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An Afternoon In The Garden

An Afternoon In The Garden (cover)
Released: 1997/03 by BMG 07863 674572
Rating: 3.6 Stars3.6 Stars3.6 Stars3.6 Stars
Second release from the famous MSG shows.
Tracklist:

The ElvisNews Review

The announcement that "Elvis The Concert" will be in Madison Square Garden is a good reason to take a closer look on the two albums that were released by BMG/RCA. Two shows on CD, out of the four that Elvis gave in 1972 ain't bad. Both albums contain a show from Saturday, June 10 1972. The original 1972 album "As Recorded at Madison Square Garden" brings us the evening show, while the title of the second (1997) release "An Afternoon In The Garden" speaks for itself.
In Rolling Stone 116 Bob Palmer started his review like this:
"This is a damn fine record, friend, and you're going to like it whether you like it or not. There's Wagnerian bombast, plenty of your favorite songs, some jukebox music and some Las Vegas lounge music. There's even some old fashioned rock 'n' roll. And most of all there's lots of Elvis, doing what he does best, strutting his stuff before his adoring fans. There's even historical interest; this was Elvis' first New York stage appearance, and you can bet plenty of folks had been waiting since 1956 for a little of that Elvis magic. Well, they got it, and you can hear them getting it right here, the whole thing, from the opening whisper of Also Sprach Zarathustra to the MC announcing that 'Elvis has left the building. Thank you and good night.'"
Very clear words, that we are not going to contradict. Nowadays people say about this album that the decline was already (slightly) visible. This comment is mostly based upon the fact that everything was very tight and up tempo. We saw more than once comments like "Elvis was in a hurry to get home". Allthough those comments are understandable, one should not forget the image of time. Compared to a lot of other music from the early 70's Elvis' music was still relaxed, but the "oldies" got indeed already the rushed, bored treatment. Not as bad as later on, but they didn't sound like Elvis' was really enjoying them. The one exception being "Hound Dog", since Elvis obviously enjoyed the fooling around with its start.
Furtheron in the above mentioned review Bob Palmer trumpeted forth the praises of the band, the backbone of Elvis' show in the 70's and the backbone of "Elvis The Concert". Besides some annoying mistakes, like misspelling of names and naming Kathy Westmoreland as one of the Sweet Inspirations, we can only agree with mr. Palmer once again: 
"Every great rock and roll singer needs a great rock and roll band, and Elvis has got one. James Burton, the guitarist, can pick Sun era rockabilly, country twang, laid-back bluesy fills and sharp, ringing single string leads. Bassist Jerry Schiff and drummer Ronnie Tutt are super tight; when they nail down the beat, it stays nailed down. Pianist Glen Hardman knows when to honk and when to tonk. The backup singers are the Sweet Inspirations and J.D. Sumner and the Stamps, the one a black gospel group, the other white gospel. Church music of the sanctified, shouting kind has never been far removed from blues and rock & roll, so these two groups are perfect complements to Elvis' gospel-tinged voice. Kathy West-moreland of the Inspirations sings graceful obbligatos way up high, and Mr. J.D. Sumner is the most authoritative bass singer you could imagine, especially when he ends a song with one of his long, perfectly timed slides down from the dominant to the tonic. Of course there's also a flaccid orchestra sawing away in the background, but it's used like the orchestras on some of the classic Phil Spector records, to reverberate around the core of band and singers and occasionally come out with a sweet lead line."
About everything that can be said of "As Recorded at" holds for "An Afternoon". Not surprisingly the setlists don't differ too much from each other. Most fans agree that the afternoon show was more spectacular, but it seems that "The Impossible Dream" was the main reason RCA to release the eveningshow in 1972. The release itself was done very fast: only 8 days after the shows at MSG RCA shipped it. The album reached to the eleventh place in the charts.
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Reactions

