This CD from
As ever, the artwork and design are superb and include a generous selection of photos together with a well written account of the featured show. However for many, the pertinent question concerns the sound quality, namely; how does it compare to what we have had before? The answer is simple—better than ever! It’s now noticeably clearer with better definition, yet still retains most of the ‘punch’ achieved by the Triangle release. The main difference is that this stereo mix is more balanced, which allows for a far greater appreciation of the musical arrangements and stage set-up, whereas before the focus was firmly on the drums, with a prominent bass drum punching throughout and raising the temperature accordingly.
The CD starts with the 2001 introduction, with the crowd’s excitement reaching a climax as Ronnie Tutt kicks off the show with an explosive opening drum salvo. This leads to a perfectly paced See See Rider, after which Elvis welcomes the audience with a simple “Good evening.” He then directs his band to “Take it down,” for a hard rocking cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Proud Mary. The detail provided by the mix here is staggering; even the handclaps from the backing groups are crisp and clear.
On Never Been To Spain, the band hit a groove and turn in a sublime performance, making Elvis’ later comment, “We’ll get the ending right one day,” a bit of a mystery. You Gave Me A Mountain follows as a new song for this year, first introduced into his set back in January. It’s a great version, with the drums high in the mix, which contributes to the power of the performance. After this, he sings his latest single, Until It’s Time For You To Go, with the crowd atmosphere adding extra interest to the proceedings.
“Take it on Jerry,” provides the cue for Polk Salad Annie, which is particularly exciting and involving in this mix and sound quality. It was obviously a draining performance, because afterwards he says,” You fellas can just lay down for a while; I’m going to stand here and look at the ceiling.” The ‘50’s hits are next, which start with Love Me, followed by All Shook Up and the Teddy Bear / Don’t Be Cruel medley. Each selection is greeted by a roar from the crowd and benefits from good crisp drumming, which can be heard to great effect in this sound quality.
In the build-up to Hound Dog, Elvis remarks, “I was a little weird kid, had little weird sideburns and guitar and so forth y’know….still doing the same thing; nothing different. “ He then proceeds with a teasing funky arrangement, before the tempo doubles for the usual fast-paced version. Heartbreak Hotel provides a temporary respite, before the pace picks up again for a barnstorming performance of A Big Hunk Of Love, with Elvis urging Glen Hardin to “Play it,” adding, “it’s your big chance man.”
Bridge Over Troubled Water is the superb performance featured in Elvis On Tour, but has been repaired here as the original tape was damaged. Evidence of the damage is provided as a bonus track and shows that approximately 30 seconds was missing following the opening bars at the start. It also shows how skilfully this repair has been carried out, as it is extremely difficult to detect; the only appreciable clue being the change from a mono to a stereo mix.
Suspicious Minds follows this, with some great piano backing audible in this mix. Afterwards he teases the audience by shouting out, “Well don’t you know,” as if to signal a further reprise. Love Me Tender features various ad-libs (….’my suit turn blue’….’till we lose our minds’), followed by the group introductions which are extremely succinct and completed in just over a minute. A fabulously soulful For The Good Times is performed next, followed by American Trilogy featuring an incredible sustained note on the ending.
He then addresses the audience, saying, “We’re gonna spring a new song on you tonight. We don’t know it too well but….if we goof it up just bear with us.” This remark heralds the first ever live performance of Burning Love, which proves to be a spirited attempt, but falls apart during the final chorus when the band miss his cue to end it. Elvis admits as much by commenting afterwards, “I thought we’d never end the bloomin’ thing,” adding, “Now that’s new and we’ve never done it on stage before, so if we goofed it up, I’m sorry.”
Release Me has him back on familiar ground, but its gentle rolling rhythm sounds rather pedestrian after the driving tempo of the previous song. Afterwards, he asks for the house lights to be turned up so he can see the audience, before continuing with Funny How Time Slips Away. This was another song featured in Elvis On Tour, which is particularly memorable for the moment during the ending when he points proudly at his belt buckle saying, “For those of you who can’t see back there, this is an owl.”
After this, he thanks his audience profusely, before calling out “Wise men” as the cue for Can’t Help Falling In Love. This results in another fine performance, followed by a short closing vamp which fades out before the announcements. Two bonus tracks follow this to round off the CD.
The first features a backstage discussion before his show in
In conclusion, this is a CD you will return to often—guaranteed. Many have mentioned that the enjoyment of this show actually builds with repeated listening, as the superb quality allows you to appreciate subtle nuances in the performance which can be overlooked on a casual listen. It is indeed that good and thus one of the finest releases ever issued by an Import label—faultless in design, content and production—they simply don’t get better than this! Consequently you’ll need to move fast, as reports are coming in that it’s already sold out.
SOUND RATING ******
Reviewed by Mike Sanders (