These rehearsals lasted almost up to the first concert (The Alternate Aloha) on Friday January 12. The following night, at 12.30 a.m. January 14, Elvis took to the stage for the 'main event', Aloha From Hawaii, which was beamed via satellite around the world and seen in more than 40 countries by an estimated 1.5 billion people. More than $75,000 was raised for the Kui Lee Cancer Fund from voluntary donations on admission to each concert.
The magnitude of the event demanded Elvis step up to a new level and he did just that, performing at his vocal best with a power and feeling rarely matched in any other performance, or for that matter any other artist!
Aloha From Hawaii (the first live concert performance via satellite) was broadcast live to Asia and Australia, then on the following night to Europe. Aloha was not shown in the USA until April 4, when an expanded version was aired on NBC attracting 51% of the viewing audience.
The resulting RCA double LP, released in February, was the first quadraphonic release to top the charts. It was certified double platinum and spent a total of 52 weeks on the charts. (Aloha From Hawaii uncut CD)
Now 31 years after the event we are treated to the ultimate 'Aloha From Hawaii' DVD release containing not only the historic January 14 concert but also the rehearsal concert recorded on January 12.
Also included is the post concert 'insert song' session where Elvis recorded five songs ('No More' was not used) that were added to the expanded American TV broadcast. The original American broadcast version complete with the original bonus songs has been included for historical purposes.
Disc one starts with Elvis' arrival by helicopter from Honolulu airport and the subsequent greeting of the fans. This footage lasts 17.20 minutes although it takes some eight minutes before Elvis' helicopter actually lands. It shows a relaxed Elvis meeting and greeting excited fans before he is whisked away to rehearsals.
Next up are the two concerts, which have been re-edited from scratch and are complete without any forced omissions due to 'copyright reasons' that have plagued the recent Aloha and 68 Comeback Special DVD releases. Many new camera angles have been included resulting in a vastly improved and cohesive concert experience. Songs such as 'Burning Love' and 'Suspicious Minds' now appear more dramatic thanks to the better camera choices. The camera set up is essentially the same in both shows, yet each contains unique shots and together with a different looking Elvis hair cut both concerts are special in their own way.
Elvis Presley: Aloha From Hawaii, January 14, 1973
The sound quality is also greatly improved, with all instruments and backing vocals clearer than ever before, complimenting Elvis' fine performance. Elvis is more relaxed in the rehearsal show, smiling and interacting more with the audience than he does the following night. Some performances are not as polished ' for example Elvis misses some of the lyrics to 'Burning Love' - and generally preserving his voice by holding back on some high notes. However songs such as 'Steamroller Blues' benefit from the relaxed approach. Whereas in the satellite performance, 'You Gave Me A Mountain' and 'I'll Remember You' stand out because of a more focused Elvis.
The remastered sound and picture are most welcome and each show now has a whole new contemporary feel. Thankfully the original montage split screen effect that 'plagued' the original broadcast has been significantly reduced. According to EPE's Todd Morgan, the thing the production team are proudest of is 'Fever'.
'We spent a lot of time on that, doing everything we could to keep you on Elvis so you get to see what he's doing when everybody screams. On the original broadcast show, it's a montage screen, and much of it is on the audience, or you see these little blocks of him in the montage'.
Disc two contains the after concert 'insert songs' recording session and the original American broadcast version of the show. Elvis returned to the stage sometime after the end of the live broadcast to record the following five songs for inclusion in the American TV version. 'Blue Hawaii', 'KU-U-I-PO', 'No More' (not used), 'Hawaiian Wedding Song' and 'Early Morning Rain'. Here we see a tired but professional Elvis completing his contract for the show. This is a real bonus for the fans, allowing us a unique view of Elvis' recording process.
We see Elvis' patience and humor despite the late hour and some technical glitches.
Due to how the session was produced to allow for the addition of Hawaiian scenery, it has been possible to present the footage from both cameras on screen at the same time.
Overall, an exciting and nicely packaged set with informative booklet.
