In A Flash

Sony ups the stakes with 8-CD THAT’S THE WAY IT IS set

My pal David Troedson at the newly redesigned Elvis Australia reports that Sony will release in August an eight, count them, eight CD set for That’s The Way It Is. While he notes that the release is “100% confirmed,” full details are not yet available.

If you will excuse me for just a moment here…

WOW! YES!! FINALLY!!! I CAN’T BELIEVE IT!!!! WOO HOO!!!!!! GO SONY!!!!!!

…Okay, I am back.

According to David’s source, the CDs will include “unreleased concerts.”

Of the six known 1970 concerts that RCA recorded for That’s The Way It Is, only two have not yet been officially released in relatively complete form: the August 11 Dinner Show and the August 12 Dinner Show.

There is even a possibility that the set will also contain two DVDs – likely duplicating the contents of Warner Home Video’s 2007 reissue of That’s The Way It Is.

This all comes on the heels of Warner’s recent announcement that it will release That’s The Way It Is on Blu-ray August 12.

Elvis on stage in Las Vegas (August 12, 1970, Dinner Show)

Elvis on stage in Las Vegas (August 12, 1970, Dinner Show)

For me, the That’s The Way It Is event, starting with the June session in Nashville and concluding with the August 1970 Vegas concerts, represents the pinnacle of Elvis Presley’s career. He was never quite as incredible again as he was in the summer of 1970. It may go against what others may do, but when I think of Elvis, I think first of Summer 1970.

Since we have no other details on the CDs as of yet, I am going to indulge myself and speculate.

My hope is that the original album, singles, and related Nashville studio outtakes are saved for a 2-CD Legacy Edition apparently due out at the same time. That way, there would actually be a reason to buy both the 8-CD set and the 2-CD set. [This approach would, of course, open Sony up to complaints, but let’s be honest and realize some people will complain no matter what they do.]

Were it up to me, based on what is known to exist, I would create a release something like this, with all material newly mixed and mastered by Vic Anesini:

CD 1: August 12 Midnight Show

CD 2: July 15 Rehearsal

CD 3: August 10 Opening Show

CD 4: August 11 Dinner Show

CD 5: August 11 Midnight Show

CD 6: July 29 Rehearsal

CD 7: August 12 Dinner Show

CD 8: August 13 Dinner Show

Of course, if additional concerts from the timeframe are hidden in the vault somewhere, those would take precedence over previously released performances above. I would also fill up each CD that had additional space with highlights from the remaining rehearsals.

Amazing that even at eight CDs, I am still having to edit back what I would really want to release on a That’s The Way It Is multi-CD set.

It appears that Sony has come to the table in a big way in terms of a definitive That’s The Way It Is audio release. Will Warner Brothers raise the stakes even higher and go all-in by 2020 with a similarly comprehensive video release? Only time will tell.

Categories: In A Flash, Music, The Mystery Train Blog | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Covering THAT’S THE WAY IT IS through the years

 

THAT'S THE WAY IT IS: SPECIAL EDITION Blu-ray cover (concept art)

THAT’S THE WAY IT IS: SPECIAL EDITION Blu-ray cover (concept art)

Warner Home Video has released the cover art for the August 12 Blu-ray release of That’s The Way It Is: Special Edition (above). The documentary captures Elvis in the summer of 1970 in rehearsals and performances for his third concert series at the International Hotel in Las Vegas.

There are also at least two versions of the related press release floating around on the Web. As this version comes directly from Warner Brothers, this is likely the most accurate as far as preliminary product details:

Disc 1 (Blu-ray Disc)
2001 Special Edition
Special Features:
“Patch It Up: The Restoration of ‘Elvis: That’s The Way It Is’”
12 Outtakes – song/nonmusical sequences
1970 Original Theatrical Version

Disc 2 (DVD)
1970 Original Theatrical Version
Special Features:
12 Outtakes – song/nonmusical sequences

That’s The Way It Is represents my personal favorite of all of Elvis Presley’s projects, so I am thrilled it is finally coming to Blu-ray. Based on Warner Home Video’s partial mangling of the 2010 Elvis On Tour Blu-ray release, among other prior Elvis video issues, I am trying to remain cautious, however.

