Gotta Find My Baby!

September 02, 2022

Desert Storm (CD - Fort Baxter, 1997)

Desert Storm
Fort Baxter [2200]
Double CD
Number of tracks:
Running time:
Type of album:
Linked to:
Unofficial discography
September 2, 1974 CS

Desert Storm was one of the most important releases by the bootleg label Fort Baxter. It contains the full August/September 1974 season finale show at midnight on September 2, in which Elvis was impatient and full of errands to run.

After the 1973 hospitalizations and a good start to 1974, Elvis had again begun to show signs of emotional instability in July of that year. They were small displays of contained anger given on stage, always followed by big and calming karate chops with the help of Charlie Hodge or Ed Parker.

September would prove to be a difficult month for Elvis, his fans and family. The singer's constant mood swings made the dynamics and segment of his performance totally unknown to the band, which had to find a way to keep up with him quickly on pain of getting scolded in front of everyone. In fact, these scoldings were the reason why Duke Bardwell stayed for such a short time in the band.

Elvis and Sheila Ryan in Las Vegas;
September 1974
In his love life, the chaos was the same. Despite still keeping in touch with Priscilla and even leaving a box at her disposal at every show in Las Vegas, the King of Rock was in a relationship that could already be seen as solid with Linda Thompson.

But that didn't stop him from popping up here and there with Sheila Ryan, who became Linda's spare tire for when she misbehaved in Elvis' eyes.

But nothing prepared audiences and critics, not even the Mafia, friends and family, for what was to come on the September 2 midnight show that would end that season.

When Elvis walked onto the stage at the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel wearing the Mad Tiger suit, the atmosphere of apprehension was palpable. The singer gave a show of interpretation, as usual, presenting temporary classics like "Until It's Time For You to Go" and "If You Talk in Your Sleep", but between one song and another is that the show really happened.

Below is a review of the concert.


CD 1

- 1. Microfone Dialogue: Unfortunately, the RCA sound engineer didn't record the opening of the show ("Also Sprach Zarathustra" and "See See Rider"), but when he realized that Elvis was going to go into one of his "tantrums" the recording begins. We can hear Elvis complaining about the height of the mic stand: "Who-who-who fixed this microphone this way? Was it 'Jacky Kahoon' [comedian Jackie Kahane, who opened all his shows] did that, or whatever his name is? 'Jerky Kahoon'... No! Who does this? Look... I'm 6' 1" and a half. This son of a bitch is 6' 3" and a half!Then, as everyone laughs, he goes on to try to prove he's right in his complaint, shoving the microphone in his mouth and trying to sing.

In the midst of this, Elvis still manages to say that JD is cheap, criticizing the quality of the microphones of the backing vocals, and ridiculing the clothes of the band members: "These microphones costed two dollars at high reach. JD's mikes cost two and a half. Well, I know that, can't tell me that. But he got'em on sale, a quarter each! It's like them suits you got for the group. From Lansky Brothers on Beale Street."

- 2. I Got a Woman / Amen: The song starts almost immediately and without much warning to the band. The version heard here is a little more upbeat and faster than what we would get used to hearing from 1975 onwards. The band misses the entry for "Amen" and Elvis responds: "Son of a bitch!". It is possible to notice that he sings in a note well above the correct one. The famous "striptease" follows and is quite long, to the delight of the fans. JD performs his dive bomb next, but Elvis wants more: "I want you to take to a treetop levem on a B-52, and stall out, then start the engines back. You got it? Ok." JD doesn't disappoint and makes everyone laugh.

- 3. Karate Dialogue: Elvis says good evening to the audience and introduces himself as Bill Cosby (who is in the audience). He then goes on to explain about his belt in Karate and where he wants to get: "Look, look... Somebody gave me this thing here. Yeah, it really is, somebody gave it to me. I just got an 8th degree black belt in Karate. After 16 years of doing this art every day, I was rewarded the eighth degree... There's only ten degrees of black... The ninth degree carries Senior Master of Art. It's the next on. And the tenth is Senior Grand Master of Art. So that's where I gotta strive to go to, it just takes quite a while."

- 4. Until it's Time For You to Go: Elvis makes some "corrections" to the lyrics according to his mood. The first stanza clearly conveys the message that someone wants out of his life and he is not willing to let go. Aside from that, the version is one of the best.

- 5. If You Love Me (Let Me Know): After quickly thanking the audience, Elvis enters the song. A standard version.

