Review : That's The Way It Is 8 CD + 2 DVD Box Set

By: David Tinson
Source: Elvis Australia
August 23, 2014 - 7:27:04 PM
Elvis Reviews, Elvis CD Reviews, Elvis Articles, By David Tinson


His mojo recharged by the success of the hugely successful 1968 'Comeback Special' -- and his subsequent 1969 Las Vegas residencies - Elvis Presley's dynamic August 1970 Summer Festival extravaganza at the International Hotel Las Vegas smashed all attendance records and thrilled audiences both far and wide.

Originally conceived as a pay-per-view TV concert - 'Elvis: 'That's The Way It Is' documented his Las Vegas live shows with a tie-in soundtrack album release, including a mix of both studio masters and additional live material chosen from the selected live shows.

Now expanded and a veritable smorgasbord -- The Sony Legacy 'Elvis: That's The Way It Is' 8CD/2DVD (Deluxe Edition) includes the original album (plus bonuses) – and six complete live shows (two unreleased), with an additional CD of captivating fly-on-the-wall rehearsals, and two additional TTWII movie DVDs.

A stunning clear-as-a-bell sound sets the recordings apart from previous releases.

CD-1-Original Album:

Elvis recorded fresh new material in June 1970 at Nashville studios that formed the 'That's The Way It Is' album. It's a fascinating hybrid of live & studio material, and the albums standing is undisputed among fans (it includes 12 cuts - 4 live & 8 studio). The classic opener I Just Can't Help Believin' sets the scene. The studio material has a strong emotional feel and features detailed instrumentation that's perhaps missing on the live counterparts. 'Nothing's quite as pretty, as Mary in the morning', (Mary In The Morning) -- Elvis sings the beautiful lyric that has a profound melancholy, akin to Swedish pop giants, ABBA's best work. In fact, many of the selections here deal with themes of a most intimate adult nature. The killer lyric on I've Lost You a case in point: 'Who can tell when summer turns to autumn, and who can point, the moment love grows cold?' Maybe he was drawn to these type of songs due to his own relationships but there's no denying the stirring emotional power on offer here.

More standouts: 'I left my home up in the hills, far behind me. I left my wife with unpaid bills, she can't find me. I'm trying out the world for size, find that it's not paradise, it's lonely', Elvis pleads on Twenty Days And Twenty Nights, a balled par excellence. In addition there's Patch It Up's obvious charms, as seen to great effect in the movie.

More standouts: 'Yesterday has slipped away, and the sun is a welcoming evening shadows of a perfect day, and the next step is love, and the next step is love'. (The Next Step Is Love) -- a standout track that bristles with musical life enhanced by new mastering, instruments spring from speakers including prominent bass and trumpets -- testament to the crack Nashville musicians and the 2014 Deluxe Box mastering team. Of particular note is the female backing singers brought to the fore on the magnificent gospel tinged Bridge Over Troubled Water. Besides beautiful piano on a powerful, otherworldly outtake (Take 1) version that's simply breathtaking.

The Original Singles: Super additions that sound powerful and nuanced. The rocker Patch It Up (Single Version) is something of a revelation here -- great female backing and brass elements on a stunning version that rivals the live versions--play loud! In addition the fly-on-the-wall OUTTAKES include interesting stripped back versions that although sparse in arrangement, have much to recommended. The beautiful, hypnotic piano led I've Lost You (take 1) is a fine case in point. Likewise Patch It Up (take 1) rocks! And additionally the engaging aforementioned Bridge Over Troubled Water (take 1).

All the live shows feature multiple selections from the original album: Presley, an inspired, golden-voiced, rock 'n' roll white knight -- snake-hipped and in the best shape of his life hit a career peak in 1970 -- and performed stunning versions of Stranger In The Crowd - a high octane Patch It Up, and the beautiful tender ballad Twenty Days And Twenty Nights -- performances that stand seamlessly with contemporary classics - You've Lost That Loving Feeling - Bridge Over Troubled Water, and Sweet Caroline.