Content-wise, this appears simply to be a Blu-ray version of the 2007 2-DVD reissue of the Special Edition. However, the potential for dramatic improvement in video and audio quality that Blu-ray offers should be a strong selling point. I suspect that only the 2001 Special Edition, which represents a completely different edit of the film than the original theatrical version, is garnering the full upgrade treatment. I hope I am wrong, however, as both versions deserve it.

I hope that Warner spent more time on the films than it did the cover art, for something about it looks slightly familiar. Join me for a trip down Memories Lane for a look at previous home video cover art related to That’s The Way It Is.

Original Home Video Releases (Circa. 1987)

THAT'S THE WAY IT IS home video covers (circa. 1987)

Note the error on the left cover promoting “The Wonder of You” as being included in the movie. Though Elvis name-checks the song, it did not appear in the actual film. A performance of “The Wonder of You” from that engagement did not appear on video for another five years. It was also added to the Special Edition version in 2001.

1988 VHS Re-release

THAT'S THE WAY IT IS home video cover (1988)

Lest there be any doubt, Elvis did not wear a pink jumpsuit in That’s The Way It Is. As a child of the 1980s, I have to love the vintage cover art style, though.

1992 VHS Release of The Lost Performances

THE LOST PERFORMANCES home video cover (1992)

The original photo of the same Elvis pose made an appearance on the cover of Elvis: The Lost Performances, a release that helped define my Elvis fanhood. It featured outtakes from That’s The Way It Is and Elvis On Tour. While the main Elvis photo is unfortunately a reverse image, this is still one of my all-time favorite covers. Maybe it is because I loved that video so much, though. Looking back, I do have to wonder if using similar cover art caused consumer confusion. Many that already had the 1988 video release of That’s The Way It Is may very well have believed this was the same content under new packaging – despite the “lost” title.

 1997 VHS Re-releases and First DVD Release

1997 VHS editions of THAT'S THE WAY IT IS and THE LOST PERFORMANCES; 1997 DVD edition of THAT'S THE WAY IT IS

As The Lost Performances had (temporarily) taken over the Elvis pose first used for That’s The Way It Is on VHS in 1988, striking new cover art for That’s The Way It Is made its debut for the 1997 VHS and DVD editions of the film. The Lost Performances VHS cover also received a slight redesign for 1997, though, sadly, it did not receive a DVD issue.

2001 Special Edition VHS and DVD Releases

2001 VHS and DVD editions of THAT'S THE WAY IT IS: SPECIAL EDITION

A new edit of That’s The Way It Is, marketed as That’s The Way It Is: Special Edition, made its debut in limited theatrical runs in 2000. In 2001, it hit home video with VHS and DVD releases. Unfortunately, Warner had to excise bonus features at the last moment due to not obtaining proper clearances. A performance of “Are You Lonesome Tonight” over the closing credits also had to be replaced. The original version of the film was not included. For the cover art, Warner went back to the tried and true Elvis pose first used in 1988 – despite the fact that this was a different version of the film from the original. Again, fans who already had previous versions with similar covers probably did not bother to buy this one. The “special edition” also featured only a few of the songs from The Lost Performances.

2007 DVD Re-release

2007 DVD edition of THAT'S THE WAY IT IS: SPECIAL EDITION

By 2007, the original theatrical version of That’s The Way It Is was out-of-print on DVD. A 2-DVD re-release of That’s The Way It Is: Special Edition included the original film and some of the excised bonus features from 2001 on the second disc. Bonus features were in embarrassing video quality for a mainstream release. While definitely watchable, the 1970 theatrical cut was also in lesser condition relative to the 2001 edit.

