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Review : It's Midnight FTD CD - It's Midnight, and It's Magnificent!


By: David Adams
Source: ElvisPresley.com.au
October 20, 2002 - 5:58:00 PM
Elvis Reviews, Elvis CD Reviews, FTD

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It's Midnight FTD CD
It's Midnight FTD CD
Review

It's Midnight, the latest release on the FTD label brings us another concert.

This time the focus is on August 1974. Unfortunately the show isn't complete, as the producers explain in the notes that's because the average show in August 1974 was too long for a tape. The tape of this particular show from the 24th (Midnight) ran out after 'If You Talk In Your Sleep' and therefore the producers decided to complete it with a part of the August 29 Dinner Show for the 'complete concert' experience. The show itself is pretty good.

Thankfully Elvis isn't rambling too much, like in other shows we have from this engagement. In a lot of songs he sounds like he is in 'cruise control mode': not really inspired, except for a few demanding things like the ending of The Wonder Of You or How Great Thou Art. Maybe we are just spoilt, and are not as anxious to have a new show like a couple of years ago, before the soundboard-age. Still this CD gives almost 80 minutes (!) of listening pleasure, with a few highlights. It's Midnight is always a pleasure to listen to and I'm Leavin' is certainly one of the more attractive tracks. We prefer Spanish Eyes without overdone trumpets, but it is at least a more 'rare' live track. Polk Salad Annie gets almost irritating during the final, oh how we prefer the early versions. Gladly If You Talk In Your Sleep makes up a lot for the PSA-punishment. Ernst Jorgensen & Co. made a good decision to use a show with Early Morning Rain, always a pleasure to hear the 'earlier' versions of this song too. The entire CD is excellent, It's Midnight, and It's Magnificent!

Buy It's Midnight FTD CD

Track listing

It's Midnight - Elvis Presley FTD CD

1) See See Rider - 2:55 (Trad. Arr. E. Presley), 2) I Got A Woman/Amen - 6:50 (Ray Charles)(J. Hairston), 3) Love Me - 1:28 (J. Leiber/M. Stoller), 4) If You Love Me (Let Me Know) - 2:51 (John Rostill), 5) It's Midnight - 3:08 (B.E. Wheeler/J. Chesnut), 6) Big Boss Man - 2:36 (J. Reed), 7) Fever 3:13 (J. Davenport/E. Cooley), 8) Love Me Tender 1:43 (E. Presley/V. Matson), 9) All Shook Up - 1:08 (O. Blackwell/E. Presley), 10) The Wonder Of You - 2:14 (B. Knight), 11) I'm Leavin' - 3:10 (M. Jarrett), 12) Softly As I Leave You 2:50 (A. de Vita/H. Shaper), 13) Spanish Eyes - 3:25 (B. Kaempfert/C. Singleton/E. Snyder), 14) Hound Dog - 2:30 (J. Leiber/M. Stoller), 15) You Gave A Mountain - 3:06 (M. Robbins), 16) Polk Salad Annie - 4:21 (T.J. White), 17) Introductions. - 7:46 18) If You Talk In Your Sleep - 3:12 (R. West/J. Christopher), 19) Why Me Lord? - 2:58 (Kris Kristofferson), 20) Teddy Bear/Don't Be Cruel - 1:53 (Mann/lowe)(Presley/Blackwell), 21) How Great Thou Art - 2:57 (Stuart K. Hine) 22) Let Me Be There - 3:21 (John Rostill), 23) Early Morning Rain - 3:05 (G. Lightfoot) 24) Hawaiian Wedding Song - 5:01 (Hoffman/King/Manning), 25) Can't Help Falling In Love - 1:43 Peretti/Creatore/Weiss)

Review : It's Midnight FTD CD

Review

It's Midnight FTD CD
It's Midnight FTD CD

I always felt that the Vegas summer festival of 1974 was kind of a lost gem in the Elvis world. Ok, I admit that this was the precise space in time were the rot, that would soon consume Elvis, set in, but amidst of this, I think that his effort to turn the game in a more favored way to his career was one of his bravest moments. We all know how this tale begins and we surely know the sad way it ended. But it is the between part of this story that Ernst and the good folks at FTD decided to tell us.

It's Midnight! contains the August 24 Midnight show, and the ending of the August 29 show, as the first tape was incomplete.

The show is a solid performance. Better than most of his early '73 performances and sure much better than most of his '76 shows. Elvis is in fine voice, he is relaxed, and the performances are solid. His is in very good humor throughout the show, although his a little acid in some of his jokes, maybe a side effect of his disappointment in have to be back to the old pattern. But the show itself is interesting because he kept the base of the new concert, so all the new songs are here: 'If You Love Me (Let Me Know)', 'It's Midnight', 'If You Talk In Your Sleep', 'Softly...', omitting only 'Promised Land' and 'Good Times Charlie's Got The Blues'.

The value of the disc increases with the inclusion of some rare and unusual songs for the time, being they 'Spanish Eyes', 'The Wonder Of You' and 'Early Morning Rain'. The first is one of the highlights of the show, is very entertaining and works effectively in a 'live' environment although is not one of his greatest songs.

