Or should we write The Capital Performances? A couple of months ago two CD’s with this title were announced, and they appeared to have about the same content, the evening performance of June 8, 1975 in Jackson, Mississippi. The version of “Lovely Music Productions” arrived a bit earlier, but we waited for the “Madison” release to be able to give a good comparison of both in one review.
We have to admit that had we to choose beforehand, we would have gone for the “Madison”-release. Not only because of the good experiences we have had with their releases in the past, but also because on first sight the cover art is much more attractive.
Where the “Madison” release gives the impression of class and taste, the “LMP” cover looks like someone has just discovered some facilities of a picture-editing tool and tried to use them all at the same time. Opening both booklets only stresses our first impression. The “Madison”-designer obviously knows what he (or she) is doing, while the effects in the “LMP”-booklet may look nice on screen, but they don’t work on paper.
Content wise the booklet of the “LMP” wins hands down, it’s been a long time since we had such a good laugh (because of some obvious (weird) translations that is). Without kidding, both give an interesting read, but will have no real value added to those who buy the zillionth CD of this tour. Anyway, on the cover art we can be very short… there is no competition at all, “Madison” does have cover art.
Both labels didn’t have the complete show and used the Memphis (“Let Me Take You Home”, DAE) show to “complete” it. LMP also added a part of the (Memphis) “pre-program” in the form of Jackie Kahane. A very big mistake, since one has to remember to press “skip” immediately when playing that CD. We really tried to listen to it twice, but didn’t make it for more than 80 seconds, that man is not funny at all (indeed, the booklet is funnier). On the LMP release, “How Great Thou Art” is complete, while it isn’t on the Madison CD. Those were the biggest differences content wise.
The show itself is, not surprisingly, about the same as all the others of this tour, with some slight alterations (e.g. “Polk Salad” instead of “Burning Love”). Elvis is in good mood, giving an entertaining show. Sound wise we expected and did get an amazing difference between the two CD’s. LMP announced that their release would be superior to all previous import-releases because it was mixed in Dolby 5.1 surround. We have to admit it is different from many others. We compared it to all other shows of this tour, and all sounded better on plain equipment. It sounds a bit like in the good old days, if you played a non Dolby tape with Dolby turned on. On more luxury (surround) equipment the CD sounds better, but unfortunately LMP doesn’t deliver such equipment with the CD. But even listening to this release on the right equipment there is still too much reverb in the mix. It sounds like Elvis is trying to sing close harmony with himself, but is a bit too late. The Madison release sounds as good as you may expect from their releases, crystal clear and without added effects. So also on the content part Madison wins and if we want to hear this show again, we’ll use this one.
LMP has a nice first try with this release, and a premiere, since it is the first 5.1 surround mixed CD. Hopefully their next release will have (better) cover art. The CD is not sounding bad at all, but certainly not as good as they suggest using a non 5.1 stereo. If we didn’t review these two releases back to back the ‘negatives’ regarding the LMP release would not have looked this emphasized. As for the Madison release, they continued their line of quality products in style. If you can lay your pawns on either one of them, we advise the Madison version of this show.