Bridge Over Troubled Water - The Live Comparison Series Volume 4

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Walter Hale 4
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Bridge Over Troubled Water - The Live Comparison Series Volume 4

Post by Walter Hale 4 »

By August 1970 Elvis was back on top, not just the king of rock 'n' roll but now arguably the King of entertainment. The six shows filmed by MGM for TTWII show Elvis at the height of his powers. he had managed to combine the theatrics and bombast of Vegas and incorporate them in his show which resulted in a performance that was almost as much Broadway as Las Vegas. Now Elvis had finally found a way in which to integrate all of his musical influences and country music for example finally had a place within the Elvis repertoire.
Probably the biggest influence on Elvis and that closest to his heart was gospel music and in 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' he found a song in which that influence could shine through. Whereas the original recording by Simon (the song's composer) and Garfunkel is somewhat subdued Elvis turns it into a powerful showpiece.

Version One – 11 August 1970, Midnight Show – Las Vegas
This performance, only the second time that he had sung it live, is Elvis Presley at his absolute peak and anyone who hears this cannot possibly have any doubts as to his vocal prowess or to the magnificent entertainer that he had become.

Version Two – 11 November 1970 - Portland
Performed during just his second show of his second tour of the seventies is essentially a hybrid of the August 1970 and those heard in 1972.
In keeping with the obvious fun that Elvis was having away from the constraints and nightly repetition of Vegas, he is unable to get the song started and keeps ending up in laughter. Many are jokingly blamed for this with Charlie Hodge, pianist Glen Hardin and The Sweet Inspirations all having the jocular finger pointed in their general direction.
In the end however, after the laughter fades, Elvis gives a quite outstanding and rousing version of a song which would continue to be a staple of his live show for the next seven years or so.

Version Three – 10 November 1971 – Boston Garden
In this performance, Elvis’ vocal has evolved again but still giving yet another powerhouse rendition with a cracking reprise!

Version Four – 14 April 1972 Evening Show – The Greensboro Coliseum
Many fans count this as their favourite version and it is obvious, particularly towards the songs conclusion how much enjoyment Elvis is getting out of this performance.
If you watch carefully towards the end of the final chorus you can hear and see Estelle Brown of 'The Sweet Inspirations' shout 'yeah' completely in keeping with the spirit of the performance.

Version Five – 3 September 1973 Closing Show – Las Vegas
This version 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, 'Ted Mack Amateur Hour' 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.

Version Six – 21 May 1974, Midnight Show – Lake Tahoe
A slightly different arrangement now, but nonetheless a stirringly beautiful rendition

Version Seven – 2 June 1975, Evening Show – Mobile
With the later tour arrangement and Elvis still manages to give a very touching intimate performance.

Version Eight – 30 November 1976 – Anaheim
Hardly performed throughout the year, Elvis gives a powerhouse rendition with an extended intro.

Version Nine – 26 June 1977 – Market Square Arena, Indianapolis
Fittingly, having been a staple of his live show for the last seven years, the song is given it’s all by Elvis during his final live show of his life.

As with all of these videos, to get the most out of the re-edited audio, I highly recommend you use ear /headphones and turn the volume up as much as you dare!

- Written, remastered and uploads are by Leon Smith, you must check out his YT channel ASAP !
1971 - an awesome year of music and films !