Cue card for 'Welcome To My World' during the Aloha From Hawaii Special in 1973. (Photo not seen on DVD)
Read more about the Aloha Special, including a video interview with show director, Marty Pasetta
Elvis Presley: Aloha From Hawaii Press Conference - September 4, 1972
Elvis Presley Rare Aloha interview - November 20, 1972
ELVIS, Aloha from Hawaii, Deluxe Edition DVD
Disc 1 (running time: 02:18:27)
Chapter 1: Elvis Arrives and Greets Fans [January 9, 1973]
Chapter 2: Rehearsal Concert [January 12, 1973] (21 tracks)
Also Sprach Zarathustra / See See Rider / Burning Love / Something / You Gave Me a Mountain / Steamroller Blues / My Way / Love Me / It's Over / Blue Suede Shoes / I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry / Hound Dog / What Now My Love / Fever / Welcome To My World / Suspicious Minds / Introductions by Elvis / I'll Remember You / An American Trilogy / A Big Hunk O' Love / Can't Help Falling In Love
Chapter 3: Elvis, Aloha from Hawaii Concert [January 14, 1973] (24 tracks)
We think of Elvis as a pioneer but it's amazing how many of his trips off the map of expectations we forget. Who today thinks of him as the original explorer of live satellite broadcasts of entertainment events? Today we take such things for granted. But nobody had ever done anything like it before January 14, 1973.
When Elvis sent his live show out into the world, with a live audience that included almost forty per-cent of the TV sets in Japan, the very idea was audacious. (The only previous worldwide broadcasts had been
of President Richard Nixon's tour of China in February 1972.)
These two DVDs show that everyone, but most especially Americans, missed much of the best that Aloha had to offer. The concert and the rehearsal show from the night before are included here, re-edited from scratch and restored to absolute completeness, along with the complete after-concert insert-songs recording session and the complete raw footage from the staged 'arrival in Honolulu' scenes with Elvis for the opening of the special. There's also the American broadcast version to which to compare them. It’s a fascinating journey no matter in what order it's watched, and, as well as the most authentic, in terms of fidelity to a great '70s Elvis show, by far the most exciting version of Aloha that has ever been presented.
Also Sprach Zarathrusta - See See Rider - Burning Love - Something - You Gave Me A Mountain - Steamroller Blues - My Way - Love Me - Johnny B. Goode - It's Over - Blue Suede Shoes - I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry - I Can't Stop Loving You - Hound Dog - What Now My Love - Fever - Welcome To My World - Suspicious Minds - Introductions by Elvis - I'll Remember You - Long Tall Sally / Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On - An American Trilogy - A Big Hunk O' Love - Can't Help Falling In Love
Disc 2 (running time: 01:43:39)
Chapter 1: Post-Concert 'Insert' Songs Session [January 14, 1973] (12 tracks)
Chapter 1 (Run time: 27:00) -- Post-Concert 'Insert' Songs Session -- January 14, 1973
In the wee hours of the morning of January 14th, some time after the end of the 12:30 AM live concert transmission and the audience's departure, Elvis and the band returned to the empty arena with the television crew to tape five additional songs to be used for the expanded version of the show as it would be seen on American television for the first time on the following April 4th. (Ultimately, four of these songs were chosen for the American television special – No More was excluded.) Each of the four song performances that were chosen for the American special was put into a montage with Hawaiian scenery – meaning multiple images on screen all at once in video blocks. These were inserted at various points amid the footage of the concert.
This after-concert session was shot with two cameras. The positioning of the cameras – with Elvis off to one side or in a corner with lots of black background space – apparently was to accommodate and ease the construction of the montages of Elvis and Hawaiian scenery for the American special. A tricky thing to do, its seems, with the state of video production technology in 1973. For this DVD set all the black screen availability made it possible to present the complete tapes from both cameras on screen at once rather than assembling an edit from both. Here, for the very first time, are presented all takes of all five songs and all the other parts of the session that were captured on videotape, and there’s no Hawaiian scenery.
This is the after-concert 'insert song' session in complete, uncut and uncensored form.
Ku-U-I-Po - Take 1
Ku-U-I-Po - Take 2
Ku-U-I-Po - Take 3
No More - Attempted Take
No More - Take 1
No More - Take 2
Hawaiian Wedding Song - Take 1
Hawaiian Wedding Song - Take 2
Hawaiian Wedding Song - Take 3
Hawaiian Wedding Song - Take 4
Early Morning Rain
Chapter 2: Elvis, Aloha from Hawaii NBC TV Special [April 4, 1973 Broadcast Version] (29 tracks)
Paradise, Hawaiian Style / Also Sprach Zarathustra / See See Rider / Burning Love / Something / You Gave Me a Mountain / Early Morning Rain / Steamroller Blues / My Way / Love Me / Johnny B. Goode / It's Over / Blue Suede Shoes / I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry / I Can't Stop Loving You / Hound Dog / Blue Hawaii / What Now My Love / Fever / Welcome To My World / Suspicious Minds / Introductions by Elvis / I'll Remember You / Hawaiian Wedding Song / Long Tall Sally / Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On / Ku-U-I-Po / An American Trilogy / A Big Hunk O' Love / Can't Help Falling in Love