Also listed under Scope 72 with the same reference number but I did not find a cover to compare it with this one. Contraband Music was a Virginia based label.
From a needledrop project of the CBM LP: “Old Elton John vinyl bootleg titled simply “Elton
John Live” on the Contra Band label. Contra Band were known in the early 1970s for producing often poor quality reissues of popular bootleg titles. This disc appears to be a copy of “Apple Pie” on the Highway Hi Fi label (HHCER 105) [no, it was the other way around]. Information in “Elton John – The Illustrated Discography” (Alan Finch, p74) indicates that this recording is from November 13th, 1972 in Norfolk, Virginia, during the fall leg of Elton’s 1972 US tour. This show was notable for the absence of guitarist Davey Johnstone who, as Elton explains, was in a New York hospital owing to a tooth abscess. Ouch! Elton comments during the band intro that he hopes Davey’s absence “won’t make that much difference anyway”. Double ouch!
Note that “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” is not from Norfolk, but has been dropped in from Elton’s show at the Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, on September 7th, 1973. You can certainly find this track in better quality than it is here, but I have left it in for the sake of completeness.
I would rate the quality of the recording as decent audience, although sounding somewhat distant, maybe 6 out of 10. The balance between the instruments is fine and all in all the recording is very listenable. The crackliness of the vinyl might subtract another point if that sort of thing bothers you. I have not attempted any cleaning up of the source material. Song separation and fades have been left as they are on my vinyl copy.
But what about the music! This is a very nice show in my opinion, as you get to hear Elton in three-piece mode a la the good old days of 1970. “Tiny Dancer” and “Daniel” (the latter in the can but not yet released) are performed solo, then Elton is joined by Dee and Nigel for the rest of the show. The Honky Château tracks are sublime, and “Can I Put You On” is given the extended treatment. The audience is quiet and respectful throughout, with only the occasional unrestrained interjection.
Based on other setlists from this tour it seems that the tracks presented here, though separated with fades, are a fair representation of the first half of a late-1972 Elton show.
Elton John: piano, vocal
Dee Murray: bass, vocal
Nigel Olsson: drums, vocal
Davey Johnstone: guitar, vocal (track 8)
November 13th, 1972
Scope Auditorium – Norfolk, Virginia, USA (Except track 8: September 7th, 1973. Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, USA)
Sound quality: 5-6
Running time: 43:48
ej19721113_t01 Tiny Dancer [5:54]
ej19721113_t02 Daniel [3:30]
ej19721113_t03 Band introduction & tuning [1:16]
ej19721113_t04 Susie (Dramas) [3:18]
ej19721113_t05 Your Song [3:54]
ej19721113_t06 Levon [6:29]
ej19721113_t07 Can I Put You On [8:16]
ej19721113_t08 Goodbye Yellow Brick Road [2:56]
ej19721113_t09 Mona Lisa’s and Mad Hatters [4:48]
ej19721113_t10 Honky Cat [3:27] “
[A soundboard recording that was supposedly recorded at this show has the following tracks: Tiny Dancer- Suzie- Border Song- Can I Put You On- Rocket man- Madman Across The Water- Country Comfort- Take Me To The Pilot- Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin On]