Add a slew of exciting 1950s rockers, and stunning eye-popping moves on Tony Joe White's swamp blues classic, Polk Salad Annie, and it's not surprising the Las Vegas International Hotel was SOLD OUT throughout the complete August 1970 engagement.

Note: The Elvis Presley promotional machine went into overdrive--manager Colonel Tom Parker filled the International Hotel with every promotional item his 'carny' background could muster. All free space was used for giant posters, album covers, bowler hats, gigantic hotel marquees, and adverts > Elvis: 50 Gold Award Hits, LP (see photo from 80-page booklet) promoted Elvis' August 1970 Summer Festival at the famous gambling Mecca.

Elvis worked the Vegas audience to elation during a months worth of shows (two performances a day) -- and fans couldn't get enough ... Cases in point: an extended, penultimate performance of the thrilling #1 smash Suspicious Minds -- and to finish: the satisfying cataclysmic arms outstretched finale of the sublime classic # 1 hit Can't Help Falling In Love which simply astonished audiences and concluded all his Las Vegas 1970 shows in triumphant style.

The Live Shows:

CD-2 AUG 10 - Opening Night: First released on (FTD One Night Only) - bookmarked by Elvis wearing his famous tasselled white jumpsuit, and seen in both versions of the movie (That's All Right), the show also includes an unreleased intro section: A point about ALL the live shows is the consistent and exceptional high quality of the performances -- and Opening Night is no exception. Great versions of I Can't Stop Loving You, and You Don't Have To Say You Love, both previously included on the RCA 3-CD 'That's The Way It Is' (2000).

Listen to I Just Can't Help Believin'

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Curiously, Elvis performed the superb The Next Step Is Love only on the 10th resulting in a unique set-list, and if Elvis was nervous you couldn't tell from his performances. Hollywood star names were in attendance including Cary Grant, Sammy Davis J.R, and Juliet Prowse etc, who witnessed the King in action.

CD-3 AUG 11-Dinner Show: Although a short set-list with only 17 tracks, it's a captivating listen and packs dynamite with four sparkling selections pulled from the show for the TTWII SE DVD 2001. To finally hear the stunning Suspicious Minds from the movie is a joy - and one of the greatest ever performances of the #1 classic. Likewise, I Can't Stop Loving You (2001 movie version). Here we learn that there was a false start due to feedback on the movie version of, You've Lost That Loving Feeling. Also of note is Elvis' smooth, impeccably vocal performance on a truly special version of the Beatles Something ('Writing For The King' FTD).

More standouts: A stupendous 6.50 minute, bluesy Polk Salad Annie that defies belief ... Elvis adds lyrical scat touches and he coaxes the song into an immense, spontaneous, jam-style, monster-version with the songs intro lasting a whopping 2.40 minutes, incredible! Elvis shouts: A-T-T-E-N--S-I-O-N @4.29 minutes followed by James Burton's cool wah-wah guitar -- plus there's Jerry Scheff's throbbing bass and more delicious wah-wah guitar @5.35 minutes. further highlights -- an intense 'Hound Dog -- and Elvis' bluesy intro to an exceptional Heartbreak Hotel ('The Way It Was' FTD).

The show is notable for the warm audience interaction due to the dinner show setting which included a mixture of young and old. Due to the sparkling sound quality, Elvis can be heard kissing excited female fans whose comments and obvious admiration for their hero give the show a warm intimate feel - especially before the devine I Just Can't Help Believin' breezes in.

Listen to Heartbreak Hotel

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Moreover there's a humorous moment when Elvis introduces Joe Guercio as, 'Joe Spaghetti - Joe, a, Ravioli!' He then introduces Sonny King in an engaging short passage about when they met in Las Vegas in the 1950s, and Elvis bombed at the New Frontier Hotel... (Sonny King was a Lounge singer who was the sidekick to the comedian Jimmy Durante. He also performed with legends Dean Martin and Jerry Lee Lewis). Note: This show is great to have in it's original context -- as it must be said, are all the shows...

