Gotta Find My Baby!

October 07, 2022

St. Paul to Wichita - October '74 (CD - FTD, 2019)

Title:
St. Paul to Wichita - October '74
Label:
FTD [FTD 179] [506020 975136]
Format:
Double CD
Number of tracks:
46
Running time:
128:00
Type of album:
Concert
Linked to:
FTD discography
Year:
2019
Recorded:
October 3, 4 & 7, 1974
Released:
January 30, 2019
Singles:
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St. Paul to Wichita - October '74 is the one hundred and seventy-ninth FTD CD. It brings us the October 3, 1974 partial show in St. Paul, Minnesota, and the full performance on the 7th of the same month and year in Wichita, Kansas, as well as excerpts from the concert on the 4th in Detroit, Michigan.


Although Elvis performed some memorable shows in early 1974, the September / October tour of that year was not one of his best, with highlights sparsely scattered throughout the concerts. The famous College Park performance was during this tour, but by October 3, it was clear that Elvis was awake and having a good time.

Elvis's 1974 summer season in Las Vegas, a rollercoaster of emotional performances, ended with the infamous "Desert Storm". Just 3 weeks later, Elvis was back on his fourth tour of the year and the start was undoubtedly one of the low points of his career. His opening show in College Park (September 27) is often considered his worst performance ever!

Fortunately Elvis seemed to pull himself together and a few days later returned to his usual mischievous mood, laughing and teasing the crowd. Elvis' concert in South Bend on October 1 (released by FTD in 2003 as "Dragonheart") was better than expected, although it was notable that Elvis struggled a bit, as his voice still wavered at times.

This FTD release focuses on the same tour, which ran from September 27 to October 9, 1974. With "Dragonheart" and the two Dayton performances on October 6 that were largely sold on bootlegs, we now have a more satisfying picture of the period. And the best: With two brand new soundboards with excellent sound quality.

The booklet that comes with the CD unfortunately doesn't contain much information and photos, which is a real shame as the cover and back cover photos were beautifully crafted and colored. Contrary to what the back cover says, the show on CD 1 is not the October 2nd one, but the October 3rd, having been wrongly dated when it was recorded.

Below is our review of this work.
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CD 1 - ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA - OCTOBER 3, 1974

- 1. See See Rider: Opening immediately with the intro music from 1971 and sounding excellent, plus heavy brass and compact percussion, this is a good version and Elvis really attacks the music. This is a different King of Rock than the one sedated in College Park a few days earlier. You can hear him complain about the height of the microphone stand during the rendition: "What do you think, I'm a midget?!"

- 2. I Got a Woman / Amen: The "well, well, well..." routine begins with Elvis making bass notes and JD Sumner responding with some snoring sounds. Elvis' performance is full of energy, working well with Ronnie Tutt and the band. He again complains about the microphone, asking who left it like that. After "Amen", JD performs his famous dive bombs and manages to sound like a plane landing and rattle the speakers.

- 3. Love Me: "Thank you very much. Good evening. My name is Wayne Newton. I hope you have good time this afternoon." A routine version, but with a large audience participation giving us the feeling of being among the more than 17 thousand people.

- 4. Blue Suede Shoes: As the song starts, Elvis interrupts it: "Wait a minute. I can't sing with water in my mouth; I just cant'd do it, I've tried. With crackers, yeah, but not with water.'' However, once started, it's a standard version for 1974.

- 5. Until it's Time For You to Go: A song that Elvis rarely played after 1972 is a surprise (and the only known version performed on this tour). The rendition is average and with some improvised puns, but features a good  vocal by Kathy Westmoreland at the end.

- 6. Big Boss Man: This is a great version with an excellent audio mix. Elvis really digs into the music, being one of the best soundboard versions we have.

- 7. Fever: '''Steamroller'? Okay, I'll do it later.Unfortunately, if he sang it that day, the tape ends before we start listening to it. Before singing, Elvis further remarks, "It's a high stage, man! That's what I do for a finale, I just dive on one of those bushes there." After the extended intro, the rendition has funny puns, but Elvis is just working the crowd - and for the applause afterwards, obviously, that was well appreciated.

- 8. If You Love Me (Let Me Know): It's not everyone's favorite in the audience, but it's a very good version indeed, with excellent audio and good interaction with the band.

- 9. Love Me Tender: "My first movie was 'Love Me Tender', so I'd like to sing a little bit of that for you." Passable, since, as usual, as it's a part of the performances where Elvis is focused on distributing as many scarves and kisses as possible.

