Probably to give us a great Christmas FTD released "One Night in Vegas" a little earlier than planned, thanks for that, no wait, countless (or should that be Florida counts?) thanks for that!
This will probably be the hardest review ever written by us. Beforehand we know it will be very hard, if not impossible not to profuse in superlatives. Yes, we admit, we are prejudiced, we like Elvis, especially Elvis in this shape. After only two runs of this CD we'll try to get ourselves together and write some useful thoughts about it, starting with the design.
The usual digipack format has the usual lack of info (this time they didn't even care to mark the previously (un)released tracks). Thanks to a great looking Elvis we have a nice cover anyway. In general the design is pretty much the same as the TTWII SE-release of last summer.
The show on the CD is the opening night of the summer engagement of 1970 in Vegas. Recently Ernst Jorgensen stated BMG doesn't have many opening nights. The opening night of 1974 is well known for its "strange" song list and this show proves that Elvis did that more often. Only four "oldies" (including Mystery Train / Tiger Man) in this show! The result is one of Elvis' most entertaining shows on CD, if not the most entertaining.
During the exciting opening riff it is already clear that the sound is very good. Ronnie Tutt shows very well why Elvis missed him earlier in 1970. With a stormy "That's All Right" and even more powerful "Mystery Train/ Tiger Man" Elvis takes care of warming up the audience immediately. Some talk that was used on the TTWII-boxset, leads into "I Can't Stop Loving You". "Love Me Tender" gets the usual "kissing and talking" treatment. Also issued on the TTWII-set was "The Next Step Is Love", here we have it in place, one of those Elvis songs that you can't hear often enough. It's only words we have to describe this CD and once again Elvis steals our heart away with "Words" before he performs a nice version of "I Just Can't Help Believin'" with alternative lyrics.
After some more talk Elvis introduces the producer of the show before diving into the Beatles songbook with "Something", one of the most beautiful versions ever done. Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline" is next up where the clear sound catches the ear once again, those bells are fitting well with this Christmas present. The bass and high snares form a perfect intro to a perfect version of "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'", desperately sung as it ought to be. The boxset-version of "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" brings us down south to "Polk Salad Annie", with Elvis feeling as an ol' stripper. A very short introduction of the group precedes the new single of that moment, "I've Lost You", which turns out to have difficult lyrics. A tremendous "Bridge" and sparkling "Patch It Up" are the two songs that Elvis does before closing with "Can't Help Falling in Love".
A kind of bonus is formed by several tracks from August 4, 1970, while Elvis was rehearsing in the International Hotel's convention room. Another version of "Words", a fun "Cattle Call / Yodel"-medley, Elvis counting of for "Twenty Days and Twenty Nights" as if it's the toughest rock'n'roll song ever, again "You Don't Have to Say" and an unfortunately incomplete, but unexpected, version of "Bridge over Troubled Water" give a nice relaxed and fun cooling down of what is by far the best FTD-release so far. Gladly we got it now, and didn't BMG wait a couple of year to release it on the major label. When we were able to chose, we'd release all material left from TTWII in the next 10 or so FTD-releases, or even better make it an extra 10CD box. One thing for sure: this CD won't leave our player for a while, at least until we will have the DVD of TTWII SE.