As Recorded At Greensboro Coliseum: ELVIS ON TOUR – First (or Second) Reactions

I really struggled during my first run-through of CD 3 of Elvis On Tour, as I initially found both the sound and performance disappointing. I decided to give it another try about a week later, so this consolidated review actually represents impressions from both my first and second listens of the show.


I’ve been enjoying the new Elvis On Tour boxed set, so I’m continuing my informal, off-the-cuff reviews. This time, I’ll be listening to CD 3, which captures Elvis Presley’s concert on Friday, April 14, 1972, at the Greensboro Coliseum in North Carolina. Though this show is previously unreleased, it does have 3 songs that appear in the actual movie.

Elvis Presley performing at the Greensboro Coliseum on Friday, April 14, 1972 (MGM)

Also Sprach Zarathustra (Theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey)

See See Rider: Though nothing really distinguishes it, this is a fine 1972 version of “See See Rider.” The audio quality on the Hampton and San Antonio concerts was mostly impressive. I’m not sure about Greensboro yet.

Elvis sounds tired as he says good evening to the audience.

Proud Mary: This should be a drum-heavy song, but Ronnie Tutt is lower in the mix here than I would like. Nevertheless, this is a rockin’ version. However, much like “See See Rider,” nothing really distinguishes this one from other fine performances of this tune in 1972.

Never Been To Spain: This is an okay version of this song on Elvis’ part, with nothing standing out. “We’ll get the ending right one day,” he notes after completing it.

I must admit, I’m disappointed in this concert so far. I’d been looking forward to it. Hopefully things will pick up. I’m also hoping for a surprise or two in terms of the setlist (I have not read the accompanying booklet yet, which includes the track listing).

You Gave Me A Mountain: I’ve mentioned in previous reviews that this is a poor spot in the setlist to downshift to slow songs. “Polk Salad Annie” right here would be so much better. I love slow songs, but this should be a little later in the show. This is not an especially good version of “You Gave Me A Mountain,” either. Elvis again sounds tired.

Until It’s Time For You To Go

Polk Salad Annie: The Greensboro crowd reacts loudly as “Polk Salad Annie” begins. I love the wild Jerry Scheff bass guitar solos on the 1972 versions of the song, and this one is no exception. The bass could be a little louder in the mix, though, and poor Elvis still sounds tired.

Love Me: The crowd is definitely enthusiastic in Greensboro. Way to go, North Carolina!

All Shook Up: Elvis offers up a surprisingly spirited version. At least he doesn’t sound bored like he often does on this song.

Teddy Bear/Don’t Be Cruel: I usually don’t enjoy the “oldies” section of the show in 1972, but Elvis again sounds enthusiastic on this medley.

Hound Dog: Well, that all just went out the window. Elvis really should have retired “Hound Dog” after 1970. This is a rather poor version.

Heartbreak Hotel: I normally like 1972 versions of “Heartbreak Hotel.” This one is good, though he gets distracted.

A Big Hunk O’ Love: Here we go! “A Big Hunk O’ Love” really takes off! Elvis says, “It’s your big chance, man” during Glen Hardin’s piano solo. I love how this song has two instrumental breaks, one for Glen and the other for James Burton on lead guitar. This should have happened more often. I love this song! So awesome!

Bridge Over Troubled Water: This version of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” appeared in the Elvis On Tour movie. I know some fans consider it Elvis’ best version ever, but I can’t grasp how they can think that when 1970 exists. In any event, it’s fun to hear a 1972 version of this song. As a teen, I remember being surprised to see this in Elvis On Tour when I watched it for the first time. I associated the song with 1970, for it was such a climactic moment in Elvis: That’s The Way It Is, and I didn’t realize he continued performing it after that year.

Suspicious Minds: All right, let’s do it right, Elvis! The start is fairly strong, for 1972. Overall, a decent version. It’s probably the best version of the three I’ve heard so far on this set – which isn’t necessarily a huge compliment. Why did Elvis allow his most recent #1 hit to become almost a throwaway?

As the band begins “Comin’ Home Baby” for the introductions portion of the show, Elvis says, “My first movie, ladies and gentlemen, was Love Me Tender. I’d like to sing that for you,” and the band quickly shifts into “Love Me Tender” instead.

Love Me Tender: A short but fine version. Includes the ad-lib, “You have made my suit turn blue, and I love you so.”