2014 First Blu-ray Release (and beyond?)

2014 Blu-ray edition of THAT'S THE WAY IT IS: SPECIAL EDITION

Hundreds of incredible photos are available of Elvis during the filming of That’s The Way It Is, but the Warner Home Video art department remains firmly fixated on the same image featuring Elvis after audience members have ripped his jumpsuit and mussed up his hair during an impulsive walk through the crowd.

Categories: In A Flash, Movies, The Mystery Train Blog, The Suspicious Minds Blog | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

THAT’S THE WAY IT IS: SPECIAL EDITION coming to Blu-ray in August

Elvis Presley performs live in August 1970

Elvis Presley in THAT’S THE WAY IT IS: SPECIAL EDITION (1970/2000)

From ElvisMatters:

An exclusive screening of the world premiere of Warner Bros.’ newly-remastered version of Elvis: That’s The Way It Is – Special Edition will be held at the Orpheum Theatre [in Memphis, Tennessee]. The Elvis concert documentary will be available for the first time on Blu-ray on August 12. Fans will be treated not only to the newly-remastered film, but will also get to experience an outtake performance or sequence never-before-seen on the big screen. In addition, the screening will feature an on-stage performance by Terry Blackwood and The Imperials and “Elvis: That’s The Way It Is” related artifacts on display in the lobby, direct from the Graceland Archives.

I have not yet been able to find confirmation of this on the official Elvis.com or Graceland.com sites, but it is not unusual for them to be behind on even their own news. I even tried the Orpheum site.

If this pans out, I would not be surprised if additional screenings are added across the United States via Fathom Events, as was done to promote the Elvis On Tour Blu-ray in 2010.

Perhaps Warner will be more accurate in its product descriptions for That’s The Way It Is: Special Edition Blu-ray than they were for the Elvis On Tour Blu-ray.

Update: Graceland.com has now confirmed the screening and Blu-ray release for August, though the press release is unclear on certain product details. Look for plenty of coverage here in coming months.

Categories: In A Flash, Movies, The Mystery Train Blog, The Suspicious Minds Blog | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

ELVIS RECORDED LIVE ON STAGE IN MEMPHIS Legacy Edition out today, with bonus Richmond concert

Before we begin, a reminder that there are less than 13 hours left to lock in your predictions bracket for Elvis Mania 2014. The person with the highest score will receive a Sony Legacy Edition CD of an Elvis title, courtesy of The Mystery Train Blog. See yesterday’s post for more details. [Update: Predictions are now locked.]

* * *

Forty years ago today, on March 18, 1974, Elvis Presley rocked the Richmond Coliseum in Virginia. A live recording of the concert features on the second CD of a new Legacy Edition of Elvis Recorded Live On Stage In Memphis, in stores today from Sony.

The first CD features a complete version of the March 20 Memphis concert at the Mid-South Coliseum that RCA first released in an edited form in 1974. Elvis earned his third and final Grammy Award for his performance of “How Great Thou Art” in Memphis on that original 1974 album.

The Follow That Dream collectors label for Elvis fans restored the missing tracks from the Memphis concert and removed unnecessary audience overdubs in a 2004 Classic Albums CD release of the title, including a new mix. The same label also issued the expanded show in vinyl format as a 2-record set last year. This new 2014 Legacy Edition features yet another new mix of the Memphis concert.

The Richmond concert made its debut in 2011’s Forty-Eight Hours To Memphis on the FTD label. This new release features the same mix of the Richmond show as on the 2011 collectors CD.

The Elvis Presley Show crisscrossed back and forth from Virginia to Tennessee on that leg of his tour. Tickets for a March 12 appearance at the Richmond Coliseum sold out so quickly that Elvis’s management re-routed the tour to accommodate a second show there on March 18. Elvis performed four shows in Memphis on March 16 and 17, hit Richmond, Virginia, again on March 18, and then returned to Tennessee for concerts in Murfreesboro and Memphis on March 19 and 20, respectively.

RCA professionally recorded the March 20 Memphis concert for the album project. It is a 16-track recording (audio elements recorded on separate channels) that can be tweaked for optimum sound quality. The Memphis show is presented in stereo.

