Post here all reviews related to Offical RCA/BMG/FTD releases

Fri Apr 08, 2005 4:52 pm

Kristian Hjelmaas wrote:
sam wrote:Yes it does look like a good release.


:D


...And a great release it turned out to be! :D
The only complaint I have, is the tape damages here and there, most noticeable on the intro of Snowbird.
But this was a "known" problem on the 1971 soundboard recordings, so I guess we can do nothing about it...

Br
Kristian


I agree it is a great shame regarding Snowbird - I was bummed when I heard that tape fault - I thought my CD player had fried!

In general though I can't agree with the comment "and a great release it turned out to be!" - this is the only FTD disc I've bought so far that has been a major disappointment. Elvis is so clearly not into it. Wasn't this around the time of a threat on his life? Because he's really rattling through these songs like he wants to get out of there!

It's a shame - I mean hearing this, the first ever 2001 Intro for an Elvis show, really gets your expectations up.....

In general the bonus songs from other shows outclass the stuff from the featured date to my ears. Apart from Snowbird, there's a fairly good It's Now Or Never, and a version of Make The World Go Away that I really enjoyed (I never cared much for the studio version). So maybe Ernst chose the wrong show?

This version of How Great Thou Art should have remained under lock and key though. Dear Lord, but it's a trainwreck!

I'm glad I now have something from a 1971 show, but I have to say that it sounds to me like everything I've ever read about Elvis having a off season has more than a grain of truth to it. After all, there was no cameras this time round and it was the 4th such season - you can understand how Elvis might have been feeling a little underwhelmed.....

Just my two pence.

Jules

Wed Jun 22, 2005 6:37 pm

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I rather prefer "Johnny Savage's" review here on FECC :

The Impossible Dream
One of the cooler propositions from the Follow That Dream collectors-only label is a goal to issue a representative disc from each Elvis Presley tour, Las Vegas visit or Lake Tahoe stand. The Impossible Dream is producers Ernst Jorgensen and Roger Semon's keepsake of Elvis' fourth Las Vegas assignment in January 1971, featuring most of the January 28 dinner show and eight "bonus" tracks from other nights. It's a fascinating listen, and not just because the producers include a rare performance of "Snowbird," Anne Murray's massive pop hit of the time.

What can you say about a concert where the star jokes "I ain't gonna work too hard tonight, hell, I just got through eatin'" and you consider he actually means it? In the case of Elvis Presley, it's just his fourth month-long Vegas residency in barely a year and a half. Maybe it's another night's work. But the unspoken subtext here is that his audience will accept the performer no matter how he chooses to behave, a sentiment that will ultimately ruin the man and his music.

The previous few months up to this visit are quite active for Elvis. In September 1970 he wraps a nine-city U.S. tour, his first in 13 years, and a brief Nashville singles session that also completes his superb Elvis Country album. The documentary on his return to the concert stage "That's The Way It Is" opens in November to respectable reviews and decent business while the live Presley show hits the U.S. west coast for eight more successful nights. Right before his usual Christmas holiday festivities at home in Memphis, Elvis has a fight with his family and spontaneously flies alone to Washington D.C., procuring a private meeting with President Richard Nixon and gaining an authentic DEA badge in the process.

A few weeks later, on January 16, 1971, one of the proudest moments of Presley's career transpires at a Saturday evening awards banquet in Memphis. Elvis is a recipient of the "One of the Ten Outstanding Young Men of the Year" award from the U.S. Junior Chamber of Commerce, also known as the "Jaycee Award." For Elvis, it reflects acceptance, respect and recognition from a world that has usually vilified him. He will never again travel without the trophy at his bedside.

Despite all of this, the fellow who hits the stage for the Thursday evening dinner show less than two weeks later is hit and miss with his energy, focus and grit. Presley begins his fourth song of the set by cutting it off mid-sentence. "There goes my ... I don't want to do that," explains Elvis, opting for a Neil Diamond cover instead. "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling," a show-stopper the previous August, loses its dramatic bridge. "Three times and out," commands Presley to the band, mid-chorus, and so it ends in less than three minutes.