CD-4 AUG 11 - Midnight Show: Previously available on (Live In Las Vegas 4-CD set) - Elvis performs a high-quality show full of highly impressive performances. Cases in point: Hound Dog - Just Pretend - One Night and Don't Be Cruel ALL featured in the TTWII SE movie cut. Of particular note is a Joe South song of spiritual insight, similar to, 'Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone', (Bible), the classic - Walk A Mile In My Shoes. The songs lyrical message and spiritual sentiment obviously struck a cord with the deeply religious performer. So much so that Elvis read the Hank Williams poem 'Men With Broken Hearts' as an intro piece to the gospel classic. Interestingly, he never performed the song after his 1970 shows in Vegas, but here it fits like a glove.

CD-5 AUG 12 - Dinner Show: Sprinkled with musical nuggets the unreleased DS show sounds simply stunning with an unusual ambient double-vamp intro. The potent That's All Right is also among the numerous highlights. Elvis turns on the vocal power @1.43 minutes on an electrifying I Got A Woman - and there's a dramatic pause lasting 10 seconds before Elvis blasts 'Oh yeah!' on the exhilarating ending -- and it's arguably a contender for the best version on the box set! More standouts -- the aforementioned guitar-driven romp Patch It Up benefits from the new mastering, highlighting James Burton's hot-guitar.

Beautiful ballad, Twenty Days And Twenty Nights, and the vibrant - You Don't Have To Say You Love Me are more fantastic versions. Furthermore there's an astonishing 6.55 minute, FUNKY Polk Salad Annie - and a high-quality, Ronnie Tutt drum solo finale on a fantastic Suspicious Minds, and it's easy to understand the shows inclusion on the excellent 2-CD TTWII Legacy edition.

CD-6 AUG 12 - Midnight Show: Previously available on the 2000 release (Elvis: That's The Way It Is 3-CD Box). Elvis is sublime throughout this outstanding concert. A sure-fire classic! As an indication of the quality of the show, it features a mammoth ten performances that were used in the original version of TTWII - in addition, four of those selections were chosen for the 2001 Special Edition edit of the movie. Besides there's MORE between song dialogue than the previously available version. Case in point: Elvis introduces Ronnie Tutt as, 'On red-hot drums - Ringo Starr!' There are HIGHLIGHTS by the bucketload: A smooching glad-hand audience walk on the seven minute plus Love Me Tender, and a pool of tender ballads; a taut Polk Salad Annie (as seen in the 2001 TTWII SE DVD) -- and a delicious reprise on the fantastic Righteous Brothers classic - You've Lost That Loving Feeling.

Elvis Presley Video View our 'Unboxing' of the 'That's The Way It is Box Set  (03:58)

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Elvis News Latest Audio (and video) updates : Video courtesy of Elvis Presley Video Elvis Presley Video Central.

CD-7 AUG 13 - Dinner Show: An outstanding show and previously available on the ('Wonder Of You' FTD CD). The show has a unique set-list: The country classic Make The World Go Away - Don't Cry Daddy, and the classic Wonder Of You which became a big hit on the American Billboard chart, and additionally a UK # 1 hit in 1970, are just a few of the exceptional selections. Most notable is the fan favourite Stranger In The Crowd, which was NEVER performed after 1970. More: Presley thrills the crowd with jokes and japes but make no mistake, he was focused and in charge, one listen to his cue for the 'Chicka Boom' to the Sweet Inspirations during Polk Salad Annie is proof indeed. Extraordinary: Elvis was in full control and never missed a beat in August 1970.