Though the background story remains mysterious, the March 18 Richmond concert was supposedly captured as a 16-track recording, too. If so, it remains missing from the Sony vaults – lost, stolen, or erased.

The Richmond concert audio source on both the 2011 and 2014 releases is a tape copy of a mono mix-down of the 16-track recording, with artificial reverb applied. In other words, no further changes can be made to the Richmond mix or reverb since the 16-track original is unavailable.

While Elvis’s sound engineers often made informal reference tapes of his shows from the soundboard mixing console, the Forty-Eight Hours To Memphis liner notes in 2011 only speculated about why RCA apparently recorded the Richmond concert in multitrack. The 2014 Legacy Edition refers to the Richmond show as a “test run concert” for the subsequent Memphis recording.

Five selections from an August 16, 1974, rehearsal at RCA Hollywood for an upcoming Las Vegas engagement round out the second CD of the release. Captured on a personal cassette recorder, the rehearsals are in comparatively poor sound quality. The five tracks were among twenty from the rehearsal included as part of the 2009 FTD release From Sunset To Las Vegas.

In addition to participating retail stores, the 2014 Legacy Edition of Elvis Recorded Live On Stage In Memphis is also available from Amazon and other online outlets.

ELVIS RECORDED LIVE ON STAGE IN MEMPHIS (2014 Legacy Edition)

ELVIS RECORDED LIVE ON STAGE IN MEMPHIS (2014 Legacy Edition)

Tracks

Disc One

Elvis Recorded Live On Stage In Memphis, March 20, 1974
01. Also Sprach Zarathustra/
02. See See Rider
03. I Got A Woman/Amen
04. Love Me
05. Tryin’ To Get To You
06. All Shook Up
07. Steamroller Blues
08. Teddy Bear/Don’t Be Cruel
09. Love Me Tender
10. Long Tall Sally/Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On/Your Mama Don’t Dance/Flip, Flop & Fly/Jailhouse Rock/Hound Dog
11. Fever
12. Polk Salad Annie
13. Why Me Lord
14. How Great Thou Art
15. Suspicious Minds
16. Introductions By Elvis
17. Blueberry Hill/I Can’t Stop Loving You
18. Help Me
19. An American Trilogy
20. Let Me Be There
21. My Baby Left Me
22. Lawdy, Miss Clawdy
23. Funny How Time Slips Away
24. Can’t Help Falling In Love/
25. Closing Vamp

Disc Two

Recorded Live At The Coliseum, Richmond, March 18, 1974
01. Also Sprach Zarathustra/
02. See See Rider
03. I Got A Woman/Amen [edited with Memphis, March 20, 1974]
04. Love Me
05. Tryin’ To Get To You
06. All Shook Up
07. Steamroller Blues
08. Teddy Bear/Don’t Be Cruel
09. Love Me Tender
10. Long Tall Sally/Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On/Your Mama Don’t Dance/Flip, Flop & Fly/Jailhouse Rock/Hound Dog
11. Fever
12. Polk Salad Annie
13. Why Me Lord
14. Suspicious Minds
15. Introductions By Elvis
16. I Can’t Stop Loving You
17. Help Me
18. An American Trilogy
19. Let Me Be There
20. Funny How Time Slips Away
21. Can’t Help Falling In Love/
22. Closing Vamp

The August 1974 RCA Rehearsals
23. Down In The Alley
24. Good Time Charlie’s Got The Blues
25. Softly, As I Leave You
26. The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
27. The Twelfth Of Never

Categories: In A Flash, Music, The Mystery Train Blog | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

ELVIS RECORDED LIVE ON STAGE IN MEMPHIS Legacy Edition to include Richmond, Virginia concert

ELVIS RECORDED LIVE ON STAGE IN MEMPHIS (2014 Legacy Edition)

ELVIS RECORDED LIVE ON STAGE IN MEMPHIS (2014 Legacy Edition)

One of my favorite CD releases on the Follow That Dream collectors label for Elvis Presley fans is 2011’s Forty-Eight Hours To Memphis, which captures a March 18, 1974, concert that Elvis performed at the Richmond Coliseum in Virginia.

