Tuesday, July 04, 2023

Review Elvis 1970 Houston

Visual Elvis Presley biographer Paul Bélard released his first book on Elvis in the seventies with 'Elvis Houston 1970' covering Elvis' Houston Astrodome performances from February 25th to March 2nd 1970. 

With the new Follow That Dream 'Houston, Fort Worth, Baton Rouge 1974' 3-CD-set just out this book will provide an interesting read while listening to the March 3rd 1974 Evening Show performance, recorded at the same venue. 


The 202-page A4 sized book features a striking picture of our man on the cover. It is almost the same image as Joseph Tunzi used for his 'Elvis 1970 In The Dome' book (JAT Publishing, 2013). Both photos were taken during the same show, but Bélard found a shot with a more attractive pose. 

The design of the book itself comes in the "trademark" black design we are used to from this author. With mainly just one or two images per page the book is easy on the eye, and thanks to the day-by-day format you easily browse through the four days covered in this book. 

The quality of the pictures differs - some in questionable resolution - because they were sourced from various online sources.  The images in both books are dark and many taken from quite a distance as Elvis performed on a rotating stage in the middle of the arena. The Tunzi book was printed on quality gloss stock, so compared to Belard’s book it has a better / more glossy "feel".

Where Tunzi “cherrypicked” the images for his book, Bélard choose to be as complete as possible, prioritizing historical content over quality, adding adding 50 pages with images and archival information. 


The book is primarily a photo-book, even more than other books by this author, as there is not too much text in this book. The photographs are "illustrated" with various newspaper articles, a transcription of the press-conference he did before the shows at the Astroworld Hotel, set-lists, suits, reviews, interview snippets with drummer Bob Lanning and some memorabilia. 

The only thing missing to make it 100% complete is reactions from fans. But fans interested in these concerts probably own a copy of the 2022 6 CD / 1 DVD release ‘Elvis at the Astrodome’ (Tupelo Production, 2022) which features that part of history. 

Bélard even found an opportunity to make a side-step to one of his other favorite Elvis subjects, jewelry drawing our attention to the Gold tone guest badge and the “King Midas” model watch he received from the Houston Livestock and Rodeo Officers. The latter was the most expensive Rolex in production at that time. 

It is always great to read original reviews and newspaper articles like the article from Elvis Monthly (June 1970) and Modern Screen magazine (July 1970) as this illustrates how the news reached the common man and Elvis fans, and how they experienced it. This places the content in this book in the correct historical context. 

Leafing through these pages, 50 years later and with the knowledge and appreciation for the King's legacy, we can only conclude what a pity it is that events like this were not documented properly, if only by the press. Our man looked good, sounded good, worked hard to entertain the biggest crowd he ever faced.  


Paul Bélard made a huge jump in time from writing books on Elvis in the fifties to Elvis in the seventies. Continuing his series of visual day-by-day time-boxes, Bélard takes us by the hand through these four days in 1970 as completely as possible. For me - not owning Tunzi’s book - this book covers this historical event more than enough, and serves as a nice compendium to the aforementioned CD set. 

Overall this new volume makes a good start for this new decennium for the author. 

The book can be ordered directly from the author (pbelard@hotmail.com) or via Amazon.