CD-8 - The Rehearsals: Striking an intimate, relaxed rehearsal vibe--Elvis and his TCB band cut loose on numerous hits and lesser known gems that offer an amusing and MOST enjoyable contrast here. Standouts: The sheer FUN and bluesy honk-tonk ending on Froggy Went-A-Courtin' -- and the guitar twang of James Burton on the infectious, 'Yippee-I-a - Yippee-I-o' of Ghost Riders In The Sky. Besides there's a captivating supply of loosely performed 1950s hits, with Baby Let's Play House including the lyric, 'you may get religion' (original lyric not used on original Elvis recording). Here, Elvis is clearly having a ball and famously knew how to relax before taking care of business performing for the Las Vegas faithful.

More: the tough blues, Stranger In My Hometown loses its colourful language with an edit. While the glorious roadhouse jam, What' I'd Say is a further highlight. The performance is seen, albeit briefly in a short 'n' sweet clip from the original movie (is there more footage of the Ray Charles R&B classic in MGM's vaults)? Furthermore, the recordings were captured on substandard equipment resulting in mixed audio quality according to the booklet notes. That said the sound is mostly uniform and definitely an improvement over previous releases (proof: Ronnie Tutt's crisp hi-hat on the majority of tracks).

The release also includes two DVDs featuring the 2001 Special Edition and the original theatrical 1970 version of 'That's The Way It Is', rounding out the package. Perhaps the Blu-ray DVD edition may have been the perfect addition but the SD DVD movies are satisfying to have nonetheless.

The package also includes a sumptuous 80-page book: There's notes about Elvis' Nashville recordings for the original TTWII album, plus in-depth rehearsal performance info and fascinating song information for the six additional live shows shot for the film. Yes, there are loads of familiar photos, but they're great in the bigger size, that without doubt maximizes the IMPACT.

More: Elvis poised to perform Hound Dog (63), and the red shirt rehearsal photos (21,22,23) including a wonderful full-page B&W image are just a few standouts. Also stacks of interesting additional B&W rehearsal photos, candids, posters, and 45 rpm single sleeves. Besides a double page image from Opening Night (68-69) that just breathes life ... In addition there's interviews, an interesting essay and an impressive number of captivating quotes from songwriters and musicians.

Side bar:

Note: 'That's The Way It Is' (Deluxe) includes multiple versions of Polk Salad Annie a song written and recorded by Elvis favourite, the singer songwriter, Tony Joe White (the 'swamp fox'). At Elvis' request Tony Joe was invited to Las Vegas to witness Elvis sing his version of the song live on stage in Las Vegas, circa 1970-71. Additionally the International Hotel offered a Polk Salad on the menu for hotel dining guests. Elvis' version rocked a little harder than the bluesy original and James Burton replicated White's gutbucket blues licks with equal panache.

More: Elvis Presley, live on-stage in Las Vegas was a consummate performer > a scholar and peerless interpreter of American music who transcended his 1950s persona to become a revered icon -- and without doubt became the utmost Las Vegas entertainer and King of King's who ultimately captured Sin City by storm in August 1970.

The upshot is NOW clearly bringing more fantastic TTWII Elvisness to the table, the two fine unreleased live shows are a more than welcome addition to Sony's expanded Legacy Box Set. All things considered, it's without doubt the last word on Elvis Presley's unparalleled 1970 LAS VEGAS period.

Totally essential. 10/10

Mixed or remixed and mastered to establish a uniform sound.

All the concerts have been either mixed or remixed and mastered to establish a uniform sound. A separate disc of insightful rehearsal highlights showcases the hard work that governed Elvis' relationship with his musicians. Finally two DVDs, featuring the original theatrical released version (1970) and the subsequent re-edited extended version (2000) complete this truly memorable event in the career of Elvis Presley.

