I confess to buying a concert from an import label now and then, but only if it's a soundboard and not an audience recording. There is always an exception to the rule though, and mine is April Fool's Dinner.
Originally released on vinyl as Rockin' With Elvis April Fool's Day in 1980 (now that's what I call a classic bootleg title) it saw the light of day a few months ago and contains the next to last show Elvis did during his 12th Las Vegas stint, on April 1, 1975.
This is not the only concert available from this particular engagement. FTD has released a soundboard from the March 30 dinner show called Big Boss Man, and there is also the excellent bootleg soundboard Back With A Bang! containing the midnight show from March 22.
So why bother with an audience recording? When I obtained April Fool's Dinner I had three reasons for doing so:
- Nostalgia. When my brother bought the original LP we played it over and over. In those days a "new" Elvis concert was a rare occasion and who cared if it was recorded from the audience! Come to think of it, I didn't even now what a soundboard was back then!
- The sound. Another thing I wasn't aware of when we listened to the vinyl album was that the sound quality is fantastic for an audience recording. And, thanks to modern technology not available in 1980, it now has been further improved using the audience master tape.
- The performance itself. Elvis is in fine form, kidding with his fans ("Oh, yeah. The second half of the show has been cancelled tonight, so...") and delivering great versions of songs such as "And I Love You So," "Big Boss Man," My Boy" and Fairytale." But I do miss "It's Midnight" and "Promised Land" which he for some reason didn't include in this particular show.
I also have to mention that the CD is presented in a beautiful fold out digipack, with a eight page booklet including liner notes and photographs. Also, the CD itself offers six bonus tracks from the closing show that same day.
Finally, "Can't Help Falling In Love" was replaced on the original LP with the version from RCA's '74 album Recorded Live On Stage In Memphis. On April Fool's Dinner we finally get to know why. On it, the original version is included, but about one minute into the song it sounds like the person recording the show puts the tape recorder in a bag or something as the sound gets muffled. Maybe security was approaching!