Elvis As Recorded At Madison Square Garden

By Blogcritics/ David BowlingJul 22, 2008
Elvis As Recorded At Madison Square Garden

Elvis As Recorded At Madison Square Garden was issued in June of 1972. While this album only reached Number 11 on the Billboard charts, it would go on to sell more than 3 million copies. This album was also a recording of a complete concert rather than a pieced together affair. That fact gives the listener an accurate feel of an actual 1970’s Elvis concert.

When “Also Sprach Zarathustra (Theme From 2001: A Space Odyssey)” blasts from the speakers you know that Elvis Presley is about to perform. “That’s All Right” and “Proud Mary” immediately engage the audience as Elvis roars through both of this tunes. Elvis shows that he can still rock when he puts his mind to it.

Elvis slows the pace down with a superb version of Three Dog Night hit, “Never Been To Spain.” Elvis places the right vocal emphasis on each stanza as the song builds to its conclusion. His hit, “You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me,” is another ballad that builds and is a good vehicle for Elvis to show off his vocal range. “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” finishes off this trilogy of slow songs.

“Polk Salad Annie” is always a highlight of any Elvis performance. Elvis would always seem invested when performing this song. His deep vocal interpretation would enable him to appear sincere when singing this song of his southern roots.

The middle part of the concert was given over to a number of his early hits. There is both good and bad here as by this time Elvis would be more alive and energetic when performing newer songs. These were the songs that were important to the fans and as such Elvis would always include them. “Love Me,” “Heartbreak Hotel” and a medley of “Teddy Bear/Don’t Be Cruel” are performed merely to satisfy the audience.

“Love Me Tender” is a little better but he really uses this song to set up an impressive version of “The Impossible Dream.” His vocals key off a subtle piano in the background to create an intimate effect. “Hound Dog” is given an interesting treatment as it is slowed down from the norm. I’m not sure if I really like this interpretation but at least it was creative. His big hit, “Suspicious Minds,” brings back Elvis’ energy level and sets up the last third of the show.

Elvis goes country for the Ray Price hit, “For The Good Times.” Another nice deep vocal brings this ballad to life. Elvis would most always include “American Trilogy” in his '70’s shows. It was a patriotic medley which was originally a hit for Mickey Newbury. Elvis would literally adopt the song and make it his own. He gives it a gospel feel which is always a good thing for Elvis. “Funny How Time Slips Away” is a light pop presentation that is poignant today given Elvis’ subsequent history. A fine “I Can’t Stop Loving You” leads to the normal concert closer “Can’t Help Falling In Love.”

The band, led by guitarist James Burton, is at the top of its game. Oddly I find the production and mix of the original vinyl LP superior to that of later CD re-issues. All in all, Elvis As Recorded At Madison Square Garden, finds a healthy and vocally strong Elvis giving a very representative 1970’s performance. It is still an enjoyable listen.


