On Stage

By Blogcritics/ David BowlingJul 18, 2008
On Stage
lvis Presley began the 1970’s with the release of his second live album. This was good news and bad news. The good news was On Stage: February 1970 was an energetic release of songs that were new to his catalogue at that time. Elvis did not recycle older material but took some chances and attacked the song choices with passion. The bad news was that he would become increasingly dependent upon live releases. They proved to be an easy way to issue an album and would gradually decline in quality as the seventies progressed.
The original 1970 release contained ten songs and none were throwaways. “See See Rider” is the first song and would be a concert opener for years. “Release Me” and “Sweet Caroline” both have vocals that surpass the originals by Engelbert Humperdinck and Neil Diamond. They are deep, mellow and sincere and present the 1970’s pop Elvis at his best. Del Shannon’s “Runaway” is moved from rock to an up-tempo pop interpretation. The final song on side one of the original LP release was his current worldwide hit, “The Wonder Of You.” If there was one thing he could do at this point in his career it was sing his pop hits live just like the studio recordings.

Side two starts with “Polk Salad Annie.” This song was close to Elvis’ roots and while the spoken part may seem a little hokey 38 years later, the vocal is delivered with passion and sincerity. “Yesterday” is a rare Beatles cover for him. It was a competent delivery but is the weakest vocal on the album and pales next to Paul McCartney’s original. “Proud Mary” may not rock like the Creedence Clearwater original or have the intense soul of Ike and Tina Turner, but it is the signature pop version of this classic song.

Elvis is smart enough not to try to copy anyone else but just makes the song uniquely his own. “Walk A Mile In My Shoes” is taken in a country direction. However, on the modern day CD releases, the song is slowed down at the end and morphs into “In The Ghetto” which was brilliant. He closes with the eternal pop song, “Let It Be Me,” and swings on this song in a manner worthy of Frank Sinatra.

On Stage: February 1970, like most of Elvis’ albums, has been released on CD with bonus tracks. “Long Tall Sally” really rocks and makes the listener wish he or she could have been in the audience for this performance. “Kentucky Rain” is just a superb vocal of this country-pop tune.

The production on this album was crystal clear. James Burton had also settled in as Elvis’ lead guitarist and musical leader. His guitar runs are technically outstanding yet sensitive enough not to interfere with the vocals.

On Stage: February 1970 was an excellent live release by Elvis. It presents him at his best and the way he should be remembered.
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Tracklisting

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Reactions

Sandman (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 1, 2010report abuse
A fairly good result of his second run in Vegas.
mature_elvis_fan75 (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 28, 2008report abuse
Love this cd,This was before vegas became a bad thing for Elvis!
JLpResLey (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 24, 2008report abuse
Good album. But he´d done stronger live albums. Elvis in person, and the shows in NY is far better to me. Best song here? Must say Don´t Cry Daddy
Raleighroadace (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 23, 2008report abuse
I reallly love this album. Elvis was in top vocal form in Februaty 1970. You only have to compare this version of The Wonder Of You to the one in August 1970. During the latter version Elvis sounds slightly bored with the song and his vocal is much weaker than this version. Also Bob Lanning on the drums gives us a different drum sound to that of Ronnie Tutt. Not so complicated but refreshing nonetheless. Awesome. I wish he'd done more Creedence stuff though, like Up Around The Bend, Travelling Band and Suzi Q. (I believe he did sing the odd line of this in a few concerts). This album definately prtrays Elvis at his very best.
Pachakuti! (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 21, 2008report abuse
These versions of "See See Rider", "Release Me" and "I Can't Stop Loving You" rank among my favorites. There's so much power in it.. "time has stood stiii-hii-hii-hii-hill since we've been apart" - this version is apocalyptical, as Elvis, taking the metaphorical stance of a modern-day Samson, takes down the temple of the Filistines in a final obliterative gush of primal force with which he ends the song.
tigerpawl (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 19, 2008report abuse
I know this is the best live album Elvis ever put on record. As everyone knows the first release only had about 10 songs and the expanded version makes it seem this is the whole concert. This is the year or season when Elvis would start the concert with See See Rider his signature opening song. And Elvis could sing anyone else's song and make it sound damn good because he put his stamp on it. Proud Mary sounds better with Elvis singing in it because he had the best background vocals in the business and it did rock but not out of control rock like Tina. The sound from this perfrormance is unbelievable you can hear Elvis talking (especially after Polk Salad Annie you heare E breathing hard and saying "Tough way to make a living boy") and the audience is incredible.
circleG (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 19, 2008report abuse
This is a solid album with E taking on some, what was then, relatively contemporary songs. It hardly left my turn table. Very surprising since now that I've heard a few shows from Feb '70 I consider it to be a weak season. Why? Only 16 songs per show and the hotels demand that he shorten the length of each show so people would spend more money at the tables. Thankfully he told the owners where to go when he returned the following August and went back to longer fuller concerts.
Hawaii 5-0 (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 19, 2008report abuse
Brilliant album. But the difference between this and later 70's live albums is that this is a compilation album not a true live show. If I recall songs such as The Wonder Of You also had studio repairs to the backing vocals, and a guitar intro inserted to See See Rider. So really not comparable to MSG, Aloha or Live In Memphis 74 (FTD version). All of which are great live outings and are realistic reflections of the complete Elvis show.
Deke Rivers 6 (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 19, 2008report abuse
.....love the cover btw.
Deke Rivers 6 (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 19, 2008report abuse
I love this LP the strongest song for me is "Walk A Mile In My Shoes", "Runaway" has backing vocals missing therefore not as good as Del Shannon."The Wonder Of You" one of my all time favs.
JimmyCool (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 18, 2008report abuse
"They proved to be an easy way to issue an album and would gradually decline in quality as the seventies progressed." Hello? Memphis 1974! That's an awesome album, except for the fake applauses, but we have it on FTD ;) "However, on the modern day CD releases, the song ("Walk A Mile In My Shoes)" is slowed down at the end and morphs into “In The Ghetto” which was brilliant." Errrr... no. That's the original version, a Mdely between those two songs... On the original Album they only faded the end and left "In The Ghetto" P out.
Rob Wanders (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 18, 2008report abuse
great album; with teriffic songs like The wonder of you, Polk Sald Annie.
Steve V (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 18, 2008report abuse
This was a great live album for its time. It was my favorire Veags season by far. Now I wish Runaway & Yesterday(never cared for any Elvis version of a Beatles song) werent included on the orig Lp since they were from 1969. Maybe Dont Cry Daddy or Kentucky Rain would have been smarter choices. Anywa this has since been rectified on CD. Too bad we cant get an official release for a complete show from this season.
Shakingruud (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 18, 2008report abuse
I never really cared for any of the live albums. Import or official release. I have the official live albums, but i hardly ever play them. But i must admit that this one is pretty good, with Walk A Mile In My Shoes as my favorite!

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