- 6. It's Midnight: The previous song barely ends and Elvis already announces his newest recording. After the first stanza of the extremely touching lyrics, Elvis says "Listen, Cylla...", catching the attention of Priscilla, who is in her cabin, before the stanza that says: "Where is all my self control? / I'm burning way down in my soul / and needing you / wishing I could be the man I tried to / hating me for wanting to be with you / knowing that you don't love me like you used to / but it's midnight, oh Lord / and I miss you".

It is evident that he is speaking to her through the song's lyrics. Elvis may not have noticed how he exposed himself at that moment, but his head was already creating a response to the action, which would be heard by the audience in moments.

- 7. Big Boss Man: Standard version of 1974.

- 8. You Gave Me a Mountain: Elvis makes an extremely emotional rendition of the song that has been in his repertoire since 1972. For dramatic effect, he prefers to recite one of the most significant stanzas at the moment: "Deprived of the love of a father / blamed for the loss of his wife / You know, Lord, I've been in a prison / for something that I've never done / it's been one hill after another / but, Lord, i've climbed them all / one by one".

Later on, he repeats the action, reciting another significant stanza: "My woman got tired of the heartaches / tired of the grief and the strife / so, so tired of working for nothing / just, just tired of being my wife / she took my, my one ray of sunshine / she took my pride and my joy / she took my reason for living! / she took my small baby boy".

- 9. Priscilla Dialogue: Before starting the song, Elvis feels the need to explain himself about the "listen, Cylla" and the messages in "You Gave Me a Mountain": "I've been singing that song for a long time, uh, and a lot of people kinda got it associated with me because they think it's a personal thing. But it's not, it's a beautiful song written by Marty Robbins and I just love the song. It has nothing to do with me personally, or my wi- ex-wife Priscilla, she's here with me - Please stand up. Turn around and let'em see you. Boy, she's-she's-she's a beautiful chick, I tell you for sure, boy. Oh, I-I-I-I knows'em when I picks'em. I think, you know, 'damn!'"

At the same time, Elvis takes the opportunity to introduce Lisa Marie while jokingly scorching her for letting her dress rise while jumping to present herself: "My little daugher, Lisa, she's six years old - look at her jump up! Put your dress down, Lisa! You pull your dress down when you jump like that again, young lady!"

Next he introduces Sheila Ryan, who are in the same cabin as Priscilla and Lisa, before continuing to talk about their divorce: "Our divorce came about not because of another man, or another woman, but because of certain circusntances involving my career - I was travelling too much, I was gone too much - and.. But I didn't think it was fair to her, 'cause I was gone too much and everything. So, I, therefore, as decently as you can do that type of thing, we just made an agreement to always be friends and be close and care, cuz we have a daughter to raise, and for her to have everything she wanted in the settlement.".

He then goes back to talking about Priscilla, this time including Mike Stone: "She likes this Stutz that I have... It's not a car, just 'studs'... no, it's called a stud... a Stutz! But she likes a 'stud' - she likes a Stutz... Mike Stone is no 'stud', so, forget it... She likes the Stutz, so I'm gonna give her the Stutz. Stone but wish he was a stud, you know, he's a... nice guy."

- 10. Softly, As I Leave You: Elvis introduces the song in a peculiar way: "It was one of the prettiest God damned love song I've ever heard in my life, man, I tell you. I've never sung it, I've never recorded it, I never liked the damn thing until I found out the story behind why it was written, and then I really didn't like it because I don't like that type stuff." Then Elvis asks Charlie to take off his belt before he is castrated because he has "places to go, and other tours and things, and cities and chicks, and all that jazz, you know."

Then he introduces Judy Spreckles, an older woman he became involved with in 1956, and recalls that she presented him with a ring (which he gave to Priscilla to make their engagement official). At the end of the song, he thanks the audience and introduces Sherrill Nielsen, who accompanied him on the harmony.

- 11. Hound Dog: A fast and electrifying version.

- 12. An American Trilogy: Elvis didn't play much with gospel music or patriotism, but here he makes some puns at first. Apart from that, the version is a standard from that year.

- 13. It's Now Or Never: 
Elvis makes a version very close to the 1960 recording, without many changes. Here, Sherrill Nielsen had not yet been cast by Elvis to introduce the song by singing the original lyrics a capella.

CD 2

- 14. Band Introductions: Elvis introduces The Sweet Inspirations, JD Sumner & The Stamps Quartet, Kathy Westmoreland, James Burton (who does an impromptu pickin' at Elvis' request), John Wilkinson, Ronnie Tutt (who improvises a magnificent solo as Elvis asks him to do as wanted because there's plenty of time), Duke Bardwell (who is surprisingly treated well by Elvis), Glen Hardin (who also does a solo) and Charlie Hodge.

