The dinner show has a mechanical feel about it, lacking fun and spontaneity, and lasts for only 56 minutes. Unfortunately there are some sound fluctuations in parts of show, variation in echo and also distortion on loud sections. This was due to the recording engineer adjusting mixing levels during the show, but it does not detract from the listening experience. The sound is much better than on other soundboards released from the same engagement. The most interesting tracks from this show are the three songs that Elvis chose to add to the repertoire for this season. Fever was originally recorded in 1960 for the Elvis Is Back album, and makes its live debut here with a seductive arrangement. What Now My Love has a false start with Elvis commenting that was the worst intro ever, and he also slips up with some the lyrics. My Way is the highlight of the show with an excellent rendition and unusual ending. Also, You've Lost That Loving Feeling is sung with passion and Hound Dog has an amusing introduction.
The bonus tracks following this concert are all from midnight shows, and not surprisingly, the level of intensity increases a notch or two. Little Sister/Get Back and It's Over are rare highlights from later that same evening. Elvis humorously rejects a request for It Hurts Me, as well as his latest single Burning Love, instead preferring to perform a sincere and dedicated version of It's Over.
The remaining tracks are from August 12, and feature excellent versions of: Proud Mary, Never Been To Spain, For The Good Times and Big Hunk O' Love. Elvis sounds more enthusiastic here, and combined with an improved sound quality, suggests that FTD could have released this show as an alternative. However, a 19 second snippet of a very promising Tiger Man indicates the tape is sadly incomplete.
Summer Festival provides an intriguing look at Elvis' career between two unique peaks - Madison Square Garden and Aloha from Hawaii. While Elvis sings well enough on most tracks, there is very little audience interaction as songs are sung straight after one another. The shows are quite professional with no fooling around, and only brief glimpses of that Presley magic and charisma. The CD contains a good representation of the strong material in Elvis' repertoire at that time. The distinctive mixture of rock n' roll and big ballads over 73 minutes should ensure soundboard fans are entertained by these unreleased selections.
Summer Festival - Elvis Presley CD
Also Sprach Zarathustra, See See Rider, I Got A Woman, Until It's Time For You To Go, You Don't Have To Say You Love Me, You've Lost That Loving Feeling, Polk Salad Annie, What Now My Love, Fever, Love Me, Blue Suede Shoes, One Night, All Shook Up, Teddy Bear/Don't Be Cruel, Heartbreak Hotel, Hound Dog, Love Me Tender, Suspicious Minds, Band introductions, My Way, American Trilogy, Can't Help Falling In Love, Little Sister/Get Back (Aug 11 MS), It's Over (Aug 11 MS), Proud Mary (Aug. 12 MS), Never Been To Spain (Aug. 12 MS), For The Good Times (Aug. 12 MS), A Big Hunk O'Love (Aug 12 MS), Tiger Man (opening only) (Aug 12 MS)
Summer Festival CD Review by Geoffrey Mc Donnell