The dynamic "Polk Salad Annie," tempo almost doubled from prior incarnations, socks the clock in about two and a half minutes. What happened to the swamp? It must have dried up. Elvis offers a verse of "Love Me," asks his guitar player to "give me an 'A'" and tosses off a fleeting "Blue Suede Shoes" instead. It's a bizarre example of showmanship.
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And yet, there are highlights as well. Presley's wry humor is still present. "I stepped in a plate of butter!" he observes during "Love Me Tender." The afore-mentioned "Snowbird" finds Elvis joshing to the band before one of two false starts, "What's the middle of it? I got the rest of it." On some of the songs the magic is overwhelming, as in the CD's title track. The pacing of "The Impossible Dream" is more deliberate, the arrangement less weighty and his vocal more delicate than the official version, cut about twelve months later. It's worth noting that Presley spent the better part of the year trying to decide if this would become his permanent set-closer, although it ultimately loses out to his hit ballad "Can't Help Falling In Love."

"How Great Thou Art" may be the first time Elvis gave a Vegas audience a taste of gospel music. The arrangement and vocal are loose, almost as if it's a rehearsal. And yet it's closer to his 1966 Grammy-winning LP performance than anything he'd do later on. It doesn't come without some trouble. "Hold it -- turn the lights to the stage up, man, I can't see where I'm at, you know, I'm going fall off on these tables, and they'll sue the hell out of me," snaps Presley after a false start. A reasonable effort on "There Goes My Everything" from the previous night apparently experiences some pacing problems. "You gotta watch me, Tutt," instructs our hero mid-song to his drummer. Welcome to the Elvis Presley Show, Ronnie.

The disc is rounded out with other uncommon but honorable tracks like "Only Believe" and "Make The World Go Away," all in all creating a terrific keepsake of an unusual moment in Presley history, the time when Elvis' threshold for boredom has been reached. Somehow, his management doesn't innately sense it is time for a change. Something has to give. The Impossible Dream marks where this battle began to be lost.

[Johnny Savage, USA]
Last edited by Gregory Nolan Jr. on Wed Nov 30, 2005 2:12 am, edited 2 times in total.

Fri Nov 18, 2005 1:46 pm

That's right. The battle started to be lost. But Elvis had long term contracts that he had to fulfill, even it may not have been the cleverest choice to sign such contracts. I guess he could have made a lot more money, if he had only signed for one engagement. The money would have been better and Elvis would have been more flexible.

I don't know wether I should like this cd or not. The sound is pretty crappy and Elvis doesn't seem to be too interested in his performance either. But still some versions are very well delivered and there aren't too much recordings from 1971 out there, at least not much good sounding ones. It's nice to have some rare songs like ONLY BELIEVE or SNOWBIRD in the collection and there are pretty good performances of THERE GOES MY EVERYTHING and MAKE THE WORLD GO AWAY, too. Even LOVE ME sounds great. But still you get the impression that Elvis started loosing interest. Some songs where cut short (THE WONDER OF YOU, BLUE SUEDE SHOES,etc.) and Elvis made a litte too much fun of some of his tunes.

The battle really startet to be lost....

Fri Nov 18, 2005 2:46 pm

dl wrote:Some songs where cut short (THE WONDER OF YOU, BLUE SUEDE SHOES,etc.) and Elvis made a litte too much fun of some of his tunes.


The notable case of cutting the songs short is Lovin' Feelin' where he winds it up before the band have even played the bridge.

And as for making fun of the songs - the disaster that is How Great Thou Art!

There are some good tracks on this FTD, but overall it's something of a depressing experience. Let's put it this way - you need to have the 'track skip' button on your remote very close to hand....

:(

Jules

Fri Nov 18, 2005 9:19 pm

Incidentally, I have this FTD but was wondering how it compares
to All Things Are Possible (1995)
Diamond Anniversary Editions DAE 3595-4
Live, Las Vegas, 1971/01/27 M.S.

