Tuesday, September 21, 2021

September 21 - Review Elvis - September 1970

The Memphis Recording Service released the third installment in their ‘Las Vegas International Presents’ series; 'Las Vegas International Presents Elvis - September 1970'. 

This volume features the previously unreleased September 2, 1970 Dinner Show performance on the first disc and the last rehearsals from August 10, 1970, recorded the afternoon before the Opening Show later that night. 




The design is exactly the same as the previous volumes; a carboard digi-pack with a 40-page booklet containing a short to-the-point introduction and mainly great pictures of Elvis rehearsing and on stage. Nothing on the concert recording and the mixing of the mono to stereo. As this is a selling-point, some additional info would interest collectors. 



CD 1: September 2, 1970 Dinner Show


Where we thought there was not much good quality material left to be discovered, MRS presents us the second unreleased soundboard show of this year (next to 'Kansas City '74 Revisited' from the Millbranch Record label). Like the previous volume, also mixed from mono to stereo. The audio-quality is good, you get a nice stereo experience and you hear the individual instruments. Some fans and sound experts will probably have a different opinion or prefer to listen to the original mono version. 


The only minor is the hiss that is clearly audible when Elvis talks. You hear it so clearly as it has been removed using some compression on the silent bits. But it is not disturbing and the audio-engineer kept as much of the original audio as possible not mixing it out completely. 

The September 2nd show itself is very entertaining with Elvis freed of the camera’s following him around. He was very wound-up and fools around a bit too much in between some entertaining performances. But breaking up songs, making a lot of jokes - including some nasty and off color ones - affects some performances too. 


We can expect he messes up ‘Love Me Tender’, but spoiling songs like ‘I’ve Lost You’ and ‘I Just Can’t Help Believing’ shouting to the light men or Charlie Hodge isn’t something I’d expect. And it is a pity because when he puts his back behind it, Elvis easily delivers fine versions of these songs. But we're listening to Elvis mid 1970, so most performances are solid. The highlights of this disc are ‘You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin", ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ and ‘Suspicious minds’.


Great drumming by Ronnie Tutt on 'Polk Salad Annie', it sounds like a tommy gun chasing Annie off. Perhaps daddy is showing off as his kids are in the audience. His drumming sounds lighter than usual throughout the show. A funny lyric-change is Elvis singing “Suck a little Volkswagen” … probably a left-over from his army years in Germany. 


Overall it almost sounds like Elvis and the band, freed from the camera’s, performed this show for themselves, getting the constrains of the camera's out of their system. Regardless of all the goofing around, jokes and false starts our man was really on top of his game in 1970 and easily got away with it and the audience seemed to enjoy it. 


CD 2 August 10, 1970 Rehearsals


The main part of these rehearsals was previously released by the Follow That Dream label on the (for some fans) controversial ‘Stage Rehearsal’ CD in 2011. Controversial because the label decided to repair the missing beginning of the songs by using live versions trying to create a complete listening experience. For some reason the record company pressed the “record” button after the song’s opening bars when they made these recordings … were they trying to save some tape? The repairs never bothered me on the FTD CD as I prefer the complete listening experience. 


Remastering the tracks the MRS-label got rid of most of the applause and audience reactions, choosing a different path than the FTD-label. Listening to these rehearsals without the audience I almost missed them as you kind-of know when the audience responds on these songs we’ve heard live so very often. 

These recordings sound good overall. The only “error” is that some commends made in the background during some rehearsals sound a little bit like an echo. 

These twelve rehearsal songs are fun to listen to as a set, but nothing we haven’t heard before. The best performances are ‘You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me’ and of course ‘You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling’, these great performances stand out from the rest. And fortunately we get two rehearsals of both!


Added to the August 10th rehearsals are more rehearsals from August 4th and 7th 1970. Nice additions, but not as solid as the November 10th rehearsals. ‘Something” is such a beautiful song, it deserves a serious approach, which it doesn't get and “Don’t Cry Daddy” becomes “Don’t Cry Fatty", which is fun once.  




Two entertaining discs featuring a pretty loose Elvis live on stage and a more focused Elvis rehearsing for those concerts. Usually it is the other way around. 


Some fans make a big fuss about the conversion of the original mono version to stereo, but hey, we’re getting a previously unreleased soundboard of Elvis in his prime in good audio quality, something many fans have been moaning about, so just sit back and enjoy the show!