The confusing album title reflects that Elvis closed out his tour two days after the Richmond concert with a show in Memphis at the Mid-South Coliseum, portions of which became the 1974 album Elvis Recorded Live On Stage In Memphis. Elvis earned his third and final Grammy Award for his stellar performance of “How Great Thou Art” in Memphis on the original 1974 album.

The link between the two shows continues, for Sony announced last week that it will reissue the Richmond concert on the second disc of a Legacy Edition of Elvis Recorded Live On Stage In Memphis. While the FTD collectors label has very limited distribution, this new 2-CD release on the main Sony label hits mainstream retail stores on March 18, the 40th anniversary of the Richmond concert. Amazon and other outlets are accepting pre-orders now.

The Elvis Presley Show crisscrossed back and forth from Virginia to Tennessee on that leg of his tour. Tickets for his March 12 appearance at the Richmond Coliseum sold out so quickly that the tour was re-routed to accommodate a second show there on March 18. Elvis performed four shows in Memphis on March 16 and 17, hit Richmond, Virginia, again on March 18, and then returned to Tennessee for concerts in Murfreesboro and Memphis on March 19 and 20, respectively.

Elvis Presley's March 1974 tour schedule (partial)

Elvis Presley’s March 1974 tour schedule (partial)

For space considerations on the original LP, RCA edited several songs out of the March 20 Memphis concert for the 1-record release in July 1974. The album also featured overdubbed audience reactions that detracted from the sound quality. FTD restored the missing tracks and removed the unnecessary overdubs in a 2004 Classic Albums CD release of the concert, including a new mix. The same label also issued the expanded show in vinyl format as a 2-record set last year.

It turned out that RCA chose well in 1974 which performances to use on the original record, though. The performance quality of many of the excised songs was underwhelming, with the exception of a fine rendition of “Steamroller Blues,” first released on Platinum: A Life In Music over two decades later. The energetic Memphis version was superior to his live recording of the song in Hawaii that served as a single in 1973.

This new Elvis Recorded Live On Stage In Memphis Legacy Edition will also include the previously omitted songs, but whether a new or an existing mix will be featured is unclear.

In fact, Sony’s press release for this album is riddled with errors, an issue far too common these days in the marketing of Elvis music releases, so it is difficult to trust any of its statements. For that reason, I am not even including Sony’s alleged track listing at this point. Suffice it for now to say that Disc 1 will contain the Memphis show, while Disc 2 will contain the Richmond show and some low-fidelity bonus tracks recorded on a personal cassette player of Elvis rehearsing a few months later for yet another Las Vegas stint.

RCA professionally recorded the March 20 Memphis concert for the album project. It is a 16-track recording (audio elements recorded on separate channels) that can be tweaked for optimum sound quality. Though I enjoyed the 2004 FTD mix over the original 1974 version, another new mix could be revealing. The Memphis show is presented in stereo.

Though the background story remains mysterious, the March 18 Richmond concert was supposedly captured as a 16-track recording, too. If so, it remains missing from the Sony vaults – lost, stolen, or erased.

The Richmond concert audio source on both the 2011 and 2014 releases is a tape copy of a mono mix-down of the 16-track recording, with artificial reverb applied. In other words, no further changes can be made to the Richmond mix or reverb since the 16-track original is unavailable. The Richmond concert is not likely to sound very different from Forty-Eight Hours To Memphis on this reissue, if at all.

While Elvis’s sound engineers often made informal reference tapes of his shows from the soundboard mixing console, the Forty-Eight Hours To Memphis liner notes in 2011 only speculated about why RCA apparently recorded the Richmond concert in multitrack.