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Is there some overlap? Different nights, what?

Wed Nov 23, 2005 6:14 pm

Gregory Nolan Jr. wrote:Incidentally, I have this FTD but was wondering how it compares
to All Things Are Possible (1995)
Diamond Anniversary Editions DAE 3595-4
Live, Las Vegas, 1971/01/27 M.S.

Image

Is there some overlap? Different nights, what?


There is some overlap, such as There Goes My Everthing and Only Believe. It is the midnight show, so Elvis is in a better mood. Its actually a pretty solid set, thought Elvis is operating at about 75%. That said, 1971 soundboards are rare: the other two from this season are 2001's Snowbird and Fort Baxter's Lean, Mean and Kickin' Butt.

Wed Nov 23, 2005 7:26 pm

I prefer All Things Are Possible over the all of the '71 Vegas shows mentioned above.

However, with 1971 soundboard shows being so rare, they are all nice to have in the 'ol collection.

Wed Nov 23, 2005 8:34 pm

Thanks, Mike for the info and Rob as well...and for not bringing
up a certain '74 concert in the great state of Tennessee... :lol:

Wed Nov 23, 2005 10:33 pm

I told you I was going to drop it and now you're provoking me again!

I'll let it slide this time though and won't bring up a certain FTD that was recorded in Memphis in 1974.

In March.


Great show.



One of the better FTD's.



But my lips are sealed.

Wed Nov 23, 2005 10:55 pm

Gregory Nolan Jr. wrote:Thanks, Mike for the info and Rob as well...and for not bringing
up a certain '74 concert in the great state of Tennessee... :lol:


You're welcome, Greg. Great packaging on that release, what one usually got from DAE releases.

Thu Nov 24, 2005 11:36 am

To Rob: I didn't know that Elvis performed in Memphis in 1974. What is the cd all about?

8)

Thu Nov 24, 2005 2:33 pm

Greg will gladly tell you all about it. Not from actually having it of course, but I'm sure he'll gladly share things he's heard.

Fri Nov 25, 2005 6:12 am

"...Har, har, hardy har-har.." I thought you said you were
done with this "comedy" routine. I provoke you? :lol:

For the record, I own the RCA CD -and have enjoyed an on-line version of the bootleg that in fact is the full, "uncut" version. :lol:

That FTD better be damned good after all of this hectoring.
:evil:

Fri Nov 25, 2005 6:22 pm

Gregory Nolan Jr. wrote:That FTD better be damned good after all of this hectoring.


Providing it's still available in a few years.

Tue Nov 29, 2005 5:28 am

I like this FTD, it's great to have a '71 Vegas show offically released! Very glad to have this CD in my collection!

JEFF d
Elvis fan

Wed Nov 30, 2005 12:26 am

Here's more to discuss from EIN's review. I wasn't quite as impressed. . .

The Impossible Dream.
By Elvis' 4th season in Las Vegas the excitement & novelty of live performing in front of the gambling crowd was already wearing off. After the dynamic performances of the previous 'That's The Way It Is' shows Elvis had conquered Vegas and had little more to prove to the casino rollers. Having already tasted the intensity of being On Tour and regular audiences of 12,000 or more, the International showroom was becoming just another job.

While Elvis stated in 1972 that "Every song is like we do it for the first time…The feeling is there every time.. We never let it down, 'cos there is a new audience out there", he obviously wasn't following his own advice during these pretty sloppy, early 1971 shows.

Understandably RCA/BMG have never released a live concert from this period and although fans have been demanding a 1971 live release, Ernst & FTD were never going to be able to satisfy everyone with this CD for a variety of reasons.
1. If they issued the excellent Jan 27th Midnight show then they would be damned by people who already owned the 'All Things Are Possible' bootleg.
2. If they issued a substandard newly found show then FTD would be blamed for not showing Elvis in a better light.
3. If they issued a compile of 'best moments', then FTD would be blamed for not issuing a complete show and misrepresenting Elvis' true history.

