Last week the new FTDs arrived, first up is Sold Out!, which contains 2 shows from 1974.
The 2CD set is in the 7”format, with the usual booklet. I said usual, but this time it is more than usual. The liner notes are well researched and the presentation of it is great. Many live shots from the March and June tours of 1974 combined with memorabilia are presented tasty.
The first CD from the March 1 show in Tulsa has great sound. A good balance between instruments and Elvis makes it pleasant to listen too. Unfortunately Elvis’ voice is not as strong as later during that tour. Don’t get me wrong, it is not bad, but just not as strong. Especially a powerhouse like Tryin’ To Get To You suffers from it a bit, and during Help Me the singing saw sounds louder than Elvis. The show has a normal set list for the time, but it misses the rock’n’roll medley (sniff).
The Cleveland show from June 21 has a much, much stronger Elvis voice. The balance between instruments is a little less compared to the first CD. Elvis is very focussed, does hardly talk (in opposite to the rambling he did 2 months later in Vegas) and gives hell of performances.
Olivia Newton-John already sung it in the seventies: Never Enough. We have always something to complain. I like the sound of the first CD better, but Elvis’ performance on the second is way stronger. Still, in my book this is one of the better live CDs on FTD.
The (other) great site Elvis in norway, has just reviewed both of the two new FTDs, they both get very good critic.
I received my copy last week and I am very pleased with both performances although I do agree with Lex that Elvis' voice is a little bit thinner during the Tulsa show. He is very focused in the Cleveland show and the summer of '74 tour is a lot like the summer of '73 tour in which Elvis seemed just as thrilled as the audience to be there. There are not any versions of the songs that are performed that would be considered Elvis' best versions of the songs and "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me' is very rushed, but there aren't any poor versions either.
It seems that there are always those who question if Ernst & the FTD team listen to the fans – I’d say that this new release by them proves that Ernst does albeit in so much as most of us listen to those who like to nag and complain. That being said, what has his listening brought about ?
First, it has brought about a two-CD set in the 7” format. This should please the fans who no longer like the smaller format. It also should please those who complain about the prices of the releases since it includes two CDs for the prices of one. Second, it includes a booklet that, dare I say it, rivals any of the ‘import’ booklets that we’ve all lavished praise on over that last 10-12 years. It’s one of the more concise and well-researched booklets you will find. SUPERB !!!
Second, for those who complain about re-releases of material, this set avoids that trap. It includes two unheard concerts from (gasp !) somewhere other than Las Vegas. It also contains performances that showcases a coherent and focused Elvis doing his best (which is pretty damn good on both shows) to entertain the crowd. Unfortunately, since we have so many other shows on CD from 1974, we are used to the set list, but there are a few new ones here and there.
Last, the sound. I was very impressed the sound on the Tulsa set. It really is one of the better soundboards that I’ve heard. In comparing the two sets, the sound on the Tulsa show is (as Lex noted) better than the sound on the Cleveland set. Don’t get me wrong, the set on the Cleveland set is very good as well. It’s just that on the Cleveland show the instrumentation is lower in the mix with Elvis’ vocal being more prominent (really ? that’s a bad thing ?) .
Over all, this set is a complete winner in my opinion. If Ernst and co. would consider a set like this to showcase Elvis in each of the years he toured, I think he’d have a great series of releases. If you look at the cover, it says “On Tour 1974.” I can envision a two CD set that says “On Tour 1972” – yep ! you know what two shows it should contain. Then, there’d be the “On Tour 1973”, “… 1975”, etc. Ernst, if you’re really listening, I think you and your staff have struck upon your best idea since the “Classic Album” idea.
Orion. I really like your comments. Very well thought out.
Orion,nice comment and good reasoning indeed ! Always El.
100 % agree with you Orion, and they even took 3 Elvis fans in on the project ;Ciscoking ,Frieser and Slebos.
I was only responsible for the choice of the shows..glad you like it.. Orion..great comment..much appreciated..
Looks good! :-) This is the treatment the 2007 "An American Trilogy" release should have had! February 1972 stereo multitrack recordings on CD1 and the COMPLETE January 1972 soundboard opening show on disc 2. On the 2007 FTD release the multitrack recordings suffered a bit from the mastering that tried to even the difference to the soundboard tracks added at the end of the CD. This could have been the perfect LV 1972 release. A lost opportunity...
Cisco - I'd say that us fans are fortunate that Ernst has turned to you to pick out the soundboard releases. So far, you're off to a great start. I enjoyed the Shreveport '75 show quite a bit, and now the two that make up this excellent release. Keep up the good work. I'm sure with you behind the wheel, we won't have to worry about any more "America" or "New Haven" releases on FTD.
