latest release by Madison contains a soundboard recording of the midnight show
performed on the 12th August in Las Vegas. Although this show is previously
unreleased, five tracks have been issued before on the FTD title: Summer
Festival, as bonus material. These include: Proud Mary, Never Been To Spain, For
The Good Times, A Big Hunk Of Love and the same short burst of Tiger Man. As
Can’t Help falling In Love and the closing vamp were not recorded, they have
been taken from the dinner show the previous day to provide a satisfying
conclusion to the featured show.
comes with a nicely illustrated 16 page booklet containing a multitude of photos
from this period (24 of which are in colour) along with liner notes setting the
show in context. The picture disc also has an interesting and attractive design,
depicting the words ‘Summer Festival’ in red, superimposed on a black
background, making a change from the usual photo of Elvis. It’s refreshingly
different and effective.
sound quality is excellent, being both well balanced and exceptionally clear
which allows us to enjoy these songs anew. As a guide, the sound appears fuller
and richer in tone than the FTD title, with more bass and less hiss apparent on
the quieter songs. The sound is superbly detailed, yet also captures the echo
and ambiance of the showroom on the slower songs resulting in an appealing
CD starts with the 2001 introduction, which appears to have been taken from the
show the day before, as there is a clear edit just before the opening vamp. See
See Rider follows, with the bass upfront and deliciously clear in the mix. (Listen
out for the bass during the guitar break—it’s superb). Afterwards he remarks,
“Well…that’s about it,” before launching into I Got A Woman, which
includes a short Amen chorus during the ending.
Mary is next, which rocks hard and ends with him shouting out enthusiastically.
Never Been To Spain follows as one of the last documented performances of this
song. It’s taken slowly, with the controlled tension rising to a hypnotic
climax. The band really hit a groove on this one and the sound quality is
amazing; a true highlight.
the mood is changed with Until It’s Time For You To Go, which is sung with
tenderness and conviction. Both the arrangement and orchestration are superb and
can be heard to great effect in this excellent mix. You’ve Lost That Lovin'
Feeling starts with an enthusiastic ‘Whoa,’ which leads to another great
performance of this song. Once again, the tremendous sound quality allows every
instrument to be heard to maximum effect.
Salad Annie features an extended introduction where he says, “I forgot what I
was going to do.” However it turns into another intense and overwhelming
performance, which ends with him commenting, “…That woke me up anyway.”
After this he welcomes the audience, which leads to some fan interaction while
he regains his breath.
interlude ends with him saying, “I’m supposed to get serious for a moment
right now,” before continuing with What Now My Love. This was a new song this
season which goes on to receive a fine perfectly paced performance. Fever is
sung next, as the second new song this evening and sounds wonderfully
atmospheric, with the violent drum fills featured to great effect in this sound
Me follows this, being the first in a series of ‘50’s hits played back to
back in a ‘medley’ lasting over eleven minutes. This version features some
deliciously crisp drumming with Elvis saying ‘whoops’ at several points as
he gives out scarves. It ends with a particularly soulful ‘Oh yeah.’ Blue
Suede Shoes and One Night also benefit from the amazing clarity of the drums,
which provide added interest here. In All Shook Up which follows, he can be
heard laughing and later misses out a complete verse as he engages with his
Teddy Bear / Don’t Be Cruel medley is followed by Heartbreak Hotel, which has
an organ high in the mix that I have never noticed before. The detailed clarity
of these 50’s hits is simply fantastic on this recording; indeed I can’t
recall them ever sounding better than they do here. Finally, Hound Dog is
introduced as his ‘message song,’ which begins with a teasing funky blues
prelude before the tempo is doubled for the faster version.
The Good Times is performed next, with this version sounding wonderfully
intimate and benefiting from a beautiful orchestrated arrangement. Indeed it
would have been a faultless performance but for the lyric change ‘Warm and
sweaty body close to mine.’ Suspicious Minds follows this, which seems
uninspired by comparison, but was no doubt an exciting spectacle for those
present. Afterwards he introduces the members of his group, which is completed
in just over a minute; how things would change in later years.
Way was the third new song for this engagement and is sung with unmistakeable
sincerity, proving that even at this point he strongly identified with the
lyrics. A great version of American Trilogy follows this, featuring a superb
sustained vocal reach on the ending. Afterwards he says, “Let’s do A Big
Hunk Of Love,” which is given an energetic workout and provides a perfect
antidote to the controlled passion of the previous song.
inspired by this, he calls out, “Give me an E chord” and proceeds with ‘an
off the cuff’ Tiger Man. Unfortunately the recording ends after two lines, but
even this short excerpt is enough to ascertain that this was another committed
and exciting performance. After this, Can’t Help Falling In Love and the
closing vamp are included from the dinner show the day before to round off the
In conclusion, whilst this may seem merely a routine show, with a typical set-list, both the excellent sound quality and a faultless mix make this one a real treat. This has to be one of the best soundboards ever released—don’t miss it!
SOUND RATING *****
Reviewed by Mike Sanders (UK)