Gotta Find My Baby!

September 30, 2022

Dragonheart (CD - FTD, 2003)

FTD [FTD 026] [82876 53366 2]
Number of tracks:
Running time:
Type of album:
Linked to:
FTD discography
October 1, 1974
July 2003

Dragonheart is the twenty-sixth FTD CD. It contains the complete show from October 1, 1974 in South Bend, Indiana, fully remastered and 3 other bonus from shows of the period. The CD is currently out of print at the label.

There's no doubt that Elvis was going through a rough patch at the start of 1974's fourth national tour, which would also mark a year since his divorce became official.

The band and the audience noticed a drastic difference: the enthusiasm had ceased to exist and a mentality of constant irritation had emerged.

No wonder the shows at the beginning of that tour, from September 27th to 29th, became known as "Elvis' worst", with the one on the 27th being titled "Chaos in College Park".

On the occasion, John Wilkinson would later say: "He was slurring. It was obvious there was something terribly wrong with his body. It was so bad the words to the songs were barely intelligible. College Park let us know that they wouldn't have him back. We were in a state of shock. Joe Guercio said, 'He's finished..', I remember crying."

Fortunately, Elvis recovered enough after a much less troubled show on September 29 in Detroit, and left renewed for South Bend, where he would perform for the next two days.

His mental state on October 1 was clearly better than that seen days before and Elvis was more excited, propelling the band with his voice rather than being a helpless hostage to it (such a frightening lack of defense would recur in 1977). His indelible mark, his voice, seemed to falter at times, but he tried to correct small mistakes by playing vocal pranks on the notes and, when he felt more tired, stopping to chat with the audience and crack a few jokes.

At this point in his career, Elvis was already terribly tired of the 2,200-per-show crowd at the Hilton Hotel in Las Vegas, and working to entertain those 12,301 paying guests in South Bend was a more than welcome challenge.

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


- 1. See See Rider: As usual, at that time RCA no longer recorded the opening with "Also Sprach Zarathustra" and the tape already starts at the entrance of the song. Elvis is in charge. Ronnie Tutt hastily tries to keep up with him and the singer notices, asking him to wait for his cues. After the song, Elvis still sounds dry like he did in College Park, but he's obviously joking.

"If you give me a little time I will make the rounds, see? I'll be back there, up there and over there and on, uh, and whoa, whoa, whoa, up on the ceiling and wherever I can go. But don't start yelling songs at me, be- [a fan asks for a song] ... Hey, shut up, man! C'mon!" The audience sounds genuinely entertained.

- 2. I Got a Woman / Amen: The medley introduced the year before is well executed, although Elvis sounds shaky at times. The striptease routine brings a reference to his friend Tom Jones and his well-known wiggle: "See? Tom Jones wishes, man!" The song's ending continues, with Elvis asking JD to redo his famous dive bomb and joking: "Twenty years down the drain..."

- 3. Love Me: "Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Good evening, everybody around that circle behind me. Please excuse my back side, because I do have to turn around. Those binoculars- binoculars look like frogs! How many does this thing hold? How many people does this building hold? [JD answers 12.500] 12.500! I ain't asking your age, JD!"

Before getting into the song and doing the normal rendition, with scarves and kisses, Elvis still has one more acid remark for the request of a girl who is in the balcony and wants a scarf: "Honey, I can't throw it up there now. Girl up in the balcony yelling 'throw me a scarf!'... All I have to do is put it in a baseball, I'll probably hit some old grandmother... Be in the paper tomorrow 'Elvis knocks some grandmother, er... uh, granny!' I can't do that."

- 4. Blue Suede Shoes: The handing out of tissues and kisses continues, with Elvis laughing and enjoying the fan reactions. A somewhat rare song for the period, it is performed faster and more enthusiastically than the previous one.

- 5. It's Midnight: New to the setlist, the song is refreshing and Elvis sounds heartfelt in his rendition, adding a soul-shattering "oh Lord, God, I miss you!" at the end.

- 6. Big Boss Man: The song that had been introduced to the repertoire and used as an opening on August 19 of that year in Las Vegas is performed with ease by Elvis.

- 7. Fever: "You are a good audience, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you.Present in the repertoire since the beginning of 1973, it is the moment when Elvis is most free to make some jokes and observations. "Oh, you grab the wrong thing and I'm in trouble, boy! I'mma limp off stage and disappear!", the singer says after a fan tries to grab a tissue as he crouches on the edge of the stage.

-8. Love Me Tender: "My first movie was 'Love Me Tender', so I'd to do a little bit of that for you.Although Elvis always declared himself tired of the song in his later years, he does a good job here and pays special attention to the classic. The flashes that explode in his face make him sing sarcastically, "I'll be yours throughout the years / till we all go blind". Even amidst the ruckus of fans screaming for scarves, Elvis has time to criticize bassist Duke Bardwell, with whom he didn't get along very well for unknown reasons: "Duke, you're out of key."

- 9. Hound Dog: After showing off his vocal prowess, Elvis launches into a very fast and heavy version of the 1956 classic. In a minute and twenty seconds, it's all over.

