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Elvis Encore Performance III 'Back To Chicago 1977'

Reviewed by Geoffrey Mc Donnell

This is yet another of Joseph A.Tunzi's books packed with 108 pictures of Elvis from 1958-1977(if you include 2 x 1.5.77 background page shots!) 11 pictures in Colour (9 from Chicago 1.5.77) with the bulk of the book made up from 67 black & white close up shots from Elvis's 1.5.77 performance photographed by Steve Yach(only 6 months after his previous Chicago 1976 shows!).Forward and conclusion by Fan Louis T.Pappas.There's quite a lot to look at in this 112 page book (26 x 23 cm size) Starting with the positive points, the book is inviting as the photographs from the May 1st 77' show are presented in running order as you see Elvis enter the stage(at first out of focus,then in focus) singing his songs(listed) which you can follow through his every expression, gesture in a page numbered book of close up photos showing most of his 'KING OF SPADES' jumpsuit.Behind Elvis in many photos is a 'cool' looking Jerry Scheff on Bass.Text added on pages matching the appropriate picture is mostly 'as he said it on stage' during the actual show!

Elvis has good fun at the start of the 1.5.77 show joking:-'Well..oh when the Saints...' but not funny on 2.5.77 when he says:-'The late John Wilkinson' and he'll brake James Burtons finger if he doesn't play J.B.Goode!.Outstanding pics are found on pages :- 17,24,31-33,53,58,63 +97.On pages 6,7,14,49,50+ 52 however the quality is so poor(out of focus) we could have done without them.The book also lists the itinery for all 6 sheduled 1977 tours and closes the book with a Vernon Presley letter sent to Fan Club Leaders regarding the infamous 1977 'Bodyguard book '.

After the 1.5.77 photos comes a real mixture of 'Thru the Years' 26 pics ranging from 1958-1973,including sexy Michele Carey + friends during 'live a little,love a little', many 'backstage'70's shots.In this section several are truly 'outstanding'. First the 3 shots from February 1970 in a white jumpsuit with elaborate Gold Sash around the neck just have to be seen! Then another 9 'amazing' shots from Los Angeles 14.11.70 afternoon & evening shows, 1 incredible shot shows Elvis holding a Hassleblad camera in front of his face! These are TOP QUALITY Black & White photos.Finally near the back are 2 photos of Elvis at the start of his Chicago 14.10.76 show and 2 photos of Elvis near the end of his Chicago 16.6.72 show.Clearly this is a book for the 'later' Elvis fans he doesn't look as slim as he did a week earlier on 24.4.77 wearing the 'King of Spades' suit,puffy faced but slimmer than the next tour. Bill Harbach and Gary Smith who saw him on 1.5.77 (preparing for the CBS 'Special') found him 'overweight and his voice only fair'- EXACTLY RIGHT!.Both shows end incredibly Fast after the intros(only 1 hour long each night) making you think he took the money and ran!. Unfortunatly the enourmous 'excitement' from 20,000 fans present each night doesn't come accross because all the photos are very 'close up'. Joe Tunzi's last book 'Enter the Dragon' from 1.10.74 was better quality photography.Really here we are dealing with a common and inherent problem that for the most part (1.10.74 show excepted!) PRESS photographers ONLY covered the FIRST show in the city- which is why photos of Elvis in Chicago during his 17.6.72,15.10.76 +2.5.77 appearances are not seen!

Probably the worst 'error' in the whole book is on page 70 with the 'rundowns' of shows. The inclusion of HELP ME , MYSTERY TRAIN/TIGER MAN + TRYING TO GET TO YOU as sung AND recorded by RCA on 2.5.77 is WRONG, these songs were performed and recorded on 3.5.77 in Saginaw! also MY WAY released on 'A life in Music- Platinum box set' was from the Saginaw 25.4.77 show (as correctly stated on the box set liner notes) and IS NOT the 1.5.77 version! Unfortunatly most of these fact faults come from sloppy printing in the book by Ernst 'A LIFE IN MUSIC' and there are MORE faults in the August 1970 listing of P.S.A. from T.T.W.I.I.!!

Claims are made that Elvis performed a somersault during 'HURT' on 2.5.77- when in reality it was more of a 'back roll' during the 'reprise' ending of the song on 2.5.77! (pretty rare!) Also it was on 2.5.77 that Elvis said after I GOT A WOMAN 'In spite of everything that you've heard - rumours, I'm in good health and happy to be here' NOT 1.5.77. The VIDEO of parts of BOTH Chicago May performances have been available for a while, now here's the book! Elvis in his King of Spades suit (for the 2nd to last time!), I always welcome unseen photos but in NO WAY can any of these compare to how Elvis was in ENCORE PERFORMANCE I in Chicago on 16.6.72-at a physical peak.Amazingly whilst Elvis took great delight in introducing Joe Esposito at his shows this time on , on 2.5.77 Joe thought his Boss would live another 20 years and was meanwhile suing him for 'Presley Centre Courts' venture failure in Memphis-how ironic!

To me the Performance in Chicago on 1.5.77 was one of Elvis's worst to such a large audience insulting them with a 'rip-off' show!, then on 2.5.77 in his 'Mexican Sundial' suit whilst he performed more songs with energy/interest in better voice- certainly I couldn't describe the show in such strong terms as 'Good'- most memorable is Elvis's messing around continually changing microphones, whilst I admit he did a few 'cute' moves seen on the video of that show.Just before closing on 2.5.77 Elvis said :' Anytime you want us back,just let us know and we'll come back up here'.It's the unpublished photos of Elvis in a different suit that attracts and that's what keeps me looking at Joe's latest 1999 publication.

Non-Fans will think 'Just another Fat Elvis book', but as you look through you can actually feel the 1.5.77 Elvis Presence. I'd welcome a book showing Elvis in his 'Mad Tiger Suit' from 1974- how about that?!