- 15. I Couldn't Live Without You (not recorded by sound engineer) / Bringin' it Back (Voice): Elvis introduces Sherrill Nielsen's group, Voice, and asks them to sing the song that would be recorded by the King in 1975.

- 16. Aubrey: Elvis asks Sherrill to also sing the song made famous by the group Bread. Nielsen would record it on his solo album in 1975.

- 17. Band & Celebrity Introductions: Elvis introduces Joe Guercio and his orchestra, talks about going to the hospital because of a flu, introduces Bill Cosby (who replaced him while he was in the hospital and had already left), and praises singer Vickie Carr, announcing that she is at the Tropicana with her show.

- 18.  It's Now Or Never (reprise): Elvis asks Vickie if she heard him singing the song. As the answer is no, he decides to sing it again.

- 19. Let Me Be There: Elvis thanks the audience and quickly introduces the next song, doing a standard rendition with a rerun of the last stanza.

- 20. If You Talk In Your Sleep: Elvis introduces it as "Walk In Your Sleep" and makes a very interesting version with a longer entry. After the song, Elvis quickly introduces his Karate instructor and Mafia member, Ed Parker.

- 21. Drugs Dialogue: Elvis makes his famous comment about drugs here, which led many to believe he was completely stoned, after claiming that he was an official member of the US Drug Enforcement Agency:

"I don't pay attention to rumours, I don't pay attention to movie magazines, I don't read them because they're all junk. I-I-I-I don't mean to put anybody's job down, I'm talking about - they have a job to do, and they gotta write stuff. So, if they don't know anything, they make it up; in my case, they make it up.
But I heard rumors flying around... I got sick in the hospital... Well, you know, in these days and time you can't even get sick, you are strung out! But by God, I'll tell you something, friend, I have never been 'strung out!' in my life - except on music.
When I got sick here that one night, I had a 102 temperature, they wouldn't let me perform... From three different sources I heard I was 'strung out!' on heroin.
I swear to God... Hotel employees, Jack... bellboys, freaks that carry your luggage to the room, people working around, you know, talking, maids... And I was sick, you know. I had a doctor, had the flu, I got over in one day, it was nothing. But all across this town... 'strung out!'.
So I told them earlier, and don't you get offended, ladies and gentlemen, I'm talking to somebody else...
If I find or hear the individual that has said that about me, I'm gonna break your damn neck, you son of a bitch!
That is dangerous, that is dangerous to myself, to my little daughter, to my father, to my friends, my doctor, to everybody, my relationshio with you, my relationship up on the stage... It is dangerous, I will pull your goddamn tongue out by the roots!"

- 22. Hawaiian Wedding Song: "How many of you people saw that movie, 'Blue Hawaii'? Probably, the most requested song - Let me get out of this mood... Probably the most requested song in that movie was the 'Hawaiian Wedding Song', so I'm gonna do that for you." He jokes a little at the beginning of the song, but it's generally a good version performed as Elvis receives gifts from the audience and distributes hugs, kisses, and scarves. He ends up giving Kathy Westmoreland a kiss (as seen in the Omaha show on 6/19/77) after making a few faces to try to distract her.

- 23. Jewelry Dialogue: Elvis introduces sound engineer Bill Porter and his father, Vernon, to effusive applause. He also introduces the Colonel - who isn't there - and comments that he knows very well that he is at the casino. Before the show is over, he talks about his jewelry:
"This thing I got, I wore in the Hawaii special, you know, and people though it was one big... One big stone, and it's not, it's an 11 1/2 karat stone, just pretty big, you know, it's as big as I've ever seen. And, anyway... Next to Elizabeth [Taylor]'s. I think she's got the biggest [referring to the actress' bust]... and the biggest set of diamonds too... This thing here I had designed for the stage, it's got all different shapes of diamonds, plain shapes, square shapes, ball, whatever. You know, it's for the stage. This I got tonight for you. Yeah, really! I got it - Just got it tonight, just like I got the suit, for the closing. And the reason I'm telling you this - and, because I think you oughta know it - You have payed for 'em. Good night!".

- 24. Can't Help Falling in Love: After 82 minutes of show, a long time for Vegas, Elvis starts the song that announces the end of the concert.

- 25. Closing Vamp: As "Can't Help Falling in Love" ends, Elvis disappears behind the curtains. He returns a few seconds later to receive more gifts from fans before leaving for his hotel suite.

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