, the audience opts for the tired classic and Elvis does a quick, average performance.

- 31. Dialogue: "Let me say something for a moment, please. For an audience like this, I will sing my can off, jack! In fact, I have! You're a fantastic audience. I'd like to pass on a little bit of information for you, to you: Things that are written in movie magazines about me are trash! Rumors that you hear about me are trash. I am an eighth degree black belt in karate, I am a federal narcotics agent... I am, I swear to God! You know, they gonna- you can do whatever you gonna do and they ain't seeing what I am. They don't give you that if you're strung out or if you done that ye ye ye ye ye... No, no, no, man. No, no, no, no. On the contrary, I have to be straight as an arrow, because I'm around people all the time, I don't like to get out of it. Either way, I don't drink booze, I don't take- listen... No, no, no, wait a minute! By God, don't say 'booze', son, I'll whoop yer ass! I mean... Don't say 'boo' to me when I tell you that, 'cause I'm telling you the God's truth. And, that's not to cover anything, it's just to tell you the truth about the matter. You can take my word or you can take the goddamned movie magazines', you know." After the outburst, Elvis talks a little with fans and assures that his shows are always the best possible because he only admits the best.

- 32. Can't Help Falling in Love: When Elvis' voice finally sounds solid, the song announces the end of the performance. The version is average, with the singer more concerned with handing out scarves and kisses than singing.

- 33. Closing Vamp: The fanfare announces the end of the performance.

- 34. Announcements: Ed Enoch makes the standard announcement: "Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis has left the building."


- 35. Lawdy Miss Clawdy: The last seven songs are extras from October 6, 1974. This one is from the 2:30 pm show in Dayton, Ohio.

- 36. Why Me Lord: Version of October 6, 1974, 2:30 pm.

- 37. Promised Land: Version of October 6, 1974, 2:30 pm.

-38. You Gave Me a Mountain: Version of October 6, 1974, 2:30 pm.

- 39. Johnny B. Goode: Version of October 6, 1974, 8:30 pm.

- 40. The Wonder of You: Version of October 6, 1974, 8:30 pm.

- 41. That's All Right: Version of October 6, 1974, 8:30 pm.


Original content: Elvis Presley Index and Elvis Concerts [partial] (link 1; link 2)
Photos: Google
Research and structuring: Elvis Presley Index |
>> the re-availability of this post is only allowed if the credits are kept and without edits.<<


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