Thursday, July 28, 2011

Elvis' Worst Overall 1977 Tour?

Geoffrey McDonnell puts it well in his review of the recently released FTD album Amarillo '77 on the Elvis Information Network website:
Having heard this tour ‘represented’ here one sadly realises this isn’t as good a CD as the ‘Spring Tours’ FTD CD because the performances are weaker. No Polk Salad Annie, Unchained Melody and really it's only How Great Thou Art, My Way or Hurt as the powerful songs left. [...] he sounds tired most of the time and simply worn out- I wonder whether this tour was Elvis’s worst overall 1977 tour?
The Amarillo '77 CD features most of the Amarillo concert from March 24 (Band introductions are from the March 27 show in Abilene), as well as eleven bonus songs from the same tour (23-30 March). Strangely enough, two of the bonus songs – "Trying To Get To You" and "Fever" – are featured on the Spring Tours 77 FTD from 2002.

While the Amarillo show isn't the worst Elvis concert released by FTD (that doubtful honor goes to New Haven '76), it comes close. Elvis does indeed sound tired and worn out and it's painfully clear that his nine days of vacation in Hawaii before the tour was no way near enough to get him in better shape.

He messes up "Are You Lonesome Tonight" and has to start the song all over, abandons "Reconsider Baby" (intro only) and does a forgettable job on "Hound Dog." Having said that, I enjoyed "Little Sister" as well as "That's All Right," which unfortunately is incomplete (the first couple of songs from the show are missing).

"My Way" is an ambiguous affair. I've always thought the song held more meaning in 1977 and love his performance of the song from Rapid City on June 21, featured on Elvis In Concert. The Amarillo version isn't as good, but emotional nonetheless.

Before I sign off I have to mention the terrible editing between some of the bonus songs, which worsens the listening experience even more. Just listen to the abrupt start of "Why Me, Lord" and you'll see what I mean. It's sloppy work. And the use of depressing color combinations on the cover does nothing to lighten the mood, either.

I agree 100 percent with Troy Y. who runs the excellent The Mystery Train Elvis Blog, Amarillo '77 is for completists only. If you want to listen to Elvis in 1977 then pick Elvis In Concert, Spring Tours 77 or Unchained Melody instead.

1 comment:

Troy Y. said...

Thanks for the heads-up on New Haven '76. I'll be sure to avoid that one.