Elvis Presley performing at the Greensboro Coliseum on Friday, April 14, 1972 (MGM)

Comin’ Home Baby/Introductions By Elvis

For The Good Times: I really enjoyed the multiple attempts of “For The Good Times” on the Hollywood Studio CDs of this set. While I prefer studio versions of this song, this live version is still good. The female backing vocalists are more prominent in this mix than the usually male-dominated mixes of this particular song. I like it! Possibly my favorite live version of this song.

An American Trilogy: Dixie/Battle Hymn Of The Republic/All My Trials – This appeared in the Elvis On Tour movie. It’s a great version. I like the Hampton Roads version better, but I can see why they went with this one for the movie – it’s visually better than Hampton. This makes me want to watch the movie again. It’s been a few years.

Burning Love: Oh, cool! Elvis debuts his soon to be hit song, recorded only a couple of weeks earlier. You’ve gotta crank the sound up on this one. Go Elvis! Who cares if some of the words are wrong? It’s the feel of the song. That’s always been the case when listening to Elvis. This Greensboro version of “Burning Love” is possibly my second favorite live version, after San Antonio. I love James Burton’s guitar so much on these 1972 versions. I don’t know why he changed that sound for the 1973 Elvis: Aloha From Hawaii version.

Release Me: This one appeared in the excellent Elvis: The Lost Performances VHS video in 1992. It’s a good version of “Release Me,” but certainly anticlimactic after “Burning Love.”

Funny How Time Slips Away: This is a good 1972 version of “Funny How Time Slips Away.” It will probably be my go-to version for that year. This performance appears in Elvis On Tour. I love finally hearing these songs in context of the full shows. When multiple police officers pull a fan away after trying to reach Elvis on the stage, he says “Let her have that, let her have that, man,” to one of them, handing the officer a scarf to give to the overzealous fan. How cool.

Generally, this song indicates the show is almost over (because time is slipping away). I am hoping he squeezes in at least one more song before the “Can’t Help Falling In Love” finale, though. “Let me drink a little Gatorade, and I’ll sing another song for you,” he says. Maybe!

Can’t Help Falling In Love: Well, darn. The show is just about over. 1972 versions of “Can’t Help Falling In Love” are way too fast, but he does sound good here.

I really wish the show was a bit longer. Most Elvis concerts are around 60 minutes. This one clocks in at 62 minutes. For some reason, it feels shorter than that. The overall Greensboro experience feels unsatisfying compared to Hampton and San Antonio.

Well, 51 years later, I guess I shouldn’t complain since at least I get to hear this show at all. The first listen was definitely disappointing, but I enjoyed it more the second time through, including multiple highlights noted above. The sound is not as clear as Hampton or San Antonio, but it’s not horrible by any means.


“May the mountains yield prosperity for all, and may the hills be fruitful.”
Psalm 72:3

Elvis Movies: BLUE HAWAII

After an eight month break, I am continuing my rewatch of Elvis Presley movies. Next up in the random sequence is Blue Hawaii – his eighth movie. Except for the Elvis: That’s The Way It Is documentary, I’ve probably seen this one more than any of the others.


“Ecstatic romance … Exotic dances … Exciting music in the world’s lushest paradise of song!”

Blue Hawaii (Paramount)
Wide Release: November 22, 1961 (United States)
Starring: Elvis Presley, Joan Blackman, Angela Lansbury
Screenplay By: Hal Kanter
Story By: Allan Weiss
Music Score By: Joseph J. Lilley
Produced By: Hal B. Wallis
Directed By: Norman Taurog
Running Time: 101 Minutes


Just before filming began on Blue Hawaii, Elvis performed a benefit concert for the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor. It would prove to be his last live performance until the June 1968 shows captured for the ELVIS television special (NBC) and his August 1969 concert series at the International Hotel in Las Vegas.

Elvis Presley is Chad Gates in 1961’s BLUE HAWAII (Paramount)

In Blue Hawaii, Elvis stars as Chadwick Gates – and I can’t even get started on this post without noting that if there was ever a less Elvis character name than “Chadwick” in one of his movies, I sure don’t know what it is. Anyway, after a 2-year stint in the U.S. Army, where he served in Europe, Chad returns to Kahalo, Hawaii, where he has lived for the last 15 years with his parents. His father is an executive at the Great Southern Hawaiian Fruit Company, and Chad’s entire future has been neatly laid out for him there – mostly by his mother.

