Sunday, February 28, 2021

Review Elvis Summer Festival 1970

The U.K. based Memphis Recording Service released the 3-CD-set ‘Elvis Summer Festival 1970 – The Rehearsals’ the first volume in a series documenting Elvis 1970 Summer Festival. 


This set follows the format of previous packages from this label. A cardboard booklet / digi-pack holding the CDs and a booklet. Inside liner-notes by Gordon Minto summarizing these rehearsals for Elvis’ third stint in Vegas in a year’s time. The rehearsals and shows were captured on film by MGM. 

The booklet is illustrated with razor-sharp images and memorabilia against a paisley design based on Elvis’ outfit. The CDs are stored in small easily accessible pockets. Overall a well-designed and economic package. 


On the three CDs we get the rehearsals from July 14th, July 24th and July 29th as recorded at MGM Sound Stage 1 in Culver City, Los Angeles and RCA Studios in Hollywood. The audio on CD 1 originates from the Follow That Dream ‘Elvis: That’s The Way It Is - 50th Anniversary Edition’ released by the Follow That Dream label in 2020 while the audio for the July 24th rehearsal was sourced directly from a DAT tape. 

Most fans know these rehearsals by Elvis and his band selecting and practicing the songs for the 1970 Summer Festival engagement. They work through a selection of oldies, contemporary hits by other artists and songs Elvis recently recorded in Nashville. Although not made for a release it is fun to join the gang jamming free format refining the material for the Vegas show. 

The audio was remastered for this release, adding a bit more warmth and depth compared  to the before-mentioned FTD release. It sounds fine, but this will probably be food for discussion. Interesting additions are the exclusive bonus "stereo-tracks" of ‘You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’’ and ‘Sweet Caroline’ from July 24th 1970. A preview of things to come? 


This release was kind of to be expected when the FTD label released their massive two-book / eight-CD set last year. Using a loophole in the European copyright legislation this set offers a great budget-edition for fans not able to cash out over 200 Euro for the original set or fans who are only interested in the audio. 

With more volumes, a stereo soundboard and vinyl editions coming up, the label offers something for everyone. Another positive is that these releases put Elvis - in his prime - back in the record stores and public eye. 

In the end, what’s not to love about the pure Elvis Presley in 1970? He is in great shape, his voice is strong, the set-list is very entertaining and the sound is great. 

You can (pre)order the set on Amazon UK or directly from the >>> Memphis Recording Service website.