FTD bravely decided to go with issuing the previously unavailable Jan 28th Dinner Show along with some compiled bonus songs. However this time it just doesn't work, especially when compared to the quality of the previous TTWII shows and also the '1974 Live In Memphis' FTD release of the same time.

In 1971 The Hilton asked Elvis to keep his performances under an hour (so the audience would get back to gambling!) and maybe this new directive, along with the disappointment of doing Dinner shows, increased Elvis' dissatisfaction.

The cover photo is one of FTD's best but the large red ELVIS letters on the front (deliberately obscuring a great photo of Elvis) seem to emphasise the potential power & excitement of this live show. And the start certainly is exciting using tracks from the Opening night.

Here we have the very first use of 'Also Sprach Zarathustra' as the dynamic introduction followed by a powerhouse 'That's All Right'. At this point we move onto the newly discovered Jan 28th Dinner show during which Elvis plays it very loose, with lots of lyric changes, laughing and several false starts. Elvis stops 'Sweet Caroline' for apparently no reason and apologises saying, "That's the way we do things up here"! Hardly professional, and this is repeated on several performances, with some songs also cut very short.

After a vague start on 'Love Me' Elvis just gives up after one verse. He explains to the audience, "You see what's really funny is these people don't know what I'm going to do 'cos we know like 200 songs and so …" but it hardly justifies the ramshackle nature of the show for fans who may be seeing Elvis for the first & only time.

However there is no doubt that, following the instructions from management, Elvis does pack in the songs keeping them extremely short. This is a shame when 'Polk Salad Annie' is funky & fast and Elvis appears to be enjoying it but then cuts it down to only 2 minutes!

Similarly Elvis sounds fine on 'You've Lost That Loving Feeling' - listen to his pleading on "Something beautiful's dying" - but again he suddenly asks for the end after just 2 ½ minutes.

While there are some good performances, a song like 'Something' unfortunately seems spoiled by Elvis' laughing towards the end. (The 'All Things Are Possible' version is more sincere and there he even does a delightful reprise with Kathy Westmoreland).

In the main show an appreciated 'It's Now Or Never' is introduced to Elvis' (70's) set list for the first time and 'Johnny B Goode' (edited in & obviously showing the true excitement of the Opening show) is a blistering performance.

I am sure if you were at the concert then 'Suspicious Minds' would have been a stunner but the audio mix is a little thin here, which lets it down. There is no doubt that the highlight of the show is the finale and the total stunner of 'The Impossible Dream'. One of Elvis' best versions with an extended intro and a great audio mix, along with a delicious & unusual solo from the Imperials' Armond Morales. This track alone is an essential addition to your collection.

Elvis always worked harder and had more fun with the Midnight Shows and the Jan 27th Midnight show (featured on the bootleg "All Thing Are Possible") demonstrated how good Elvis could be if he put his mind to it.
The majority of the Bonus tracks are from this concert which somewhat emphasises the disappointment of the featured Dinner Show. 'Mystery Train/Tiger Man' again from the Opening night has power & energy and the fun Elvis intro of "Good evening ladies & gentlemen. My name is Johnny Cash.. "

'Love Me' is fabulous, a great audio mix and some mean chickin-pickin' guitar from James Burton. Here Elvis sings it with unusual sincerity, obviously digging James' guitar. At the end you can hear Elvis call for the rockin' 'One Night' which for some reason has been strangely left off this CD.

'There Goes My Everything' sung with the enthusiasm of a Midnight show is excellent and 'Make The World Go Away' shows Elvis in good humour and James Burton's guitar work shines.

Both 'Only Believe' and 'Snowbird' previously only available on bootlegs are both absolute treats and again vital for your collection. On 'Only Believe', a one-off live version, Elvis puts his soul into the lyrics. Listen to "I believe, yeah, yes, I believe" @ 1.50 and you know that Elvis really did! With the backing vocals just right this is sensational, just brilliant.