Elvis Presley 8 CD Set + Elvis Presley 2 CD Set Buy That's The Way It Is (Deluxe Edition) 8 CD / 2 DVD

Elvis Presley 2 CD Set Buy Elvis: That's the Way It Is : Two Disc Special Edition Premium Digibook
Elvis Presley CD Buy Viva Las Vegas 50th Anniversary Premium Digibook

Elvis: That's The Way It Is (Deluxe Edition)

CD 1

The Original Album

01. I Just Can't Help Believin'
02. Twenty Days And Twenty Nights
03. How The Web Was Woven
04. Patch It Up
05. Mary In The Morning
06. You Don't Have To Say You Love Me
07. You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'
08. I've Lost You
09. Just Pretend
10. Stranger In The Crowd
11. The Next Step Is Love
12. Bridge Over Troubled Water

The Original Singles

13. I've Lost You (single version)
14. The Next Step Is Love (single version)
15. You Don't Have To Say You Love Me (single version)
16. Patch It Up (single version)

The Outtakes

17. How The Web Was Woven (take 1)
18. I've Lost You (take 1)
19. You Don't Have To Say You Love Me (take 2)
20. Patch It Up (take 1)
21. Bridge Over Troubled Water (take 1)

CD 2

August 10 : Opening Night

01. That's All Right
02. Medley: Mystery Train/Tiger Man
03. I Can't Stop Loving You
04. Love Me Tender
05. The Next Step Is Love
06. Words
07. I Just Can't Help Believin'
08. Something
09. Sweet Caroline
10. You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'
11. You Don't Have To Say You Love Me
12. Polk Salad Annie
13. Introductions
14. I've Lost You
15. Bridge Over Troubled Water
16. Patch It Up
17. Can't Help Falling In Love

CD 3

August 11 : Dinner Show

01. That's All Right
02. I Got A Woman *
03. Hound Dog
04. Heartbreak Hotel
05. Love Me Tender *
06. I've Lost You
07. I Just Can't Help Believin'
08. Something
09. I Can't Stop Loving You *
10. Sweet Caroline *
11. You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'
12. Polk Salad Annie *
13. Introductions *
14. Bridge Over Troubled Water
15. Suspicious Minds *
16. Can't Help Falling In Love *

That's The Way It Is 8 CD + 2 DVD Box Set

CD 4

August 11 : Midnight Show

01. That's All Right
02. I Got A Woman
03. Hound Dog
04. Love Me Tender
05. There Goes My Everything
06. Just Pretend
07. I Just Can't Help Believin'
08. Something
09. Men With Broken Hearts
10. Walk A Mile In My Shoes
11. You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'
12. Polk Salad Annie
13. One Night
14. Don't Be Cruel
15. Love Me
16. Instrumental Vamp
17. Heartbreak Hotel
18. Introductions
19. Bridge Over Troubled Water
20. Suspicious Minds
21. Can't Help Falling In Love

CD 5

August 12 : Dinner Show

01. That's All Right *
02. I Got A Woman *
03. Hound Dog *
04. Heartbreak Hotel *
05. Love Me Tender *
06. I've Lost You *
07. I Just Can't Help Believin' *
08. Patch It Up
09. Twenty Days And Twenty Nights
10. You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' *
11. Polk Salad Annie *
12. Introductions *
13. Blue Suede Shoes *
14. You Don't Have To Say You Love Me
15. Bridge Over Troubled Water
16. Suspicious Minds *
17. Can't Help Falling In Love *

CD 6

August 12 : Midnight Show

01. That's All Right
02. Medley: Mystery Train/Tiger Man
03. Hound Dog
04. Love Me Tender
05. Just Pretend
06. Walk A Mile In My Shoes
07. There Goes My Everything
08. Words
09. Sweet Caroline
10. You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'
11. Polk Salad Annie
12. Introductions
13. Heartbreak Hotel
14. One Night
15. Blue Suede Shoes
16. All Shook Up
17. Medley: Little Sister/Get Back
18. I Was The One
19. Love Me
20. Are You Lonesome Tonight?
21. Bridge Over Troubled Water
22. Suspicious Minds
23. Can't Help Falling In Love

