Gotta Find My Baby!

May 11, 2022

Live in L.A. - An Audiovisual Documentary (CD + Book - FTD, 2007)

Live in L.A. - An Audiovisual Documentary
FTD [FTD 063] [88697 03613 2]
CD + Book
Number of tracks:
Running time:
Type of album:
Linked to:
FTD discography
May 11, 1974 ES
April 2007

Live in L.A. - An Audiovisual Documentary was FTD's fifth book and sixty-third CD. They cover Elvis' concerts in and around Los Angeles from 1956 to 1976, with a primary focus on the 8:30 pm performance on May 11, 1974. Due to an error in the 2007 disc matrix, the CD was re-released corrected and without the book in 2011. The work is currently out of print.

At 138 pages, this is perhaps the most modest book on the FTD catalog, but it is also one of the most sincere. With almost no text aside from an intro and the CD track list, there are 12 different photo shoots featured in the book.

Long Beach on June 7, 1956 opens the book, and then we go the next day in Los Angeles, returning to the city on October 28 (golden suit) and October 29, 1957. Jump to November 14, 1970 AS+ES, where Elvis looks brilliant! April 23, 1974 sees the singer again in Los Angeles, then we come to May 11, 1974 AS and the next 69 pages and 108 photos are devoted to the 8:30 pm show of the same day.

It was on this occasion that Elvis first wore the 1974 American Eagle jumpsuit, which featured the eagle from the Aloha From Hawaii costume embroidered on the clothing instead of formed with rhinestones, and which had as illustrious visitors the members of the British band Led Zeppelin.

Finally we have Long Beach on April 25, 1976 AS+ES, and also Anaheim on November 30, where Elvis looks fantastic and clearly having a good time.

The 1950s photos are obviously great, as are the 1970s ones, but unfortunately many of the 1974 ones are so completely out of focus that it takes away some of the fascination. Another unfortunate thing is that the photos of Long Beach in 1976 show a very fat Elvis, but the book ends with photographic highlights of a very good show Elvis gave in Anaheim on November 30, 1976.

FTD has always stated that the CDs are a bonus to the book and the true way to enjoy the set is to listen to the soundboard while reliving the feel of the May 11, 1974 ES concert through the selection of excellent photos. You can experience the feeling of an Elvis sweating hard in "Polk Salad Annie" and witness the look of Gospel sincerity in his eyes. You can also see the real joy on Elvis' face from being on stage with the band, as well as enjoying James Burton's solos. There are pictures of the usual pranks with Charlie Hodge and some great ones of Elvis running the band - certainly from his "well, well, well..." routine.

Below is our review of this spectacular CD.

2011 re-release cover

- 1. Also Sprach Zarathustra: The familiar fanfare announces the start of the 8:30 pm show on May 11, 1974. The audience reacts hysterically. At first, you can hear that the sound quality is not the best, but the atmosphere is very similar to what we have on "Elvis as Recorded Live On Stage in Memphis", recorded two months before. Perhaps the sound engineer has chosen the wrong speed for the capture, since the sound is quite muffled.

- 2. See See Rider: Despite the sound problems, Elvis is vocally healthy and this can be heard from the first notes of the song. The rendition is standard, but there are a few different touches on the drums and guitar.

- 3. I Got a Woman / Amen: "Thank you very much." Elvis seems to want to give his show a more rocker atmosphere, since Led Zeppelin is in the audience. To do so, he abbreviates his "well, well, well" routine to enter a funky version of the well-known medley. After "Amen", the singer also shortens his jokes and JD's dive bombs.

- 4. Love Me: "Thank you very much. Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Glen Campbell... Would you believe Wayne Newton?" The rendition is standard, with Elvis handing out kisses and scarves to the audience as he sings. Notable is the excellent accompaniment by James Burton. Elvis asks the band to repeat the song finale, asking the audience to listen carefully to JD Sumner. "Whoa! Lord have mercy!"

- 5. Trying to Get to You: "This next song is one of my first recordings, that I did when I was a mere child." The speed of the tape certainly doesn't add to the rendition. As we know, at the time Elvis was singing at a faster pace than we hear here. The version is very good.

- 6. All Shook Up: The 1950s hits medley begins with a fast but energetic version of the 1957 classic. Interestingly, the band performs the song with a more funky feel, which continues to be the pattern on subsequent tracks. It is one of the many throw aways during his concerts, bus still good.

- 7. Teddy Bear / Don't Be Cruel: Another throw away, although well rendered, brings Elvis more focused on delivering a good version than interacting with the audience.

- 8. Love Me Tender: After picking up a sheet of lyrics for his upcoming rendition, Elvis says: "My first movie was 'Love Me Tender'. I'd like to sing a little of that for you." It's amazing how clearly hearing Duke Bardwell's bass brings a fresh sound to the 1956 classic. The flute that's more present is also very interesting as it overwhelms even the hysterical fans who surround the stage as Elvis sings to try to get a kiss or scarf from the singer. Perhaps because of the illustrious presences, the King of Rock sings all the lyrics in the execution.

