Wednesday, February 01, 2023

Review - Elvis: As Recorded At Madison Square Garden

It is almost a new year’s tradition; early in January the Dutch Music on Vinyl record label kicks off the new year with an Elvis Presley LP. In 2022 the label released ‘Elvis Now’ and ‘Promised Land’ and this year we get ‘Elvis: As Recorded At Madison Square Garden’. 

Let's take a trip down memory lane and revisit Elvis' New York performances fifty years later.




This re-issue of the legendary NYC concert series is a Limited Edition double album (2,500 copies), housed in a Deluxe heavyweight sleeve with leather laminate finish. This is not really visible on photos, but when you hold the album in your hands you see the leather-look which does give the album a deluxe feel. Even the historic RCA Victor logo and catalogue number “LSP-4776” are shown top left of artwork. These are only used for illustrative purposes as the artwork is a replica of the original 1972 RCA Victor LP.


Added to that are the printed sturdy inner sleeves, featuring advertisements for Elvis’ catalogue on cassette-tapes, just like the original album did (apparently there are three inner-sleeve  variations), to keep your discs in pristine order. 


The Audio


The 180 gram audiophile white marbled vinyl feels solid and is as flat as it should be. While spinning the two discs I did not hear any running noises or crackling. It simply sounds great with a good stereo presentation and depth to create a live concert experience. Of course it helps that the audio was spread over two discs.


The liner notes on the back refer to the 2012 re-issue by the same label, my guess is that the same stamper was used for this re-run of the album, as that was already remastered. Audio-fanatics may prefer solid black vinyl which is usually of better quality vinyl than colored discs, but I think this re-issue can probably match that. 




The album holds the June 10th 1972 Saturday Evening performance. Elvis, being backed by an eight-piece band, an orchestra and eight backup singers, rocked the Big Apple with what I call a ‘Greatest Hits’ concert. He also added a few recent hits, well recent in 1972 that is, listening 50 years later, these songs belong to the concert experience as we know it.  


Our man was no longer the wild rocker as recorded on the ‘In Person at the International Hotel’ (1969) and on ‘On Stage’ (1970) albums, he had matured and has created a solid show to tour the nation in the early seventies. 


In New York he probably played it safe as he hadn’t forgotten the reception he and his band received 16 years earlier. These “snob city highbrows looking down on that Southern hillbilly artist” were not really his kind of people. But he shouldn’t have worried as it only took him one weekend to turn it all around. With beautifully wrought performances of the ballads like ‘The Impossible Dream’, ‘Never Been to Spain’ and ‘For the Good Times’, energetic renditions of his (early) rockers as ‘Don’t Be Cruel’, ‘Hound Dog’ and ‘Suspicious Minds’ and some contemporary classics like ‘Polk Salad Annie and ‘American Trilogy’ he “ate the whole Apple” as one reviewer illustrated the effect of Elvis’ performance. 


The fact that many musicians from that time attended one of his shows in New York. Most notably amongst them George Harrison, Art Garfunkel, David Bowie, all the members of both Ten Years After and Led Zeppelin, Paul Simon and Bob Dylan. Did they just want to see Elvis in concert, or learn from the master? 


That said, the show is very enjoyable and album is one of the better recordings of a big-venue Elvis Presley concert available. Fortunately RCA was smart enough to record it. And even if the record company was releasing live albums at a truly head spinning rate in the seventies they rush-released this LP, using the artwork that was originally intended for the never released album ‘Standing Room Only’ LP with a sleeve featuring a shot from April 16, 1972 in Jacksonville … still an odd choice, even when preparing a new sleeve a rush release as there were so much other design options. Even so, the cover has become a classic among fans.




A legendary, but sometimes overlooked solid concert performance. And just like the 2022 gold colored vinyl edition of ‘Worldwide 50 Gold Award Hits Volume 1’, this white marbled LP is a quality re-issue, and a nice replacement for your worn-out 50-years old original LP. 

The LP was kindly provided by Music on Vinyl. The LP is available at your local record store or in-line.