However, the 2014 Sony press release refers to the Richmond show as a “test run concert” for the subsequent Memphis recording. Some have theorized that the test copy is in mono due to Elvis’s preference for that format over stereo, though his previous live albums had been stereo releases. Perhaps the accompanying Legacy Edition booklet will reveal new information.

Elvis at the Richmond Coliseum, March 18, 1974 (FTD)

Elvis at the Richmond Coliseum, March 18, 1974 (FTD)

In the years leading up to 1974, many of Elvis’s concerts were superior to this particular show in Richmond, so why do I have a soft-spot for it? Simply because it is the first concert officially released of Elvis performing in my hometown. As with the Memphis show, the fun concert features Elvis in a fantastic mood interacting with fans. Music highlights in Richmond include “Steamroller Blues,” “Polk Salad Annie,” and “Suspicious Minds.”

Over the course of 21 years, Elvis performed 15 concerts in Richmond. The 14th of these shows was captured on Forty-Eight Hours To Memphis and, from what I have read, this was Elvis’s last great concert in Richmond. He performed here one final time in 1976, but, by that point, his rising prescription drug addiction and abuse had diminished the power of his shows. Therefore, I consider the March 18, 1974, appearance to be Elvis’s true “last hurrah” in Richmond.

I was only two when Elvis died in 1977, so I never had the opportunity to see him in person. If I was about 30 years older, though, I would like to think I would have been there for at least his Richmond shows. Forty-Eight Hours To Memphis allows me to experience a small part of that dream.

15 Seconds

I was so thrilled in 2011 when news broke about the impending FTD release of the Richmond show that I impulsively emailed one of my blog posts on the topic to various local news media before going to work one morning. I figured if any mainstream media outlets in the world would be interested in Forty-Eight Hours To Memphis, it should be those in Richmond.

What I did not consider was what would happen if one of them decided actually to run with the story. By lunchtime, a television news reporter from CBS affiliate WTVR Channel 6 had contacted me, and we went over the basics on the phone. He even asked about Red Hot In Richmond, a bootleg release of an April 1972 Elvis concert that he ran across as part of his research.

By this point, based on my email, the news team had already filmed spots at the Richmond Coliseum and a nearby record store. The reporter wanted to add me to the mix in time to get his story on television later that day. I am a rather shy person, so I was not interested in that idea. I also could not have a camera crew show up where I work, so I turned him down.

For whatever reason, CBS 6 News did not run the story that night, perhaps because it seemed incomplete without a fan’s perspective. The reporter checked back with me the next day to see if I would do an interview after all. I felt bad for suggesting the story and then leaving him without a way to finish it, so I went over to the station on my lunch break and did the interview against my better judgment.

In the time since I had talked to him on the phone, the reporter had found some scenes from the 1972 documentary Elvis On Tour. I had mentioned the Richmond connection on that movie, telling him that MGM shot some of the red jumpsuit footage at the Richmond Coliseum two years before Forty-Eight Hours To Memphis. He incorporated that Elvis On Tour footage into his news story, so I was glad to see acknowledgment of a local connection with the Golden Globe winner.

FORTY-EIGHT HOURS TO MEMPHIS (2011)

FORTY-EIGHT HOURS TO MEMPHIS (2011)

It was a surreal experience having a TV camera trained on me while being asked to explain Elvis’s ongoing popularity and other questions like that. I did not enjoy being on television, and I have since taken some good-natured ribbing about it from friends and co-workers, particularly since the well-meaning reporter managed to say my last name wrong. There went my one chance at fortune and glory.

So uncomfortable did I find the experience that I never even mentioned my brief TV appearance here on my own blog until today, nearly three years later.

The reporter was great to deal with, though, and very enthusiastic throughout the proceedings. Overall, I was happy with how his story turned out and felt it presented Elvis in a positive light.

That being said, I have no plans to contact any local media this time around in advance of Sony’s reissue of the Richmond concert. I have learned my lesson.

My 15 seconds of local fame still come up every now and then. Oddly, I have had at least two people ask me, “Weren’t you on TV a few years ago imitating Elvis?”

