Sunday, 26 April 2015

Bridge Over Troubled Water (03/08/73 CS) funny, unusual live version

The closing show to Elvis' ninth Vegas season was unusual to say the least. It was a fun show with Elvis having a lot of jokes both with the band and the audience.
What is evident occasionally during this show is that Elvis is also in a bad mood, not with the audience or band but with the Hilton hotel's hierarchy and their treatment of one of it's employees, Mario a favourite maitre'd of Elvis in the hotel's Italian restaurant.
This version of Bridge Over Troubled Water is unique in the Elvis musical library. It is obvious that the next song should be Suspicious Minds and the band start to play this but Elvis sings Bridge to the tune of Suspicious Minds and after some laughter decides to do Bridge. Still having fun he changes the lyrics and then loses track and forgets the lyrics. Charlie Hodge attempts to jog Elvis' memory by singing the words to which Elvis jokingly replies 'Two bit amateur' and the rest of the band and much of the audience respond by joining in unison to end the first verse to which Elvis gives a grateful appreciation - priceless, touching and great fun.
It must be said though, that having read many reviews of this show and they range from those who think this performance of 'Bridge' and the show in general is good fun to those who suggest that Elvis was being unprofessional to criticise the Hilton hierarchy in public whilst also in a lucrative contract with them and that he was being disrespectful to the music, his band and the audience for changing and clowning around with the lyrics so much, citing this track as prime example since in their opinion that is not what the audience paid for.
This show was released by Sony on the FTD label in 2004 titled Closing Night and many fans and reviewers criticised that decision saying this show should never have been released. It is worth noting however that this was the last of a 58 show run with two per night so why not have some well earned fun with the audience on closing night?

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