OtisBlue22 (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 16, 2011report abuse
5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 StarsIn retrospect, I may have been a tad harsh in my initial diagnosis. The New York shows found Elvis fully-engaged, delivering an intense and varied programme jam-packed with goodies: the powerhouse Proud Mary, the full-throated soul-assault on You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin', a fiery rendition of Polk Salad Annie, a romp through his 50s classics (including a delightfully bluesy take on Hound Dog), and crowned by a reliably majestic An American Trilogy, the latter never failing to send shivers down the spine. Elvis rose to the occasion at MSG, and, perhaps knowing that the famously merciless New York press were out in full force, doesn't fool around with his oldies, but instead motors through the medley with all of the white heat of a Vince Everett. Listen to Elvis masterfully tease his audience as Hound Dog returns to its rhythm & blues roots (indeed, the kind of delivery Leiber & Stoller had first envisioned for the piece when they penned it) and then listen as the capacity crowd explodes with delight when Elvis finally gives them what they want. Big Mama Thornton would be proud. Sure, Boots Randolph isn't there to recreate his celebrated solo during Reconsider Baby, but Elvis doesn't care. He's having a ball, singing with real blues feeling, down and plain dirty. One of the reasons I return to this disc time and time again is to hear Elvis say to Burton: "Play the blues, James, play the blues." Burton, whose scorching fingerpicking style has graced records by the likes of Ricky Nelson and Dale Hawkins, doesn't disappoint!
Sandman (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 1, 2010report abuse
2 Stars2 StarsThe afternoon concert in Madison Square Garden, 1972. Released much later.
OtisBlue22 (profilecontact) wrote on Dec 9, 2007report abuse
3 Stars3 Stars3 StarsUnlike an early review of As Recorded at MSG, Elvis' band was technically brilliant but it WASN'T a great rock 'n' roll band. I desperately miss Boots Randolph's sax, and the organ-work of Presley's early 60's material. Apparently Elvis misses Boots too, hence his attempts to simulate the sax fills with his voice during Reconsider Baby. This was an annoying habit of Elvis during those 70s shows. His band is bigger, but not necessarily better than that which backed him at Bloch arena, in 1961. The greatest sax solo in rock 'n' roll history is replaced by James Burton's guitar. Not that he's a bad player, but I prefer Hank 'Sugarfoot' Garland. An Afternoon in the Garden is Elvis the polished showman; perfection replaces inspiration; the King is as tame as Sinatra. For example, listen to Love Me. On the Ed Sullivan show, this sent shivers down my spine. Here, it's just over and done with, one more song closer to leaving the stage. It's not all bad: the Vegas show tunes are the best of the bunch- well-executed, tastefully done. But since I became a fan of Elvis as the menace in Jailhouse Rock, Elvis the "sideburned delinquent", the Sun Records country boy, this album leaves me feeling kinda empty inside.
Jumpin Jehosaphat (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 2, 2007report abuse
5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Starsyes this is 5 stars because i was there courtesy of NYPD security what a show.
JimmyCool (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 26, 2007report abuse
5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 StarsVery good album, although the remastering isn't very good. It sounds too flat and the drums sounds like a little tambourine! I preffer the evening show, but I would like to hear it completely and with remastered sound. That would be so good!
Aarons (profilecontact) wrote on Mar 23, 2007report abuse
3 Stars3 Stars3 StarsI love this album its one of my favourates to listen to.
JerryNodak (profilecontact) wrote on Dec 28, 2005report abuse
3 Stars3 Stars3 StarsThat's 3 stars. Not 5.
JerryNodak (profilecontact) wrote on Dec 26, 2005report abuse
5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 StarsWhy I don't care for this release/concert: Lousy sound mix, Elvis to upfront. Too many rushed oldies. AND no Impossible Dream. I prefer the evening show. Even with it's bad mix. Evening show needs an upgrade.
ger (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 30, 2005report abuse
1 StarElvis as Batman yuk
Lex (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 7, 2005report abuse
4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 StarsClassic cover! Love to have the promo poster in my livingroom. Musicwise... it's still good but not E at his best.
pasa-ryu (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 6, 2005report abuse
5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Starsi cannot believe this excellant CD has been rated only 1 star?-this cd is amazing!!..far better than the original album 1972...simple as.
Tina S (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 12, 2005report abuse
1 Star"As Recorded at Madison Square Garden was bad Elvis was past his sell by date this album is no better