“No, I was on TV dressed in normal clothes talking about a concert that the real Elvis did at the Richmond Coliseum,” I reply.

The story did not even mention imitators. Unfortunately, the general public does not distinguish lousy imitators from the real Elvis. Thanks to the vast majority of those imitator clowns, it can be tough to be known as an Elvis fan.

Legacy Questions

I am looking forward to the reissues of both the Richmond and Memphis concerts. Despite my personal enthusiasm as an Elvis fan and Richmonder, I find myself wondering whether these two concerts are appropriate choices for mainstream release in 2014.

I fear that the repetitive nature of these shows compared to other recent Sony releases will use up some of the goodwill shown by music critics in reviews of Elvis At Stax, Prince From Another Planet, and certain other titles released in the last few years.

Will mainstream critics and listeners understand Elvis’s sense of humor? For instance, will some misinterpret his joke in Richmond about it being a pleasure to be back in Hampton Roads as an out-of-it singer not knowing which town he was playing?

By following up 2012’s As Recorded At Madison Square Garden reissue with 2013’s Aloha From Hawaii via Satellite reissue and now 2014’s Elvis Recorded Live On Stage In Memphis reissue, is Sony simply committing the same release blunders in the 2010s that RCA made in the 1970s? Has locking into an “anniversary” theme for release choices doomed them to repeat history’s mistakes going forward?

Keep in mind that the 40th anniversary of Having Fun With Elvis On Stage is later this year as well.


January 17, 2014, Update: This article is now also available at Elvis Australia.

Categories: In A Flash, Music, Tell It Like It Is, The Mystery Train Blog | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Elvis Presley Enterprises to release ALOHA FROM HAWAII: 40th ANNIVERSARY EDITION DVD in mid-August

ALOHA FROM HAWAII: 40th ANNIVERSARY EDITION DVD (2013)

ALOHA FROM HAWAII: 40th ANNIVERSARY EDITION DVD (2013)

This product snuck up on me in the recent official Elvis products catalog. As far as I can tell, there has been absolutely no publicity thus far about a DVD release of Aloha From Hawaii: 40th Anniversary Edition. Nevertheless, Elvis Presley Enterprises is set to release the new DVD in less than two weeks, on August 16.

It will contain the 2013 edit of the concert as shown earlier this year in Hawaii. The new edition features split screen visuals that expand the viewing area, resulting in a more theatrical presentation than the standard television editions seen in the past. Time will tell, but I’m hopeful this expanded width will look terrific on modern 16:9 widescreen TVs.

Here is the item description:

Elvis Presley made television and entertainment history with his “Elvis, Aloha from Hawaii” concert television special. The performance took place at the Honolulu International Center, now known as the Neal Blaisdell Arena, on January 14, 1973. It was beamed live via Globecam Satellite to various countries, on a delayed basis to approximately 30 European countries and first aired in the U.S. on April 4 on NBC. The viewing audience was estimated at over one billion worldwide.

In celebration of the 40th anniversary of “Elvis, Aloha from Hawaii,” fans from around the world gathered in Honolulu in January 2013 for five days of celebrations. The highlight of the week was a screening of a special re-edited version of “Elvis, Aloha from Hawaii,” that was shown at the Blaisdell Arena on January 14, exactly 40 years to the day Elvis performed there.

The re-edited version, which includes rarely-seen footage and audio, received rave reviews from critics and fans alike. This special 40th anniversary edition offers a new look at Elvis during one of his most outstanding concert performances of his career.

ELVIS ALOHA FROM HAWAII
• Re-edit of “Elvis, Aloha from Hawaii” as seen at the Blaisdell Arena in Honolulu on January 14, 2013

BONUS FEATURES • Event footage from the “40th Anniversary Aloha from Hawaii Celebration” in Honolulu in January 2013
• A Look Inside the New “Elvis’ Hawaii: Concerts, Movies and More! Exhibit” at Graceland
• Clips from Elvis’ “Aloha from Hawaii” Press Conferences
• Replica Booklet of Program from January 14, 2013 Screening Event

I’ve read this a few times, and it sounds almost too good to be true. In the back of my mind, there is a nagging question that I wish would go away: Have any songs been removed from the 2013 edit of the concert?