'Snowbird' is fascinating mainly because it is performed so spontaneously. Elvis asks the audience "Do you like the song Snowbird? We don't know it but if you like it we'll do it!" It is a treat and in vastly improved audio quality than on the bootleg of the same name. (However FTD have been slack in not editing out the bad tape stretch @1.14 that was fixed up in the bootleg). Again Elvis comments oddly to the audience, "I ain't gonna work too hard tonight. Hell, I just got through eating."!

Elvis started singing 'How Great thou Art' in November 1970 but this is the first official live release. Unfortunately Elvis stops the beginning complaining, "You better light this stage up or I'm going to fall off it, fool. If I fall off onto one of these tables there are going to sue the hell out of me!" He then fools around during the song and realises that he has to apologise for it afterwards. Interestingly in the context of the dynamic 'All Thing Are Possible' Midnight show this always sounded forgivable and fun, however here as a featured Bonus Song it just sounds plain sloppy and should have been left out.

The closer is the out-of-context 'Can't Help Falling In Love' that was actually played mid-show on Opening night as producer Hal Wallis was in the audience. In the real concert Elvis dedicates the song to "Mr Wallis who still makes very good films" but here they have used the 'Goodnight' speech from before 'The Impossible Dream' closer of Jan 29th. Elvis' comment to a girl from Atlanta, "People from Atlanta think that when they die they go to Memphis" is very spontaneous & cute though.

I applaud FTD for releasing anything new and for those who don't own bootlegs there are multiple treats here that do make this worth buying. However if the majority of FTD buyers don't own all the bootlegs, releasing 'All Things are Possible' in better audio with different bonus songs would have made greater sense. This would also have been a far more enjoyable CD, while at the same time still not distorting "Elvis history".

By November 1971 Elvis had shaken off his lethargy and was once again touring outside Vegas with awe-inspiring shows. If FTD have a November soundboard available then that is something from 1971 to really look forward to.

Verdict - With so many excellent Live Elvis concerts recently issued, EIN was disenchanted by this release, finding it neither Elvis nor FTD at their best. Having returned a few times to this CD there are unquestionably some treats here that do make this worth checking out, however I do feel that overall it could be disappointing for the unwary fan.

Review with images here.
Cheers
Piers

Wed Nov 30, 2005 2:45 pm

Great review Piers and pretty much exactly how I feel about the CD. I agree that the move to issue a complete show didn't work in this instance and that a comp would have been preferable.

I also agree that they should have tried to fix that Snowbird tape stretch - I had no idea that the bootleggers had fixed it - that makes it even more insufferable!

I also agree that HGTA should have been left off.

In fact I just plain agree with your review which is the main reason I liked it so much! :lol:

Jules
Last edited by familyjules on Fri Dec 02, 2005 2:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Wed Nov 30, 2005 6:25 pm

"I ain't gonna work too hard tonight. Hell, I just got through eating"! -Elvis


This is another sign that he'd traded the '60s movie grind
for the '70s Vegas grind. :roll:

Thu Dec 01, 2005 6:13 am

In fact I just plain agree with your review which is the main reason I liked it so much!
Jules


Jules I love your work & comments!
Thanks - Piers :smt028

Wed Jan 04, 2006 6:40 am

I agree 100% with Jules/Piers comments about this FTD release! :lol:

Wed Jan 04, 2006 6:27 pm

Allow me to break up the back slapping :lol: :
PiersEIN wrote:
re: The Impossible Dream. (FTD)
Elvis started singing 'How Great thou Art' in November 1970 but this is the first official live release. Unfortunately Elvis stops the beginning complaining, "You better light this stage up or I'm going to fall off it, fool. If I fall off onto one of these tables there are going to sue the hell out of me!" He then fools around during the song and realises that he has to apologise for it afterwards. Interestingly in the context of the dynamic 'All Thing Are Possible' Midnight show this always sounded forgivable and fun, however here as a featured Bonus Song it just sounds plain sloppy and should have been left out.


I agree that bonus tracks sometimes interfere with the coherence of the show, but on the other hand, the "bonus" tracks are just that.

I don't have any of the '71 boots: I appreciate that this FTD represented this song by including it.

:lol: