Review : The On Stage Season : The Opening And Closing Shows, February 1970

By: David Tinson
Source: Elvis Australia
December 21, 2013 - 6:23:02 PM
Elvis Reviews, Elvis CD Reviews, FTD, By David Tinson

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Review

Sandwiched between Elvis' iconic return to Las Vegas in 1969, and the triumph of the 'That's The Way It Is' documentary (1970) - 'On Stage Season' FTD 2-CD captures Elvis in spectacular form during his live performances - and includes two complete soundboard shows in the best EVER quality from his 1970 Jan/Feb Las Vegas engagement.

Follow That Dream offer a double whammy of historic 1970 shows by including both the opening and closing shows from the Jan/Feb Vegas engagement. There's a familiarity with the songs due to the popularity of the platinum selling ON STAGE album. 'On Stage Season' FTD 2-CD continues in the same rich vein...

Elvis Performed two shows a night over four weeks. These fascinating shows are almost a continuation of the fabulous August 1969 shows represented by FTD (Hot August Night - Elvis At The International etc). More so, the release is a fine companion for the FTDs excellent On Stage Classic Album release, albeit in soundboard quality - and was Elvis anymore POTENT heading into his storied jumpsuit years than 1970?

The upshot is although bootlegged to the hilt, these fantastic shows garner new plaudits. Sony sound guru Vic Anesini has worked wonders with the master tapes to give the listener a finer audio experience. That said, there's mic overload on the opening shows early selections: Opening with hints of feed-back, and Bob Lanning's drum riff - 'All Shook Up' proves Elvis is in fine voice. 'That's All Right' quickly follows.

Dean Martin was an influence on Presley and was in the audience when Elvis sang the opening lyric to the Rat Pack legends 'Everybody Loves Somebody', teasing the adoring Vegas crowd. (if only he'd continued...)

More standouts: The heartfelt ballad - 'Don't Cry Daddy' is essential hear. It's a stunning live version. So beautifully performed by all. Elvis sings: 'Don't cry daddy - daddy please don't cry, Oh no!' The 'oh no' adding poignancy. Little Richard's rock 'n'roll nugget, 'Long Tall Sally' gets the full-on treatment with a wonderful solo from James Burton. Note: there's been some talk about fans preferring the second disc due to better sound. Well, let me tell you: disc one is VERY easy to listen to. And an enjoyable listen, even in lieu of the soundboard sound.

The Everly Brothers 'Let It Be Me' is superb but the sound limitations render a weak Burton solo (rectified in delicious style on the closing show version).

Repeated plays consign the sound issues to a minor quibble – and what strikes the listener is the sheer wealth of quality songs performed... Ray Charles, 'I Can't Stop Loving You', is just one of the numerous cases in point. Elvis shouts inspiration: 'take it boy! Take it' during a riotous version. Indeed, like the aforementioned gem, 'Don't Cry Daddy' - 'True Love Travels On A Gravel Road' is a highlight and great to have here. Elvis performs this rarely performed, gospel inflected R&B number with gusto, even after a false start. (A year later in 1969, legendary soul magus, Percy Sledge had a hit with the song).

Likewise - 'Kentucky Rain' is also very pleasing in a live setting. Furthermore, Elvis introduces James Burton as his favourite guitarist, 'Buffalo Bill Burton' during the intros, a wonderful humorous moment (During the closing show James is introduced as Chuck Berry).

Disc Two : Closing Show:

From the get-go - 'All shook Up', 'I Got A Woman' - and 'Long Tall Sally' all vigorously hit their mark - followed by a 'Everybody Loves Somebody', one liner. A solid 'Hound Dog' follows with a rockin' solo from James Burton. Note: maybe the only minus over the two discs is James Burton's guitar which is low-sounding on selected tracks, but on 'Hound Dog' it rocks! More standouts: A flawless 'Kentucky Rain' - you can even hear the bell chimes... Also of interest is a mid-set performed version of 'See See Rider' which gallops along at great pace. A song that become a regular opener throughout the 1970s. Elvis performs a lively version here.

Elvis Presley The On Stage Season : FTD 2 CD 1970 Soundboards [7" Presentation].
Elvis Presley The On Stage Season : FTD 2 CD 1970 Soundboards [7" Presentation].

There's two 'lord have mercies' during a stunning - slow burn, steamy swamp funk version of 'Polk Salad Annie' - with the Sweet Inspiration's adding intro handclaps and hot soul spice for the conclusion: Elvis asks Jerry Scheff to continue playing bass while the Sweet Inspirations add: 'Hey, hey, I feel alright' for a full 1 minute plus, while Elvis enjoys time-out, glad-handing and crowd smooching. It ranks as one of the best versions of the Tony Joe White classic (In the booklet: Menu from the Internationale Hotel - 'Elvis Special' - 'Polk Salad' with corn muffins & honey $1.95).

