Sunday, March 6, 2011
"That's Your Version!"
When my brother and his family recently visited, I felt slightly embarrassed when he found my copy of FTD's Chicago Stadium unopened and still enclosed in plastic. I could put the blame on my four month old daughter, as taking care of her is a full time job. But to tell you the truth I hadn't felt all that excited listening to another 1976 concert (or in this case, two concerts, from October 14 and 15, respectively) since its arrival, and therefore had prioritized listening to other Elvis stuff instead.
But there and then I decided to give it a spin, and me and my brother quickly established that it was a pretty good release. As A Minnesota Moment (featuring another concert from the same tour) proved when released about a year ago, Elvis was in far better shape than during previous tours that year, and seemed to be enjoying his work again.
Both shows included on Chicago Stadium are enjoyable, especially the one from October 15, where the sound is even better than on the recording from the day before. Just like on A Minnesota Moment, we are treated to a great version of "Steamroller Baby" which has the band cooking and Elvis delivering the goods. "Help Me" is another highlight, where Elvis restarts the beginning when he and Charlie Hodge sings different lyrics. "That's your version," he jokingly tells Charlie. "And I Love You So" offers another beautiful rendition.
An eight page photo booklet is even included, showing Elvis wearing the Inca Gold Leaf Suit (on October 14) and the Indian Feather Suit (On October 15). But why such an unimaginative title like Chicago Stadium? I know FTD was in a hurry to release the album as the bootleg label Gravel Road was about to put it out, but come on! It's like naming the Aloha show Honolulu International Center and the 1974 live album from Memphis Mid-South Coliseum.