- 10. Heartbreak Hotel: "I know so many songs, folks, it just takes a little time, I can't do 'em all at once... I'll split my tongue." A fan makes an indecent proposal, to which Elvis responds: "You're very kind, sweetheart, but you oughtta see it from my side." The song itself is performed in the usual way.

- 11. If You Love Me (Let Me Know): After Charlie announces it's time to introduce the band, Elvis changes his mind: "No, let's do 'If You Love Me, Let Me Go'." The version is the standard for the time.

- 12. Bridge Over Troubled Water: "We hope we can do a good version of 'Bridge Over Troubled Water'." Elvis takes advantage of the song to demonstrate his power and vocal skill in a version much better than those heard in previous days.

- 13. Introductions: Among complaints about the sound system, Elvis introduces the group Voice, The Sweet Inspirations, JD Sumner and The Stamps, Kathy Westmoreland, James Burton (touted as "one of the fuckiest guitar players in the world"), Ronnie Tutt and Duke Bardwell.

- 14. Lawdy Miss Clawdy: Continuing the performances, Elvis asks Glen Hardin to play the song recorded in 1957. The version is quite different from what we would get used to occasionally hearing in the following years, with a lot of orchestra participation.

- 15. Introductions: The band introductions ends with Charlie Hodge, John Wilkinson, Joe Guercio and his orchestra.

- 16. All Shook Up: A quick rendition of another of the songs Elvis was already tired of performing restarts the cycle of scarves and kisses.

- 17. Teddy Bear / Don't Be Cruel: Nothing new, the medley continues the interaction with fans. Originally, Elvis asks Voice to sing a quick version of "Killing Me Softly" next, but FTD decided to cut it from this release.

- 18. Let Me Be There: "Oh Lord, God, here we go!" Elvis performs the song with enthusiasm, using all his vocal technique and repeating the last stanza to the delight of the audience.

- 19.  It's Now or Never: "One of my biggest selling records was 'It's Now or Never'." Performed here in a milder tone and still without the participation of Sherril Nielsen at the beginning (this interaction would start the following year), it is a pleasant change in the repertoire.

- 20. You Gave Me a Mountain: "This Time You Gave Me a Mountain!", announces Elvis. Again using his vocal techniques, Elvis renders the song present in the repertoire since 1972 very seriously and reciting some parts that make it clear how his state of mind was at the time.

- 21. Johnny B. Goode: 
A classic played since 1969, it gets a more rock 'n' roll treatment here. It's Elvis' turn to vent and try to keep up with the speed of the song.

As many seemed to question the fact that Elvis was wearing band-aids on his hands, he decided to explain: "I worked Las Vegas about a month ago. You know, I go along and I shake hands with people... Some girl just accidentally scratched the daylights out of my hand. So the next night, somebody scratched the same place. This happened for three nights in a row, so its got infected. And, I went back to Memphis and I filmed this karate stuff, you know, for a month, and there's a hole in my hand, you wouldn't believe it. I showed it to them, I won't show it to you. So, anyway, the tape is on the ring finger to keep from coming off."

Then Elvis starts talking about his rings, ending the explanation with the then famous phrase: "The reason I'm telling you about this, ladies and gentlemen, is because you bought 'em for me!"

- 22. Hawaiian Wedding Song: "How many of you people saw the movie 'Blue Hawaii'? Probably the most requested song in that show was the 'Hawaiian Wedding Song'." A calm version that makes it clear that Elvis is getting tired by the flaws in his voice brings another kiss and scarf distribution session, as well as photo opportunities.

- 23 Steamroller Blues: As Elvis says goodbye, a fan shouts the song's title and the singer promptly answers: "Do you want to hear 'Steamroller'? Hot damn, we'll lay it on you!" A rarity in this period of 1974, it is rendered with a very funk-driven beat and with Elvis taking the opportunity once again to show his vocal skills.

- 24. Can't Help Falling In Love: "Thank you. You're beautiful! God bless you, ladies and gentlemen. Take it home!" The song heralds the inevitable as Elvis has one last opportunity to interact with the audience: the show is over.

- 25. Closing Vamp: The closing fanfare goes on as usual, but with the brass sounding higher in the mix. Ed Enoch makes the standard announcement: "Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis has left the building."


- 26. Alright, Okay, You Win (September 29, 1974): On September 29, 1974 Elvis was in Detroit, Michigan for a more focused show after two days in College Park. A rarity that had only been heard in rehearsals before is brought here. Performed only on this occasion, it ended up being abandoned and never included in the setlist. What we hear here is only part of the rendition, as the tape of it was quite compromised.

- 27. Blue Christmas (September 28, 1974): The last two songs on the album are bonus tracks from September 28, 1974 in College Park, Michigan. One of the big clues that Elvis was psychologically lost in those days is the fact that he starts dialogues but doesn't finish them, leaving people wanting to know the ending. That's what happens here before the singer decides to rush into the rendition of the Christmas classic.

- 28. Trying to Get to You (September 28, 1974): "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.". Obviously Elvis didn't want to perform it that day, but he wasn't lying because the song had only been performed 13 times between January and March of that year. The rendition itself is a bit sloppy, but Elvis still tries to get something out of the classic.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for your comment!

REMEMBER: We will not post messages with any kind of offense and/or profanity.