- 10. Hound Dog: The version is surprisingly good, with Elvis sounding really more attentive to the music and a it has a great guitar playing by James Burton.

- 11. Introductions - Including Lawdy Miss Clawdy: Introductions were already getting longer by October 1974, at nearly nine minutes. Elvis introduces the group Voice, jokes that The Sweet Inspirations are "great, occasionally", and that they "have a complex with being called The Crew Cuts". All Stamps have an individual introduction. James Burton does a funky solo, followed by Ronnie Tutt and Duke Bardwell. Glen Hardin's solo on this tour was "Lawdy Miss Clawdy", accompanied by band and orchestra. Elvis stretches it out for two full choruses. Following, Charlie Hodge, Kathy Westmoreland, John Wilkinson, Joe Guercio and his orchestra are introduced.

- 12. All Shook Up: It is simply a throwaway version.

- 13. Teddy Bear / Don't Be Cruel: Likewise, the song is a traditional version that pleases the crowds as Elvis distributes kisses and scarves.

- 14. The Wonder of You: Never played in 1973 and not regular on the set list in 1974, it's a very good rendition as it features a longer intro and despite Elvis confusing the lyrics in the second verse. It's definitely a standout, even if it doesn't have the power of the versions from 1970.

- 15. Why Me Lord: While we appreciate the serious versions of this song, it's a fact that jokes between Elvis and JD were always welcome. After reciting the stanza "Tell me, Lord, if You think there's a way I can ever repay all I'm taking from You", Elvis shoots: "No way! All that booze you drink, you're kidding?!At this point, everyone bursts into laughter. "Lord, help him, Jesus!", Elvis then sings in the chorus. It's one of the best funny versions.

- 16. Heartbreak Hotel: Throwaway version, saved by beautiful piano work and a great guitar solo.

- 17. Let Me Be There: New to the setlist since January 1974, it is again an excellent choice for Elvis. The overall mix and excellent audio quality help to add power. The crowd cheers in thanks and Elvis does a nice reprise.

- 18. Hawaiian Wedding Song: "How many of you people like the song 'Killing Me Softly'? I like it too, but I ain't doing the damn thing!In fact, Elvis' new vocal group Voice performed the song at a large number of concerts earlier in the year, but there is no indication that they did so at this one.

"How many people saw the movie 'Blue Hawaii'? Great. Probably the most requested songs in that movie was the 'Hawaiian Wedding Song'." Elvis presents a truly adorable version with delightful interplay with Kathy Westmoreland. At the end, Elvis discusses the meaning of the last phrase in Hawaiian: "They think it's nice, it's really bad. I'm gonna tell them what it means someday."

- 19. An American Trilogy: After a brief introduction, Elvis interrupts: "What about 'Old Shep'? Do you want to hear 'Old Shep'?" The audience responds excitedly, and the singer retorts, "You never will!" What follows is a good version, except for Elvis' early interruption. The mix captures Ronnie Tutt's military drum pattern well and the King of Rock really gets into the 'Glory Glory, Hallelujah' section, with the Stamps adding extra oomph towards the end. "I'm glad you liked it," notes Elvis, earning much applause.

- 20. Johnny B. Goode: Well driven by James Burton's guitar, it's a very good version and helped a lot by the excellent mix.

- 21. You Gave Me a Mountain: A very sober version, it is also well conducted by Elvis and the orchestra.

Unfortunately, the tape ends here. For the duration of the performance, which at this point was over an hour, it can be believed that the singer performed one or two more songs - one of them may have been "Steamroller Blues" - before closing with "Can't Help Falling in Love" and the "Closing Vamp".



CD 2 - WICHITA, KANSAS - OCTOBER 7, 1974

- 1.  See See Rider (Late Start): Since Elvis' performance in St Paul, it's been one concert in Detroit, two in Indianapolis, and the two well-known concerts in Dayton, Ohio, before flying to Wichita, well over 1,500 miles from there. The CD starts midway through the opening, and the audio quality is good and Elvis sounds good too, if not as crisp as in St. Paul. After the rendition, he jokes: "It'll take me about ten minutes to wake up, but I'll be with you in just a minute."

- 2. I Got a Woman / Amen: Once again, JD steal the ending of this pretty decent version, featuring a nice guitar touch from James Burton as well. Like in St. Paul, Elvis introduces himself as Wayne Newton and notices he is wearing a new jumpsuit—the Tiger Suit. He notes: ''Hope thos suit stays together. It's a new suit, you know. A new tiger. I might need it later too."

- 3. Love Me: A throwaway, as always, with Elvis dedicating himself to the fans.