We are all one team and everyone`s input made this release.. good shows, good layout, good booklet..thank you. A perfect package I think..
Orian, your comments are fully appreciated and agreed upon by be. This type of comment on these cds would definitely put me to buying the release. Fortunately I already got my copy before reading your analysis.
As the old expression goes, 'there is no I in team," but I just wanted to let you know my appreciation for your part in the project. Since I have no direct way to thank the others involved, I was compelled to write the post that started this conversation to show my appreciation for this set. Anyway, you summed it up nicely - A perfect package.
Completely off subject, but you know what one of my favorite parts of the layout was ? The inside cover that illustrated that Elvis played to over 1.5 million fans during 1974 alone. Also, now that I'm older, I really can appreciate the map of the US (I think this was on the back of the original "Having Fun... LP) that shows the cities that Elvis had visited on his tours up to this point. When I was younger, I really didn't care, but as I studied it now, it was very eye-opening as to his bread and butter was. Oh well, just a few little extras that really make this set special.
Fantastic release. Great line up from Elvis last great year (1975 was not bad ...) Wonderful comments and a fine review. Just order it today!!!!! TCB to all.
Orion..another great comment..much appreciated..!
Let me add my comments to the rest- WONDERFUL JOB! Thanks to Cisco, and the rest of the team. Looking forward to the next releases.
So nice to see everyone agree:-) I have ordered my copy. Looking forward to receiving it and I'm looking forward to future releases! Any ideas (wishes) for great combo's? Anyone?
Smile – My wish would be for a combo of July 1975 tour; either the Uniondale shows, or the shows in Asheville. 1972 is also an obvious choice (June or November tours) and 1970 September or November shows. Anything from August 1971 would also be great! This package is outstanding, and could be the start of a great series: Sold out 1970, 1971, 1972, etc…- TCB
Yes, July 1975 would have been great. Hopefully a soundboard from that tour will appear someday... Anyone else noticed that the biggest gap in documented tours is from summer '72 to summer '73?. Nothing is released (officially) from the Nov. '72 tour, April '73 tour and the summer '73 tour. I really hope for releases from this period:-)
i agree with a lot of people here. Great shows and great soundquality. My favourite is the Tulsa-show, because of the soundquality.
any combo is good with me as long as they're from the same tour ( is that a contradiction?) , that makes more sense when i have to file it into my collection ;)
circleG, I agree with that. I have the same prolem with those releases in combo cover more years!
I've been biased regarding soundboards over the years. Mostly because the mudded, unbalanced mix between vocals and instruments in too many cases. If only every soundboard would have been recorded like these ones, I would surely have been more into them. I can easily say that SOLD OUT have become favourites already. I've always loved Recorded Live In Memphis, the original album as well as the FTD Version. 48 Hours To Memphis only confirmed the form Elvis was in during that period.
Now Sold Out only cemented my love for his performances during those early 1974 tours. It's simply a pleasure to listen to Elvis through these FTD's! An Elvis who not only sings well, but also really in the mood for performing for his audiences.
The interactions with the audiences not least the interaction with the band, orchestra and backup singers. Simply wonderful entertainment and listening pleasure! Elvis surely didn't die after Aloha!
This already made it into my top 5 FTD and I have only heard the first show ! The sound is GREAT and Elvis'voice is very strong, just listen to Tryin' to get to you ! And Suspicious Minds is one of the best post 69 versions that I have heard. A big thank you to everyone involved on this project, including Ciscoking for selecting these shows for release. I have just praised the "Hot August Night" FTD, but this one easily tops that one.Now I will go put the other show on, TCB.
Thank you for the kind words..in the name of the whole FTD dream.
Due to a delay, I just got my copy 2 days ago. Tulsa - a hi octane gig if he ever did one, with cracking sound and the band in top form it's like "Prince from another planet" on steroids. I never expected it to be this enjoyable considering the standard set list. There are some moments of imbalance here and there. 'Why Me..' - can anyone here Elvis on it ? and too much JD on 'Let Me Be There'. Otherwise my highlights were the first 2 numbers and 'Johnny B...' the best live version since 1969 IMO
Cleveland doesn't disappoint either. A bit more bassy here but aren't all shows from this tour. It's still well balanced and even runs rings around the Amarillo and L.A SB's. While not an exact repeat of Tulsa, Elvis gives most if not all songs above average treatment here - even the closing number ! Nothing forced or over improvised, he seems a little more freed up tonight and it's evidenced in songs like 'Bridge' and 'Tryin' To Get To You'. Keep 'em coming FTD crew.