Chadwick’s mother has entire life plotted out for him in 1961’s BLUE HAWAII (Paramount)

Chad is having none of it, though. Instead, he hides out for a week at a beach shack until his father gets word through Chad’s girlfriend, Maile Duval, that he needs to come home before his mother finds out. The return home does not go well, particularly for the audience.

This is where we are introduced to one of the most annoying characters in any Elvis movie ever: Chad’s mother, Mrs. Sarah Lee Gates – portrayed by Angela Lansbury, who was only nine years older than Elvis.

Angela Lansbury is Mrs. Sarah Lee Gates and Elvis Presley is Chad Gates in 1961’s BLUE HAWAII (Paramount)

Mrs. Gates is from Georgia, and, as much as the Hawaiian portrayals in this film unfortunately are often stereotypes, so, too, is Blue Hawaii‘s portrayal of a Southerner. Mrs. Gates, of course, has to speak in an over-the-top Southern accent, call her husband “Daddy,” and bring up the Civil War, including a required reference to General “Stonewall” Jackson of the Confederacy. She also notes embarrassment around the fact that a war hero relative was a “Yankee” (i.e., he fought for the North/Union, rather than the South/Confederacy).

Mrs. Gates is alcoholic, racist, classist, and just all around insufferable.

All that said, Roland Winters, who plays Mr. Fred Gates, Chad’s father, does an excellent job playing off of Lansbury’s outlandishness. Winters gets two of the funniest lines of the movie – in two separate scenes. In the first, Mr. Gates has just commented to his wife that Maile is pretty.

Mrs. Gates: “Daddy, aren’t you forgetting yourself?”
Mr. Gates: “I’m trying, Mother. I’m trying.”

Later, Chad storms out of the house after an argument with his parents.

Mrs. Gates: “Oh, Daddy, what did we do wrong?”
Mr. Gates: “Offhand, I’d say, we got married.”

Maile is portrayed by Joan Blackman. The character’s father is French and mother is Hawaiian. Blackman and Elvis often seem wooden together in Blue Hawaii, though they would have much better chemistry in the following year’s Kid Galahad.

Joan Blackman is Maile Duval in 1961’s BLUE HAWAII (Paramount)

Shunning the fruit company, Chad instead decides to become a tourist guide and is soon hired by Floyd the Barber (Howard McNear), who owns the tourism company where Maile works. Okay, it’s not really Floyd the Barber, but Mr. Chapman does appear otherwise to be the exact same character that the beloved McNear played on the Andy Griffith Show from 1961 to 1967.

Howard McNear is Mr. Chapman and Elvis Presley is Chad Gates in 1961’s BLUE HAWAII (Paramount)

Chad’s first assignment? Escorting an attractive schoolteacher and four teenage girls around Hawaii, naturally. Jealousy and hilarity ensues. Well, jealousy anyway.

Jennie Maxwell’s portrayal of angry teenager Ellie Corbett soon livens up the movie, including this zinger she launches at Chad: “I believe you’re being paid to show us a good time. When does it start?”

Jennie Maxwell is Ellie Corbett and Elvis Presley is Chad Gates in 1961’s BLUE HAWAII (Paramount)

Considering that Blue Hawaii is his eighth movie overall and his fourth since returning from the Army in real life, Elvis’ acting is disappointingly poor several times – particularly when he does this high-pitched yelling thing that he tends to revert to in his movies when he seems uncomfortable in a scene (e.g., “I’ll getcha!” in one of the scenes of this movie).

I suspect director Norman Taurog was simply not focused on getting the best acting performance out of Elvis, and Hal Kanter’s flimsy script doesn’t help matters, either. Elvis had natural talent as a singer and musician, but he should have taken acting classes to hone his craft if he was serious about making films. 1957’s King Creole had already proven what Elvis could do under the guidance of an inspiring director (Michael Curtiz).

While Elvis may stumble on the acting side at times in Blue Hawaii, he brings his A-game on the music side. There are a number of stone-cold classic songs here, especially “Can’t Help Falling In Love” – which he sings in a beautiful version to Maile’s grandmother on her 78th birthday.

Years later, Elvis would reminisce about another musical highlight, saying, “We did a movie called Blue Hawaii, and in the movie, there was a song called the ‘Hawaiian Wedding Song,’ and it was so real, it took me two years before I realized, it was just a movie.”