- 9. Steamroller Blues: This is a more than perfect rendition, but, as in other moments, the quality of the audio ends up taking some of the shine out of the version. Elvis, however, sounds like he's giving it his all.

- 10. Hound Dog: "You ain't... You don't know what I'm going to do!" Elvis teases the band to try to catch them off guard in the song's intro, something he hasn't done in a while. Here the version is complete and no longer part of the larger medley that was performed most of the time. Maybe that's why James Burton presents a more rock 'n' roll touch and Elvis gives his all in the final sequence with karate moves. The singer "scolds" the band at the end: "You guys weren't together, man! I mean, I won't take the blame for it!"

- 11. Fever: A classic producer of hysteria in the audience, the rendition is standard and finds Elvis having a great time while attending to the fans. James Burton's guitar responses to Duke Bardwell's bass are fantastic.

- 12. Polk Salad Annie: The music is a little hampered by the wrong tape speed, but still you can tell that Elvis was giving it his all and that this was a version to impress Zeppelin. Ronnie Tutt's drums are exceptional in the finishing.

- 13. Why Me Lord: "Let me just walk around for a second and get my breath back." After talking to fans, the singer announces: "I'd like to ask JD Sumner and the Stamps Quartet to do one of my favorite songs, 'Why Me Lord'." The version comes out so perfect that Elvis asks to repeat the ending, stretching the last notes even more. "Thanks! JD, Stamps... Fantastic!"

- 14. Suspicious Minds: Starting the song without hesitation, Elvis speeds up the show. It is interesting to note that here the tape seems to improve in quality, allowing us to hear the band and orchestra better. We wonder if the source might be from another concert (you'll get why later). Toward the end, it feels like we're back in 1970 and Elvis is sweating and dancing frantically on stage. Again, Ronnie Tutt deserves kudos for his performance here. 

- 15. Introductions: Elvis does the usual introductions. The Sweet Inspirations, JD Sumner and the Stamps and Kathy Westmoreland come first. Following, "Chicken Pickin'" James Burton, "Duck Pluckin'" John Wilkinson, Ronnie Tutt, Duke Bardwell, "Jerry Lee Lewis" Glen Hardin, Charlie Hodge, the group Voice, Joe Guercio and his orchestra.

- 16. I Can't Stop Loving You: "You know what I can't do?" The tape speed again detracts from the listening experience, but it is noted that Elvis and his ensemble make a great rendition.

- 17. Help Me: "This next song is a new song that we just recorded. It should be out this week some time. I hope you like it, it's called 'Help Me'." The version is delicious and uplifting even for a slow Gospel. Elvis' arrangements and voice are very similar to what we heard in the studio Master.

- 18. An American Trilogy: Elvis makes a pun between "Dixieland" and "Disneyland" early on, due to the fact that he's performing in Los Angeles, but the version is mostly serious. The singer gives a more melancholic tone to the song, which works well and is helped immensely by the strong presence of the flute in the audio. Listen closely to Ronnie Tutt and Duke Bardwell work together for a fantastic extra.

- 19. Let Me Be There:  Olivia Newton-John's hit was already a consecrated highlight of Elvis' performances at that time. JD Sumner sounds loud and clear in the mix, contrasting magnificently with the King of Rock. The repetition of the last stanza also occurs as usual.

- 20. Funny How Time Slips Away: "Now that you've had a chance to see us, I'd like to turn the house lights up and take a look at you." Seeing that The Forum is a huge place, Elvis can't help but to address JD and reminisce about his 20 years on the road: "Whoa! It's a huge place, JD! It's a long way from the auditorium in Memphis, you know that, son?" The song starts off so out of tune that Elvis can only laugh and stop the rendition: "Wait a minute, wait a minute, hold it. If we can start together, fellows, because we got Led Zeppelin out there, and Jimmy Darren and a whole bunch of people... Let's try to look like we know what we're doing, whether we do or not! Now, what we're doing?" The version comes out as usual after the sarcastic comment and Elvis enjoys interacting with the audience.

- 21. Big Boss Man: The sound quality has a very significant improvement due to the fact that it is another tape. As the end of the performance was heavily compromised in the original source, FTD decided to use the last two tracks from the previous day's show in San Bernardino. The rendition is excellent and that wouldn't be a problem as the setlist for the May 11, 1974 ES concert ended with exactly the same two songs.

- 22. Can't Help Falling in Love / Closing Vamp: Problem is, FTD didn't even go through the trouble of deleting Elvis' line before starting the last song of the show: "Until the next time we're in San Bernardino, we bid you an affectionate adiós!" If they'd edit it as it should have been, we could've at least try to trick our brains into thinking they were listening to the end of the Los Angeles performance.


- 23. You Can Have Her: FTD includes as a bonus the only known version of the song, performed by Elvis at the 2:30 pm performance on May 11, 1974 in Los Angeles. The correct speed of this delicious pearl serves to give us the tone of what the 20:30 show really was.

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