'The Wonder Of You' is not like the 1970 performances but it's better than his latter efforts ('75). He sings it in a relaxed way, even given some time for the musicians do the intro.

'Early Morning Rain' is unfortunately incomplete, about the whole first verse is missing, and its done in a fast tempo than the usual. Nice overall, but Elvis will do it better in the years to come.

For me, the best songs of his new program are 'It's Midnight', 'I'm Leaving' and 'If You Talk In Your Sleep', and they are no exception here. 'It's Midnight' is very focused and the overall performance is one of his best.

W. A. Harbinson, witnessed several shows from this engagement: 'Never mind his rushed version of 'Hound Dog'. He found the truth in 'It's Midnight' and that, whether or not you like it, is what Rock'n Roll is all about'.

A nice perspective!

'I'm Leavin' is a very haunting song, one that express a great loss and due to the circumstances of Elvis personal life at this time, his rendition only adds more meaning to the song.

'If You Talk In Your Sleep', is one of those neglected songs of the 70's. And boy, does this song work perfect live. Another song worth a listening are 'If You Love Me (Let Me Know)' (that unfortunately features DJ way too much in the spotlight) 'Softly, As I Leave You', one of the 'spine chill' moments, 'How Great Thou Art', always a classic and a crazy version of 'Let Me Be There'.

Overall the disc is full of good stuff and the total running time is over 70 minutes. Thanks Ernst and company for delivering a great show that will surely be much more than a cabinet filler.

Show: 4/5
Sound: 4-/5

Buy It's Midnight FTD CD

Track listing

It's Midnight - Elvis Presley FTD CD

1) See See Rider - 2:55 (Trad. Arr. E. Presley), 2) I Got A Woman/Amen - 6:50 (Ray Charles)(J. Hairston), 3) Love Me - 1:28 (J. Leiber/M. Stoller), 4) If You Love Me (Let Me Know) - 2:51 (John Rostill), 5) It's Midnight - 3:08 (B.E. Wheeler/J. Chesnut), 6) Big Boss Man - 2:36 (J. Reed), 7) Fever 3:13 (J. Davenport/E. Cooley), 8) Love Me Tender 1:43 (E. Presley/V. Matson), 9) All Shook Up - 1:08 (O. Blackwell/E. Presley), 10) The Wonder Of You - 2:14 (B. Knight), 11) I'm Leavin' - 3:10 (M. Jarrett), 12) Softly As I Leave You 2:50 (A. de Vita/H. Shaper), 13) Spanish Eyes - 3:25 (B. Kaempfert/C. Singleton/E. Snyder), 14) Hound Dog - 2:30 (J. Leiber/M. Stoller), 15) You Gave A Mountain - 3:06 (M. Robbins), 16) Polk Salad Annie - 4:21 (T.J. White), 17) Introductions. - 7:46 18) If You Talk In Your Sleep - 3:12 (R. West/J. Christopher), 19) Why Me Lord? - 2:58 (Kris Kristofferson), 20) Teddy Bear/Don't Be Cruel - 1:53 (Mann/lowe)(Presley/Blackwell), 21) How Great Thou Art - 2:57 (Stuart K. Hine) 22) Let Me Be There - 3:21 (John Rostill), 23) Early Morning Rain - 3:05 (G. Lightfoot) 24) Hawaiian Wedding Song - 5:01 (Hoffman/King/Manning), 25) Can't Help Falling In Love - 1:43 Peretti/Creatore/Weiss)

Review : It's Midnight FTD CD

Review

For Elvis 1974 was an emotionally turbulent year. This was his sixth singing to the Las Vegas casino audiences, still doing 2 shows a night, and he was really feeling the loss of Priscilla.

The dinner shows were beginning to bore him (people rattling cutlery) and who could blame him? Yet this inner turmoil helped produce the most fascinating Las Vegas season of his career. He gave some of his longest performances and with an incredibly varied set-list. The season started with some exceptionally good shows yet somehow Elvis managed to hit an all-time low by September. However when he was in a good mood, his voice sounded better than ever and the shows were excellent. RCA must have kicked themselves because Elvis, for the last time, introduced a new set list here yet they had only just released the 'regular' set on the March 'Elvis - Recorded Live On Stage In Memphis' LP.

On opening night Elvis bravely dropped many of his standard repertoire introducing a bunch of new songs & great oldies like 'Down in The Alley'. Sadly the audience just wanted the same old fare and showed lacklustre response and by Show 2 Elvis had gone back to his basic set list. This is the 11th show of the season.