- 4. Blue Suede Shoes:  Good, but unfortunately it's too fast and insubstantial.

- 5. The Wonder of You: However, this is a fantastic version despite the lack of an intro, with Elvis putting more force into his vocals than on the previous show. This certainly makes the crowd applaud more effusively.

- 6. Big Boss Man: The version is very good and helped a lot by the volume of the band and the guitar of James Burton. Charlie Hodge is singing along as usual, but this doesn't seem to please Elvis who makes a pun on the lyrics saying "you can throw a stick of dynamite, it won't make Charlie stop".

- 7. Fever: With Elvis dedicating himself to the kisses and scarves for the audience, this becomes a throwaway version with lots of puns and a total mess.

- 8. If You Love Me (Let Me Know): It's amazing how Elvis can change the tone of the show from one second to the next. Unlike the previous song, this is a superb version, full of enthusiasm and joyful singing.

- 9. Love Me Tender: "I came in town this afternoon and guess what was on television? 'Love Me Tender'. I came a little late at it and said, 'Oh no! No, no, not me, it ain't me!', but it was. So I'd like to sing something for you." After the intro clearly signaling that he was tired of the song, what follows is a poor version with more kisses and scarves for fans.

- 10. Hound Dog: Likewise, it is very average and rushed.

- 11. Introductions / Lawdy Miss Clawdy: Like the show in St. Paul, Elvis introduces his band with some solos and including a version of "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" with Glen Hardin.

- 12. All Shook Up: It's just too fast - 40 seconds! - and messy to generate some opinion.

- 13. Teddy Bear / Don't Be Cruel: Another throwaway of the night, with Elvis complaining about feedback, despite being better interpreted than the previous ones.

- 14. Why Me Lord: Unlike the outgoing version of St. Paul, this one is serious and Elvis sings it no-nonsense, with a nice reprise too.

- 15. Let Me Be There: Another one with a reprise at the end, it's one of the few magnificently well performed tonight. Elvis really does his best when the repertoire is to his liking.

-16. When it's My Time: At this point, Elvis uses his threat to resurrect Mario Lanza and asks Bill Baize to sing while he rests and watches. Although the opening parts convey a good Gospel feeling, the end of the song always sounds like a cat being strangled - and Elvis even makes him repeat that part! Maybe his mic was too sensitive, but it's so off-key. In any case, Elvis obviously loved it - and promises Bill Baize a check later.

- 17. Johnny B. Goode: After suffering a little, our ears give thanks to God for a very good version of the Chuck Berry classic.

- 18. Heartbreak Hotel: A rendition just like the one heard in St. Paul.

- 19. Hawaiian Wedding Song: Elvis again asks the audience who had seen "Blue Hawaii" and announces that he will perform its most requested song. The version is charming and tenderly sung.

- 20. Polk Salad Annie: ''Okay... What do we do? Alright, get 'Polk Salad'.A song that isn't always on Elvis' setlist on this tour, this version is performed with a strong sound that unfortunately fades a little over the course of its 3 minutes. However, it sure does satisfy the crowd.

- 21, Can't Help Falling in Love: "Thank you ladies and gentlemen. You're a fantastic audience. We love you, good night!" With no time to waste, Elvis asks for the beginning of the last song of the night and addresses the band: "Let's get out of here!"

- 22. Closing Vamp: The usual closing fanfare is accompanied by hysterical screams from the fans.

BÔNUS

- 23. It's Midnight: The last three tracks of CD 2 are bonuses from October 4, 1974 in Detroit, Michigan.

"This is a new song that we have out, ladies and gentlemen. It's out this week, some time. Hope you like it, it's called 'It's Midnight'." The Detroit soundboard audio is more echoed and weaker, but still great. Elvis had been singing his new song since the Las Vegas Summer season, but it had just been released as his new single on October 1st - he is wrong to say it would still be released. It's very well sung, but not by far the best version.

- 24. Steamroller Blues: It's a very nice addition, after all we had been promised on CD 1, but not as strong as the spontaneous version of South Bend on October 1st.

- 25. Funny How Time Slips Away: "Thank you. I'd like to turn the house lights up so I can take a look at you, because you've seen us, and... It's the Astrodome all over!Elvis had passed the Houston Astrodome in March 1974 and attracted 44,000 fans, so his comparison to Wichita and its 10,000 spectators sounds a bit sarcastic - but he would still be really surprised by the 60,500 at Pontiac's Astrodome on December 31, 1975. A rarity on this tour, and never played during his Summer season in Las Vegas, it's well performed. The King of Rock takes the opportunity to insert a line of "Folsom Prison Blues" at the end.

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