More standouts: Elvis performs the piano intro to Fats Domino's legendary hit - 'Blueberry Hill' before 'Lawdy Miss Clawdy' takes hold - fabulous! Afterwards Elvis says: 'I used to be known as Fats Domino, but I lost weight!' Elvis and Fats Domino were good friends. Elvis payed tribute to Fats on many occasions, and vice versa Fats.

'One Night With You' rocks before a beautiful 'It's Now Or Never' - Ernst Jorgensen once described the August 12 show from 'That's The Way It Is', as one of Elvis Presley's best shows, well Closing Show February 23 is also a contender...

The classic 'Suspicious Minds' and 'Can't Help Falling In Love' with Elvis mentioning his forthcoming Houston Astrodome concerts finish a stupendous concert.

The closing night shows were more relaxed affairs than the early shows. One listen to the intros is proof - also he received standing ovations for his performances. And in attendance were scores of famous actors and performers who had come to pay homage to the King.

The Booklet:

Opening the album there's two black CDs with ELVIS written in white. Additionally the ON STAGE artwork is mimicked for 'On Stage Season' - a cool touch! Behind the discs are photos of Elvis wearing his white tasselled jumpsuit. There's documents and press reviews. One review reads: 'Charisma of Presley Still Rocks Vegas'. Furthermore, Ann Moses Marino adds an insightful essay mentioning the euphoria around the concerts, and says it was: 'A once-in-a-lifetime experience'.

Page 3 of the booklet : Elvis Presley The On Stage Season : FTD 2 CD 1970 Soundboards [7" Presentation].
Page 3 of the booklet : Elvis Presley The On Stage Season : FTD 2 CD 1970 Soundboards [7" Presentation].

From the essay:

'I went back to Las Vegas to catch Elvis Presley's show again... I just can't keep away. He's a habit-forming 'drug' that does you good! He certainly has the fans fighting for places in the huge showroom Internationale, where lots of people are turned away after the 'standing room only' is filled'.

It's a fabulous booklet with gorgeous photos. One rare image in particular shows Elvis backstage just before showtime talking to the one of the Sweet Inspirations and an Imperial.

Also mentioned is Bill Porter who made the recordings at the request of Tom Diskin. Moreover, on the back cover what appears to be a delightful touch- a painting of the Showroom Internationale.

Not being privy to the boots these new FTD soundboards sound completely new and fresh to my ears. However, disc two is the BETTER sounding, but the difference is negligible. I've experienced deep joy listening to this OUTSTANDING FTD release, and have been reminded YET again by the QUALITY of Elvis' voice and performances, why I'm an Elvis Presley fan. Highly recommended.

Buy Elvis Presley The On Stage Season : FTD 2 CD 1970 Soundboards [7" Presentation]

Track listing

Disc 1: January 26, 1970

  1. All Shook Up
  2. That's All Right
  3. Proud Mary
  4. Don't Cry Daddy
  5. (Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear / Don't Be Cruel
  6. Long Tall Sally
  7. Let It Be Me
  8. I Can't Stop Loving You
  9. Walk A Mile In My Shoes
  10. In The Ghetto
  11. True Love Travels On A Gravel Road
  12. Sweet Caroline
  13. Polk Salad Annie
  14. Introductions
  15. Kentucky Rain
  16. Suspicious Minds
  17. Can't Help Falling In Love

Disc 2 : February 23, 1970

  1. All Shook Up
  2. I Got A Woman
  3. Long Tall Sally
  4. Don't Cry Daddy
  5. Hound Dog
  6. Love Me Tender
  7. Kentucky Rain
  8. Let It Be Me
  9. I Can't Stop Loving You
  10. See See Rider
  11. Sweet Caroline
  12. Polk Salad Annie
  13. Introductions
  14. Lawdy Miss Clawdy
  15. Heartbreak Hotel
  16. One Night
  17. It's Now Or Never
  18. Suspicious Minds
  19. Can't Help Falling In Love

Credits

Compilation produced by Ernst Mikael Jørgensen & Roger Semon.
Original sound engineer Bill Porter at the request of Tom Diskin.

Buy Elvis Presley The On Stage Season : FTD 2 CD 1970 Soundboards [7" Presentation]

The On Stage Season : The Opening And Closing Shows, February 1970

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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.