'See See Rider', 'I Got a Woman', 'Love Me' & 'If you Love Me' are all ok versions where Elvis is warming up but track 5 is where the real interest starts. Elvis has already announced that he'd like to swing on a vine, like Tarzan, to get up to the balcony so you know he's on good form! 'It's Midnight' was recorded the previous December but had only just been released and Elvis mentions it as his new single. His voice is warmed up by now and he sings a lovely, affectionate and deliberate version. 'Big Boss Man' sounds fine (thankfully a newly introduced song that he didn't drop) and a great 'Fever' follows. Elvis has a lot of fun with the words (which works!) and is obviously having fun on stage - After the line 'She said Daddy oh don't you dare'.. he sings 'She had a deep voice' (instead of 'He gives me Fever') - clever & it fits perfectly! 'The Wonder of You' is rare for 1974 and Elvis confuses the band by coming in late. 'Softly as I Leave You' is a delicious version and you can hear the really appreciative audience response. 'Spanish Eyes' is a nice surprise with Elvis and Sherrill Neilsen duetting and is a real highlight. I even like the version of 'Hound Dog' that follows where Elvis plays delightfully with the start (you can really hear the echo of the showroom) and the band play it funkier than usual. 'You Gave Me a Mountain' is fascinating as in '74 Elvis was certainly struggling with a few Mountains of his own. This makes it very relevant and an interesting listen - In the final show (the 'Desert Storm' bootleg) Elvis denied that this song had anything to do with his personal life but then directly sings it to Priscilla! 'Polk Salad' follows, a song he never seemed to tire of - (what a shame he didn't do 'Promised Land' that night)

However Elvis is in a chatty mood and for once even the 'Introductions' are fascinating! Elvis explains to the audience how he + Red climbed over fences to paint the Showroom's 'Fat, funky angels' black! - This nicely shows that the wild boy spirit of the 50's was still within him. There is also some more funny dialogue where Elvis laughs and, believe it or not, mentions 'Stay-free' pads and explains what he uses for nosebleeds!

He then slams into another gem, the funky and excellent 'If You Talk in Your Sleep'. This was his last single released in the USA at the time (made the top 20) and the band do a great call & response, making it a real highlight of the CD (Funkier & better than the 'Live in Las Vegas' version). At this point the original tape ran out and the CD is completed with the Aug 29th Dinner show.

'Why Me Lord', 'Teddy Bear/Don't Be Cruel' are given the regular work outs but we're back on track with a great version of 'How Great Thou Art'. This song understandably won him a Grammy in 1974 and shows off his beautiful, rich voice. He also introduced Olivia Newton John's songs 'If you Love Me' and 'Let Me Be There' into his shows in 1974, not my favourites I admit, but Elvis is really enjoying himself and adds a reprise to 'Let Me Be There'. Sung 'for my Daddy' 'Early Morning Rain' is sadly incomplete but it is a great version. (Oddly at this point the CD + cover track listing begins to differ by one track).

As we head to the end Elvis explains that The Hilton only liked him to perform for 55 minutes but that he's been on for 1 hour 20 minutes already and he's going to sing some more! 'Hawaiian Wedding Song' is a lovely duet and there's more great banter before the final 'Can't Help falling'. Here Elvis talks about his suit and his diamond rings - 'You helped pay for them'!! - all in a friendly tease with the audience and he honestly explains that he loves being on stage as it's 'My life blood and I love it'.

Overall, maybe we don't need more average versions of his oldies and later Las Vegas shows never carried the sparkle you could hear in response from the larger audiences (Dixieland Rocks). However at 80 minutes this is an amazingly packed CD with an interesting selection of songs, as well as some great dialogue, which captures Elvis in 1974 in a far more satisfying way than CD4 of the 'Live in Las Vegas' box set.

Buy It's Midnight FTD CD

Track listing

It's Midnight - Elvis Presley FTD CD

1) See See Rider - 2:55 (Trad. Arr. E. Presley), 2) I Got A Woman/Amen - 6:50 (Ray Charles)(J. Hairston), 3) Love Me - 1:28 (J. Leiber/M. Stoller), 4) If You Love Me (Let Me Know) - 2:51 (John Rostill), 5) It's Midnight - 3:08 (B.E. Wheeler/J. Chesnut), 6) Big Boss Man - 2:36 (J. Reed), 7) Fever 3:13 (J. Davenport/E. Cooley), 8) Love Me Tender 1:43 (E. Presley/V. Matson), 9) All Shook Up - 1:08 (O. Blackwell/E. Presley), 10) The Wonder Of You - 2:14 (B. Knight), 11) I'm Leavin' - 3:10 (M. Jarrett), 12) Softly As I Leave You 2:50 (A. de Vita/H. Shaper), 13) Spanish Eyes - 3:25 (B. Kaempfert/C. Singleton/E. Snyder), 14) Hound Dog - 2:30 (J. Leiber/M. Stoller), 15) You Gave A Mountain - 3:06 (M. Robbins), 16) Polk Salad Annie - 4:21 (T.J. White), 17) Introductions. - 7:46 18) If You Talk In Your Sleep - 3:12 (R. West/J. Christopher), 19) Why Me Lord? - 2:58 (Kris Kristofferson), 20) Teddy Bear/Don't Be Cruel - 1:53 (Mann/lowe)(Presley/Blackwell), 21) How Great Thou Art - 2:57 (Stuart K. Hine) 22) Let Me Be There - 3:21 (John Rostill), 23) Early Morning Rain - 3:05 (G. Lightfoot) 24) Hawaiian Wedding Song - 5:01 (Hoffman/King/Manning), 25) Can't Help Falling In Love - 1:43 Peretti/Creatore/Weiss)

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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.