CD 7

August 13 : Dinner Show

01. That's All Right
02. I Got A Woman
03. Hound Dog
04. Love Me Tender
05. Don't Cry Daddy
06. In The Ghetto
07. I Just Can't Help Believin'
08. Stranger In The Crowd
09. Make The World Go Away
10. Sweet Caroline
11. You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'
12. Polk Salad Annie
13. Introductions
14. The Wonder Of You
15. Heartbreak Hotel
16. Blue Suede Shoes
17. One Night
18. All Shook Up
19. Bridge Over Troubled Water
20. Suspicious Minds
21. Can't Help Falling In Love

CD 8

The Rehearsals

01. Alla En Al Rancho Grande
02. Ghost Riders In The Sky
03. Cotton Fields
04. Froggy Went A-Courtin'
05. Baby Let's Play House
06. I Was The One
07. Money Honey
08. Don't
09. (Now And Then There's) A Fool Such As I
10. Such A Night
11. It's Now Or Never
12. What'd I Say
13. Yesterday
14. Medley: Little Sister/Get Back
15. Don't It Make You Wanna Go Home
16. I Washed My Hands In Muddy Water
17. Stranger In My Own Home Town
18. Farther Along
19. Santa Claus Is Back In Town
20. Oh Happy Day

* = Previously unreleased

DVD 1

2001 Special Edition
Restoration Featurette Patch It Up: The Restoration of 'Elvis : That's The Way It Is'
Elvis Presley Career Highlights
Director / Restorer Filmographies
Theatrical Trailer

Scene Selections

01. Mystery Train/Tiger Man
02. In The Studio
03. That's All Right
04. Little Sister/Get Back
05. Horseplay
06. Twenty Days And Twenty Nights
07. Las Vegas
08. Cattle Call; Chime Bells
09. Words; You Can't Say That
10. Mary In The Morning
11. Countdown To Showtime
12. That's All Right
13. I Got A Woman
14. Hound Dog
15. Heartbreak Hotel
16. Love Me Tender
17. I Can't Stop Loving You
18. Just Pretend
19. The Wonder Of You
20. In The Ghetto
21. Patch It Up
22. You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'
23. Polk Salad Annie
24. One Night
25. Don't Be Cruel
26. Blue Suede Shoes
27. All Shook Up
28. You Don't Have To Say You Love Me
29. Suspicious Minds
30. Can't Help Falling In Love

DVD 2

1970 Original Theatrical Version
Outtakes

Scene Selections

01. Credits
02. Good Morning, Hollywood Camera
03. Bonafide Fans Of Elvis
04. I Just Can't Help Believin'
05. Elvis' Summer Festival
06. You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' (rehearsal)
07. A Romantic Wedding
08. Opening Night Jitters
09. That's All Right
10. I've Lost You
11. Patch It Up
12. When I First Started
13. Love Me Tender
14. You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'
15. Sweet Caroline
16. I Just Can't Help Believin'
17. Presley Fans In Vegas
18. Elvis Impersonators
19. Bridge Over Troubled Water
20. Heartbreak Hotel
21. One Night
22. Blue Suede Shoes
23. All Shook Up
24. Polk Salad Annie
25. Audience Mingling
26. Suspicious Minds
27. Can't Help Falling In Love

Elvis Presley 8 CD Set + Elvis Presley 2 CD Set Buy That's The Way It Is (Deluxe Edition) 8 CD / 2 DVD

Elvis Presley 2 CD Set Buy Elvis: That's the Way It Is : Two Disc Special Edition Premium Digibook
Elvis Presley CD Buy Viva Las Vegas 50th Anniversary Premium Digibook

Elvis: That's The Way It Is (Deluxe Edition) 8 CD / 2 DVD Box Set

Elvis Presley > Elvis Shop > Elvis Presley CD's > Elvis CD Box Sets


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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.