Hawaii is the real star of 1961’s BLUE HAWAII (Paramount)

Blue Hawaii has some highlights, including the idyllic locations, great music, and a sense of escapism, but overall, it feels like a missed opportunity. Its subsequent success at the box office, however, would help lock Elvis into mostly similar movies going forward.


Boldly Go

Frank Atienza, who played Ito O’Hara in Blue Hawaii, later played a Kohn villager in “The Omega Glory” (1968) episode of Star Trek.

Frank Atienza is Ito O’Hara and Elvis Presley is Chad Gates in 1961’s BLUE HAWAII (Paramount)

Frank Atienza (far right) is a Kohn villager in the 1968 STAR TREK episode “The Omega Glory” (Paramount)

Ron Veto, who has an uncredited role as a Hawaiian in Blue Hawaii, later appeared in numerous Star Trek episodes as a member of the crew of the USS Enterprise as well as other uncredited roles on the show.


Blue Hawaii Tote Board

  • Punches: 21+
  • Songs: 15
  • Kisses: 13

Songs In Blue Hawaii

  1. “Blue Hawaii” (1961), written by Leo Robin & Ralph Rainger
  2. “Almost Always True” (1961), written by Fred Wise & Ben Weisman
  3. Aloha Oe” (1961), written by Queen Liliuokalani
  4. “Hawaiian Beach Chant (Slap Happy/Shave And A Hair Cut)” (1961) [performed twice], performed by the Surfers, written by unknown
  5. “No More” (1961), written by Don Robertson & Hal Blair, based on “La Paloma” by Sebastián Iradier
  6. “Can’t Help Falling In Love” (1961), written by George Weiss, Hugo Peretti, & Luigi Creatore, based on the classical composition “Plaisir d’Amour” by Giovanni Martini
  7. “Rock-A-Hula Baby” (1961), written by Fred Wise, Ben Weisman, & Florence Kay
  8. “Moonlight Swim” (1961), written by Sylvia Dee & Ben Weisman
  9. Ku-U-I-Po” (1961), written by George Weiss, Hugo Peretti, & Luigi Creatore
  10. “Ito Eats” (1961), written by Sid Tepper & Roy C. Bennett
  11. “Slicin’ Sand” (1961), written by Sid Tepper & Roy C. Bennett
  12. “Hawaiian Sunset” (1961), written by Sid Tepper & Roy C. Bennett
  13. “Beach Boy Blues” (1961), written by Sid Tepper & Roy C. Bennett
  14. “Island Of Love” (1961), written by Sid Tepper & Roy C. Bennett
  15. “Hawaiian Wedding Song (Ke Kali Nei Au)” (1961), written by Charles E. King, Al Hoffman, & Dick Manning

The Mystery Train’s Blue Hawaii Scorecard

  • Story: 2 (out of 10)
  • Acting: 3
  • Fun: 7
  • Songs: 8
  • Overall: 5 (For Elvis Fans Only)

Blue Hawaii Around The Web



“Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”
Ephesians 4:31-32 NLT

As Recorded At RCA Hollywood Studios: ELVIS ON TOUR – First Reactions

Before the 15-city, April 1972 concert series chronicled in MGM’s Elvis On Tour documentary even began, Elvis Presley already had a busy year.

In mid-January, Elvis began rehearsals for his next Las Vegas season – his sixth such month-long engagement since 1969. From January 26 to February 23, he performed 57 concerts at the Las Vegas Hilton. RCA recorded portions of various concerts in mid-February. Most of these recordings would go unreleased during Elvis’ lifetime. “An American Trilogy,” however, was released as a single in April, while “It’s Impossible” would appear the following year on the Elvis (Fool) album.

His wife, Priscilla, had moved out of Graceland in late 1971, and the couple formally separated on February 23. A month later, on March 27, Elvis began a recording session at RCA’s Hollywood Studios. The session lasted through March 29 and yielded the following masters:

  • Separate Ways (Single A-Side)
  • For The Good Times (Studio version unreleased until 1995)
  • Where Do I Go From Here (Album cut)
  • Burning Love (Single A-Side)
  • Fool (Single B-Side)
  • Always On My Mind (Single B-Side)
  • It’s A Matter Of Time (Single B-Side)

Though Elvis was not a songwriter, many of the songs he chose to record during the session reflected his personal life and featured heartbreaking lyrics about love lost:

Separate Ways: “Someday when she’s older, maybe she will understand why her mom and dad are not together. The tears that she will cry when I have to say goodbye will tear at my heart forever” (written by Red West and Richard Mainegra).

