Comeback Special Edition DVD Set

Jun 18, 2004
Comeback Special Edition DVD Set
The “mother of all Elvis releases” has come out, how to review this? Well just from the beginning. Design This new edition has a very stylish design. Black with the red dots from the famous “ELVIS” in red lights everyone knows from the special. Again, no big image of Elvis himself. For this set BMG came up with a four panel digi-pack. One panel to hold a 32 pages booklet and three panels for the three discs in this set. The booklet is very complete and contains informative notes on the special and contents of the discs, accompanied by screenshots from the special. You can find what you need easily. The navigation menu is the best Elvis menu we’ve seen so far, with again the “ELVIS” in red lights. All segments have separate chapters for the songs. Content The first disc contains the adapted broadcast version of the special and the first and second leather sit-down shows. The original special is even more complete than the version that aired on December 3, 1968. The bordello scene is back. This scene had made it past the censors, but the sponsor Singer wanted it to be deleted. Another part that could have been there isn’t there. “It Hurts Me” is listed in the track listing, but isn’t added here, only a fragment of the instrumental part. This wasn’t part of the original version either, it was first aired in 1978 in a special hosted by Ann Margret and used in the first official video release according to a posting on the FECC message board where this "error" is discussed. The first sit-down shown has been released before as “One Night With You”, but as with most material on the deluxe editions they have been reedited from scratch. You can see how far ahead the concept of the show was, recently Robbie Williams (a big Elvis fan) copied the entire concept for his own television show. The raw Elvis, caged in a boxing ring and guarded by (what seems) women only, really enjoys himself on the small square stage. Elvis connects to his audience (while seriously working through the parts he has to record), probably wondering why he stayed away from performing so long (look at all those girls ...). The footage is as raw as Elvis, the camera keeps rolling between the different songs, and it is like you’re sitting in the studio too. All the misses by Elvis and glitches by the crew are here, but Elvis doesn’t seem to have any troubles, he clearly enjoys himself. The second sit down show is (officially) unreleased, and probably new to a lot of fans out there. It follows the line of the first show. You can see Elvis has done it once before, he is a bit more relaxed. Remember that this can be called the first “unplugged” show and Elvis, reunited with his old buddies, hasn’t seen an audience this close by since … well, since too long probably. The second disc brings the two stand-up shows and the “Trouble / Guitar Man” and “If I Can Dream” production numbers. Again a relaxed Elvis really interacting with the fans, we even spotted some kids and a granny in the audience this time and noticed that Elvis wore an V shaped black T-shirt under the leather jacket. Elvis throws in an instrumental rendition of “Baby, What Do You Want Me To Do” when there is a delay in the starting of “If I Can Dream” which he lip-syncs to for insertion in the special. With the lights on, you can clearly see the complete production floor and the band backing Elvis. And is the announcer Bob Finkel wearing the white suit Elvis uses for the ‘If I Can Dream” segment? Probably not, although later on the second disc we learn that white was the dress code for that day. Both stand-up shows have the same song line up, only the spontaneous jam on the first one and a one liner (“Tiptoe Through The Tulips” and "McArthur Park") on the second show differ. Looking at the complete material you can see that Elvis delivers the production segments he is supposed to record, but also re-finds himself as a performer singing for an audience again. He even starts the final "TROUBLE” with a smile on his face, not looking all that evil. The different takes of the production numbers is like watching bonus material for an Elvis DVD for the first time. Usually the producers don’t give us fans anything else then a trailer. Just like with the studio bootlegs and Follow That Dream releases you can enjoy Elvis finding his way to the definitive version of the performance he wants to deliver, including several takes of “huh-huh-huh” for promotion of the special. Although here it isn’t mainly Elvis calling the shots as in the studio, but the director Steve Binder. The close up of Elvis’ hand play backing on the guitar (a shot for insertion later) clearly shows everything they have is added to this release. Some shot show Elvis from a larger distance, so we get a view of the old fashioned camera’s filming the details. This section ends with the same song the show ends with, "If I Can Dream". We get a false start and two complete takes that were previously unreleased. The 2004 music video is great, shots of Elvis in his white suit combined with Elvis in his leather suit. This makes a great promotional clip; hopefully it will be picked up to promote this DVD-set. The video quality is very good on a big screen and good DVD player. But when you watch it on a cheaper DVD player and smaller television set you see differences in the background (especially on a black background like in the arena and in the “Trouble / Guitar Man” and “If I Can Dream” sections), between dark and light sections and faster movements. But perhaps it is asking for too much now we are used to modern movies and computer graphics regarding the age of these recordings and the way the tapes were recorded? The third DVD starts with the gospel show numbers. Still a strange combination, a gospel section in a church and a bordello scene in one (Christmas) special. This scene features the Blossoms (with Danny Glover’s wife from the Lethal Weapon movies) opening with “Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child”, a pity Elvis didn’t perform that song. On “Saved” you can see him following the tambourine which he throws up into the air, and yes, he is "saved" the tambourine doen't come down again. Looking at this and the other production takes you can clearly see the amount of work that goes into a special like this. So much material is recorded, and only part of it is used for the final section. As with the Aloha special, there were no videotape machines dedicated to a specific camera, choices were made “live”. So the material used is the material that is available. On the “Big Boss Man” you can see that even a match that doesn’t go out or a guitar that doesn’t break mess up a take. Up next is “it Hurts Me”, not added in the restoration of the original version on disc one, but the sixteen takes here make up for that. For the insert shot in the bordello scene Steve Binder pulled a prank on Elvis and Susan Henning, playing Andy Williams and comedienne Phyllis Oiler on the background (no sound was needed) which explains part of the smiles on their faces (we hope for Pricilla). Always thought they already used flashing disco lights for the bordello scene with the “honkey tonk” music, but it is some kind of rotating van in front of the camera. We learn and learn. Conclusion Almost seven hours later we have a first review. What can we say, three smashing discs, delivering all material available in a good quality. Everything an Elvis fan wants. We do wonder if this isn’t too much for Joe Public (and that there should be a cheaper single disc with just the TV Special for him), but on the other hand, material of this kind is sure to make you a fan and once that virus got you, you want it all. Just as for the Aloha set we can only applaud all people involved, they really made the effort to give us fans what we have been asking for, for so many years. So “Thank You”! Now the review is written, we’re off to t

