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Elvis Presley's On Stage Sparkles Like Las Vegas

By: Craig Shelburne
Source: CMT
March 27, 2010 - 1:10:52 PM
Elvis Reviews, Elvis CD Reviews

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To commemorate the 40th anniversary of Elvis Presley's engrossing On Stage album, the fine folks at Legacy Recordings have reissued it as a double-disc set that captures him in Las Vegas at a critical point in his career. Presley had spent most of the 1960s making unmemorable movies but the famed '68 Comeback Special brought him an enormous television audience. Listening to 'On Stage', as well as the additional reissue of 'Elvis In Person', it's clear that Presley gave this engagement his best shot. The Wonder of You, a vocal tour de force, originally came from 'On Stage', but I had never heard his lively rendition of Neil Diamond's Sweet Caroline. I wouldn't have thought that would work, but now I'm a believer.

I was too young to ever see him in concert, but I can visualize the 'Vegas Elvis' working the stage whenever I hear Walk a Mile in My Shoes. One of the bonus tracks is an early performance of a future signature hit, Kentucky Rain, and another is a rehearsal of The Wonder of You, in which he swaps out the word 'inspiration,' causing the band (and me) to giggle when he croons, 'You give me hope and constipation'.

'On Stage' was recorded in February 1970, while 'Elvis In Person' comes from his August 1969 concerts. ('Elvis In Person' was initially released as the first disc of 'From Memphis to Vegas -- From Vegas to Memphis' in 1969, then reissued a year later as a single album.) You can hear the women shrieking when he busts out In the Ghetto, although I'm partial to his unexpected cover of the Bee Gees' Words.

Among the six bonus tracks here is a live rendition of Willie Nelson's Funny How Time Slips Away. Indeed, it is funny. But don't be mistaken -- this reissue is seriously cool.

Buy On Stage 2 CD Legacy Edition

Elvis Presley CD, Book and DVD Reviews Review: On Stage: Legacy Edition 2 CD Set
Articles about Elvis Presley Elvis On Stage is a Hit with Critics

Elvis Presley Video Tupelo's Own Elvis Presley DVD

Tupelo's Own Elvis Presley DVD + 16 page booklet.

Never before have we seen an Elvis Presley concert from the 1950's with sound. Until Now! The DVD Contains recently discovered unreleased film of Elvis performing 6 songs, including Heartbreak Hotel and Don't Be Cruel, live in Tupelo Mississippi 1956. Included we see a live performance of the elusive Long Tall Sally seen here for the first time ever.

This is an excellent release no fan should be without it.

The 'parade' footage is good to see as it puts you in the right context with color and b&w footage. The interviews of Elvis' Parents are well worth hearing too. The afternoon show footage is wonderful and electrifying : Here is Elvis in his prime rocking and rolling in front of 11.000 people. Highly recommended.