With a wink to the NY Times for the title, Sony released a 2CD/DVD set commemorating the 40th anniversary of Elvis’ shows in Madison Square Garden.
The package is stunning. The carton box hold the 3 fold case of the CDs and DVD and the booklet.
The case has the pictures used for the original album and An Afternoon In The Garden and a great shot of Elvis from the back. The inside is decorated with newspaper clippings and other memorabilia.
The book cover shows a misty skyline of NYC. It contains interesting liner notes by Lenny Kaye, newspaper clipping, memorabilia and above all great shots from our man. In other words: this work of art is a great help to go completely into the music.
The two shows are known by heart by most of us, so I guess I don’t need to spend a word on them. The sound quality is stunning and what is more important: the shows sound like they are actually from the same day!
The DVD starts with a mini documentary on the MSG shows. Several people like James Burton and Glen Hardin were interviewed and decorated with pictures and some of the footage it gives an interesting background document. Then we get the full press conference, nothing new here, but the quality is certainly better than previous outings.
The, for us fans, most important part of the DVD is the footage. Sony decided to put the full show on the DVD, with the footage shown when available. This means you are watching a black screen about two thirds of the time. I think it is an understandable choice because of the continuous music, but would have opted for stills in between the footage. Additionally I would have added the footage in sequence, with the music cut up… there’s space enough on the DVD.
One last word about the footage itself: it’s grainy but very recognizable, certainly compared to those white spot videos I used to watch in the 80s and 90s.
Of course I found something to complain about, but all together it is a marvellous product, one of the best on the main label in ages!