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Sandman (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 1, 2010report abuse
His first appearance in New York since the fifties.
theoldscudder (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 2, 2008report abuse
I was at this show. Elvis looked like a little white peanut because I was in the nosebleed seats. Went back in Sunday paid a scalper $40.00 whole dollars & set in the 7th row center. & saw theKing clearly. Wonderful memories.
JerryNodak (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 25, 2008report abuse
Actually, I quite enjoy the oldies section (tracks 7-12) on this album. The really baaaad oldies sections would come later. At any rate the oldies here don't detract from my enjoyment of the album.
Raleighroadace (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 25, 2008report abuse
When I started having drumming lessons about 25 years ago my teacher used this album to illustrate drum techniques.Ronnie Tutt is awesome here and his drums are crystal clear and at the forefront of the mix.The whole band and Elvis himself are at the top of their game here and sound enthusiastic.You can tell the boredom hadn't yet set in.Classic.Elvis' voice on this album is much stronger than on Aloha From Hawaii.I don't know why,unless it was nerves making him sound restrained on the Aloha album.
sitdown68 (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 25, 2008report abuse
otisblue22: thank you, I have been released of a myth! and he said well well...
OtisBlue22 (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 25, 2008report abuse
Awful sound. And why listen to tracks 7-12? Waste of time, don't you think?
OtisBlue22 (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 25, 2008report abuse
Dylan's 'New Morning' album came out before 'EARAMSG', so I think 'Went to see the Gypsy' came about when Dylan saw Elvis in Vegas in 1969. He thought Elvis was too forceful in his approach, much like Dylan himself was on his record-breaking '74 tour with The Band.
Jim says hello (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 25, 2008report abuse
Steve V, you lucky dog! To have your memory for just one day. This was the first album I ever owned and the one started this whole obsession... funnily enough I think Afternoon at the Garden has Elvis in much better voice... on the usual high notes, he's unbelievably strong and shows some beautiful variations in Trilogy, Can't Stop Loving You and Can't Help Falling in Love especially.
You Dont Know Me (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 25, 2008report abuse
I'd like to see the FULL evening show released again with out the obvious 'edits' made to fit it onto 1 vinyl records 'running time' and the compression that had to be done to release that!
JerryNodak (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 24, 2008report abuse
My personal fave of all the "Live" albums. Great versions of Proud Mary; Never Been To Spain;
Polk Salad Annie; For The Good Times; The Impossible Dream; I Can't Stop Loving You.
Steve V (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 24, 2008report abuse
sitdown68 - no i missed the Sat afternoon show. I only had the funds to attend 2 shows back then and I opted for the final 2, Sat night & Sunday afternoon (which I preferred more)
sitdown68 (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 24, 2008report abuse
well, Steve, this was about my fourth Elvis album back in 78. Did you attend a concert where he did Reconsider Baby? Dylan was inspired to write "I went to see the gipsy man" which was later released on his "New Morning" album.
Steve V (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 24, 2008report abuse
Pedro - thanks. Yes, now I do remember hearing about Harrison & Bowie.
Pedro Nuno (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 24, 2008report abuse
Steve V, Harrison went back stage, to see Elvis and was with his classic (by then) denim jeans and jacket. He said that Elvis was so splendorous in the Blue Adonis suit that The King seemed like "Lord Shiva". In fact Elvis was very fun of George Harrison being his favourite Beatle. David Bowie was also in the audience completely dressed as Ziggy Stardust. Robert Plant, from Led Zeppelin also said he was present in the afternoon concert. This stories are revelled in the fantastic book "The rough Guide to Elvis" marvellously written by Paul Simpson and edited by The Penguin Books. A true master piece, an almanac, made by a truly illuminated Elvis Fan (thank you Paul).
Natha (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 24, 2008report abuse
I wish I had the money then. I would have loved to be at the MSG shows. Lucky Steve V indeed.
A great album which had so many spins that the album belongs to those great favs of mine that by now seem almost transparent by the wearing off. Luckily we have CDs now and even better machines to enjoy the full scope of Elvis' performance skills.
Steve V (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 24, 2008report abuse
circleG - that is true, but it happened at the Friday night show. It was even reported in the papers. But at the shows I was at, Jackie wasnt booed, although the crowd was restless. After all, we waited since the 50's for Elvis to appear in NY. It never should have taken that long. What I'd like to know is this. It was reported that the following were at these NY shows, Dylan, Paul Simon, Lennon, Harrison. Does anyone know if any of them went backstage for a meet?
circleG (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 24, 2008report abuse
Steve V, boy do I envy you ! I read somewhere Elvis was so annoyed with the audience reaction to the comedian warm up act ( jackie kahane?) that he almost didn't go on. That may have contributed to his lack of participation with the audience at the show. Any one know if it's true?
Martin DJ (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 24, 2008report abuse
The release of the album was speeded up, not its contents: it came out eight days after the concert. (How do you think Elvis and the band would sound if they had speeded up the recording?)
JimmyCool (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 24, 2008report abuse
I heard somewhere that John Wilkinson stated that Elvis never sounded better, but the album was speeded up for release... is that true?
Steve V (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 23, 2008report abuse
The best part of this album for me is, I was at the actual concert. I think I enjoy it more beause of that. It did seem rushed a bit & too slick to my date. But a great evening and memories. We went back the next day & thought the show was even better. Elvis seemd more relaxed.

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