August 7, 2013, Update: According to a Shop Elvis email blast that went out today, the release date on this item is now August 19. Unfortunately, no further details on the the technical specifications.

August 10, 2013, Update: Elvis Australia is also taking pre-orders for Aloha From Hawaii: 40th Anniversary Edition DVD.

August 22, 2013, Update: Check out my full review of Aloha From Hawaii: 40th Anniversary Edition DVD.

Categories: In A Flash, Television, The Mystery Train Blog | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Cinematic Justice: NOBODY short film to focus on 18-year-old Elvis Presley

“He said he was a singer. I said, ‘What kind of a singer are you?’ He said, ‘I sing all kinds.’ I said, ‘Who do you sound like?’ He said, ‘I don’t sound like nobody.'” –Memphis Recording Service office manager Marion Keisker recalling her Summer 1953 meeting with Elvis (1)

Elvis, circa. 1953

Elvis, circa. 1953

“My ultimate goal with Nobody is to give Elvis Presley the cinematic justice he deserves, even if only through an independent short film,” said William Bryan, writer/director/producer of Nobody. The film, currently seeking funding on Kickstarter, will portray Elvis in the waning days of his senior year in high school. A key event will be his performance at the April 1953 Humes High School talent show, which gave the shy singer enough confidence to walk into Memphis Recording Service just weeks later to record a demo.

Bryan, an Elvis fan since he was 11-years-old, has made an annual visit to Memphis for the last ten years. While studying at Columbia College Chicago, he made numerous short films. His goal for Nobody, which is also produced by 2011 Columbia College graduate Tom Radovich, is that it inspire today’s dreamers.

“Sure, this might sound a bit romanticized,” Bryan explained, “but think about who Elvis Presley was at the time of our story. He was a senior in high school who wasn’t the sports hero, didn’t have a girlfriend…he really was a nobody.”

While Nobody focuses on early Elvis, Bryan does not limit his fandom to that era. “I’ve been listening to a lot of ballad numbers that Elvis recorded between 1969 and 1971. ‘I’ll Never Know’ and ‘I’ve Lost You’ have been two of my favorites this week,” he said.

Nobody‘s Kickstarter campaign ends on June 1. If it can secure enough funding to proceed, the independent production promises a new look at Elvis compared to previous dramatizations of his life. “With all due respect to the filmmakers who have come before me and already told an Elvis story, many of the ‘Hollywood’ productions have unfortunately been less-than-tasteful, historically inaccurate, or worse, both,” said Bryan.

Reference

(1) ELVIS: The Biography by Jerry Hopkins, Plexus, London, 2007, p. 41.


Considering that as recent as four days ago, I noted that I no longer care to watch dramatizations of Elvis’ life, you may wonder why I chose to cover this particular story. I believe Nobody has a chance to distance itself from many of the other films made about Elvis over the years due to the most important ingredient in any creative endeavor: Passion. Bryan seems to have a strong passion for the subject, which will hopefully translate into a special film.

As with all Elvis dramatizations, though, another important aspect will be casting. This is even more important for a short film, I would say, because there is less time for the audience to connect with the character. For a movie such as Nobody to be taken seriously, a strong actor needs to be cast – not someone doing an Elvis caricature.

This should be a fun story to keep an eye on in the coming months. My thanks to William Bryan for taking part in an email interview for this article.

* * *

Follow The Mystery Train Blog on twitter @TMTElvisBlog. Also, be sure to check out my new, old blog, Pastimescapes.

Categories: In A Flash, Movies, The Mystery Train Blog | Tags: , , , , , ,

Blog at WordPress.com. The Adventure Journal Theme.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 159 other followers

%d bloggers like this: