Thoughts On The Dead

Musings on the Most Ridiculous Band I Can't Stop Listening To

Late Show Gets Kinda Blue

This is 12/13/75 from the Las Vegas Hilton. It was the Midnight Show, and if there’s a more salubrious and enchantingly decadent phrase in the English language than “Midnight Show in Las Vegas,” then I don’t know it. It is, though, very odd to describe any show other than the Dead’s using the date.

The King’s still got his shit surprisingly together this late in the game and is in fine voice. As always, his band is one of the greatest ever assembled and puts up with him stopping and restarting songs, and making them do the endings two and three times, and just doing random pilled-up nonsense.

It doesn’t open, like all Elvis performances, with the greatest intro in musical history: the enormous band (that was actually so large it was made up of three or four smaller bands) BLASTING away at Also Sprach Zarathustra while the King assumed karate poses. No, this release opens a couple bars into C.C. Rider because–and this is not based on any reading or research, simply from a night of listening to Elvis live records–not one person in the entire TCB organization either knew or gave a shit how to put a live performance on tape. History shows that the culprit is probably the Colonel spending $35 to do it.

So, the opener was not recorded.

There was also no editing and all of Elvis’ banter with the rowdy audience is kept, even though none of it makes any sense.

True Elvisphiles will note with glee the introduction of Charlie Hodge. Enthusiasts will note that Benjy is Billy’s Charlie Hodge.


  1. Never actually listened to much Elvis before. Took me a minute to realize the first song was C.C. Rider because I have awful hearing. This is doing it for me.

  2. You haven’t lived until you’ve been to the annual Kingsized Elvis Royale birthday extravaganza with Big Mike Geier at the Variety Playhouse in Atlanta. Yes that is his real voice.

  3. Morning Douche

    July 10, 2015 at 10:24 am

    Also played by Elvis, also mid 70s, also drugs.

  4. This is why I go on and on about Ronnie Tutt (on other forums..). If you cross reference his schedule from 1975-77, he’s going from Elvis to Garcia, back to Elvis, back to Garcia…Two weeks after the show you linked to, he was with the JGB doing a week of holiday shows (the last with Nicky Hopkins on piano). You think there was some drug-running going on as a side business? I wouldn’t doubt it.
    Ronnie was all set to go on tour with Elvis when the call came that he’d died. So Jerry said “wanna record an album?” and so he spent the following weeks doing the Cats Under the Stars album.
    Ronnie’s been with Neil Diamond since 1981 and I just saw him a few months ago. Let’s just say he makes Billy K seem like a young man by comparison.

    • the complete Elvis On Tour database for the period is here:

      You can search by jumpsuit. Really, not joking. Ronnie Tutt, though hardly an innocent, was not a source of anything ill-advised for his employers, indeed quite the opposite. If you watch various Elvis concert films, Tutt is not only quite amazing, but plays in a disciplined, driving style that was in complete contrast to his tasteful shuffles with the Garcia Band.

      It is worth noting, however, that the very professional Tutt also played on the hits “Stoney End” (Barbara Streisand), “Easy Come Easy Go” (Bobby Sherman), “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves” (Cher), “Peace Train” (Cat Stevens) and “Piano Man” (Billy Joel), so he too has a past.

      If both Elvis and Jerry had lived, Ronnie Tutt could have led them through one last “Mystery Train” at the alternative universe Fare Thee Well.

      • Bookmarked already. You are a good man.

        Still so odd to me that they never met. It must have been Elvis hating hippies; you’ve got to think Garcia wanted to meet the King.

      • Thanks for the link, that’s great

      • If there had been an alternate universe Fare Thee Well with Jerry, Elvis and Ronnie Tutt, I would point out that Donna Jean would have been invited, since she sang on various Elvis records. The actual universe, not even counting my alternative one, is a very odd place indeed.

      • Everybody always criticizes Bob Weir’s antics, or his clothes, or other peripheral things, in my mind unfairly, but nonetheless Jerry seemed OK with it. Would Jerry have been more bothered by Elvis? I doubt it.

        In many ways you can see Jerry and Bob as a sort of cellularly divided Elvis, with his different characteristics assigned separately to each. I will leave that to others to document, however.

        • No, I think he would have loved Elvis’ nonsense: you’re right about that.

          I think it’s the onstage stuff: the cutting songs off and playing stuff twice.

          Or maybe he;d just enjoy the ride of being a sideman for once, yeah?

  5. Sir Luther Von Baconson

    July 10, 2015 at 2:30 pm

    E does Dylan

  6. Sir Luther Von Baconson

    July 10, 2015 at 3:16 pm

    one of my obsessions

  7. Sir Luther Von Baconson

    July 10, 2015 at 4:49 pm

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