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Reactions

laminan (profilecontact) wrote on Apr 7, 2005report abuse
The sit down jam sessions were the best part of the show. These sessions setup was practically stolen by MTV in their unplugged series in the 90's.
charlesz (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 15, 2004report abuse
hi, i got the 68 cameback specal and its great i like the cover of it also i like the stand up shows they are great and the sit down shows are great to.
ijustcanhelpbelievin (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 4, 2004report abuse
truely a great redone 68 special!! with all the takes, we can clearly see elvis was having a great time doing this special, and we also can see his confidence growing day after day. looks like he was hitting it off with susan denning (a.k.a. the gorgous woman in the "let yourself go" scene) now ,if they just send us the complete disc of "it hurts me" from the main show,we will have a "touchdown" for sure!! thanks EPE for listening to us elvis fans...
mrstats (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 1, 2004report abuse
I am very pleased with this DVD set. The two standup shows alone are worth the price of admission. The video and sound quality are both excellent. In my humble opinion, this is Elvis at his best. Compare the performance of "Blue Suede Shoes" in the standup show vs Aloha From Hawaii.
Dan (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 28, 2004report abuse
Not sure about you guys, but it seems to me that they put a whole lot more work into the '68 special than they did with Aloha in respect to the video quality. For the age of the '68 special, the footage looks fantastic. The fleshtones, the clarity is amazing. On the other hand, Aloha has blurry images during several scenes and rainbow effects on some colors. And i am watching these on a HDTV with component hook up cables to get the best picture and sound. Also someone mentioned the "odd" scene left in when Elvis intro's the band during the 2nd show. It seems they have a quick shot of Elvis "without" the leis around his neck. If the whole thingw as "re-edited" from scratch, then how was this mistake made. After seeing the picture quality and this "mistake, i am beginning to wonder exactly what was done to this. Plus , what happened to the japanese footage of BEFORE the concert, with the band rehearsals and showing Elvis' dressing room. Also the "celebration" footage at the beginning of the show with the danicing and that "robot" that we saw a quick glimpse of..where is the complete footage from that? It's hard to compare this to the super fantastic '68 special. it is truley amazing what they did. At times, it's hard to believe this is 35 year old footage, it looks as if it was shot very recently.... well, enjoy it all. It's gonna be another great Elvis Summer Festival" for us fans!!!!
jb gude (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 28, 2004report abuse
I got to agree that overall this release is fantastic: uperb picture and sound,it has almost everything we fans could have hoped for.However as pointed out by Lyle Ray, despite all the claims by EPE to taking their time to "get it right" is a misnomer. Surprisingly not many have noticed these ommisions and what is worse is they do not seem to care.
There seems to be more than a co-incidence that a complete "It hurts me" is ommited from the "original Concert" as well as from the out takes.Amazing that so many could overlook the same song/sequences.
What's the odds of a revised edition of the 68 Special with possible "extras" like the "It hurts me ( Parody)" or the photos from the production will come out around for Christmas or early next year ? Enough to make the die hard fan want to purchase it again.....now where did I hear of this idea before ?
jonsi (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 24, 2004report abuse
just a question about the 68 special. I was recently told that the UK release of the 3dvd set differs from the american version. as in the Uk version being cut. can anyone shed any light on this as I thought the content was going to be the same worldwide...
lray (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 23, 2004report abuse
The reality is that we do not get all of the It Hurts Me takes on disc three. We are missing two whole sections. If you go back to the Lightyear disc and watch, It Hurts Me you will notice that the track is 4:07 min. long. On the new disc we get all of the takes that go up to 1:45 min.
At the beginning Elvis picks up the broken guitar and starts the song. He fights with different actors while still singing the song. This section ends when Elvis is in the middle of the song and he sings,"He'll never change." He is lying on the floor with a man standing over him. On the new disc we get all the takes from this portion of the song.
From 1:45 to 3:22 (on the Lightyear disc) there is the second section of the song that has the instrumental break and the karate dancers. BMG does not have any takes from this section of the song included on our new set.
The last section, 3:22 to 4:07 (on the Lightyear disc) is when Elvis returns and starts with, "I know that he'll never set you free." He finishes the last few lines, the girl walks away, the camera pulls back and we see Elvis' foot on top of several bodies from the fight, end of number. Again BMG does not include any takes from this portion of the song on our new set.
So for the reviews and the Estate/BMG to say that they forgot It Hurts Me on the first disc but you do get all the takes on the third disc is false.
Why after all of the months of working on this project didn't they take a long look to see what was they may have missed. They said they were taking their time so that they could, "Do it once and do it right." The material is great, the package is great, sound and picture qualit, outstanding. Why not the extra effort? Why not do it right?
gribz (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 21, 2004report abuse
Television commercials should start to air soon...
gribz (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 18, 2004report abuse
I was just at a game farm where little kids went nuts when the DJ started to play Hound-Dog ane Jailhouse Rock. I hope to high Heaven these get the promotion they deserve. It's so essential if we are to bring Elvis to the Youth Market...

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