For The Good Times: “Hear the whisper of the raindrops flowing soft against the window, make believe you love me one more time” (written by Kris Kristofferson).

Fool: “Fool, you didn’t have to hurt her. Fool, you didn’t have to lose her. Fool, you only had to love her, but now her love is gone” (written by Carl Sigman and James Last).

Always On My Mind: “If I made you feel second-best, girl, I’m so sorry I was blind” (written by Mark James, Wayne Carson, and Johnny Christopher).

Due to its happy lyrics, the singer had to be goaded into recording “Burning Love,” the only rock ‘n’ roll number of the session. It became his last big hit on the pop charts.

On March 30, MGM’s camera crews arrived at the studio and began rolling for the Elvis On Tour documentary. For two days, Elvis and his band re-created the recording session they had just completed and then rehearsed for the upcoming tour. The majority of these recordings are captured on Discs 5 and 6 of Sony’s new Elvis On Tour set, the focus of today’s post. As I have done with the live recordings, this will mostly be a stream-of-consciousness approach as I listen to the discs for the first time – so bear with me.


Disc 5 kicks off with a slightly slower, gritty-sounding version of “Burning Love.” The sound is fantastic. Unfortunately, this version of “Burning Love” eventually falls apart. I really liked it!

After some studio chatter, another version of “Burning Love” kicks off. Still sounds great! Maybe Elvis will finish this one. I am really surprised how great this sounds. I honestly wasn’t looking forward to the studio discs on the set. I was more focused on the live concerts. Uh oh, a couple minutes in, and it sounds like it might turn into another long false start. All right, Elvis is back on track, maybe he will finish it. Close enough, anyway. I really enjoyed this version.

A third attempt at “Burning Love.” Sounds awesome! Definitely reminiscent of the master so far. Maybe Elvis will stay focused. The band sounds great! We’re closing on the ending. Maybe a complete version. I love it! Good thing I have my headphones on. I can really crank it up. Of course, this is probably why I have developed hearing problems.

Elvis sings a line of “Sweet, Sweet Spirit,” and then they are off into a rehearsal of “For The Good Times.” This is such a beautiful song.

I’m not sure why they never released Elvis’ studio version of “For The Good Times.” The live version recorded a few months later on As Recorded At Madison Square Garden, which is inferior, beat it to record stores, but surely they could have used it on a subsequent studio album? It seemed they were always trying to fill gaps on albums, so why not use a quality recording like this one that was just sitting in the vault?

Elvis sounds so good on this. His voice is perfect for this song. “For The Good Times” is one of those, like 1970’s “How The Web Was Woven,” where it’s fun even to listen to rehearsal snippets. There’s a lot of laughter and clowning around between takes. I’m glad his fellow performers are seemingly able to keep Elvis in good spirits during such a rough period.

“For The Good Times,” at least that I’ve heard so far, doesn’t work nearly as well in a live concert setting as it does here in the studio. While I do wish Elvis had tried “Always On My Mind” on stage, I suspect the same would have been true of that song.

I could listen to “For The Good Times” all day, which is a good thing, because there are apparently a lot of takes of this song on this set. I just like to close my eyes and listen to his voice.

Elvis sings a few lines of “El Paso” between takes, which I remember hearing before on FTD’s Elvis On Tour: The Rehearsals. Too bad he didn’t attempt a full version.

And suddenly they are rockin’ again with “Johnny B. Goode”! It falls apart quick, though. James Burton sounds so awesome on electric guitar. They launch it again, and it falls apart again just as Elvis begins to sing. I don’t know if this was the first session where Elvis is using headphones, but they seem really to bother him.

A third attempt… will they keep going this time? Oh, yes they will! This is the version which is excerpted at the beginning of the Elvis On Tour documentary and appears in full on the Elvis On Tour: The Rehearsals CD. It sounds great! The mix on this CD is incredible! Credit to Matt Ross-Spang.

Then we pick up in progress on a rehearsal of “Always On My Mind.” This is one of my favorite songs, specifically the version from This Is Elvis – which was recorded during this mock session. Though the term wasn’t in use back then, that version was a bit of a remix in that it had some 1981 overdubs, but the untampered version was later released on The Great Performances and Elvis On Tour: The Rehearsals. Though I still tend to gravitate towards the This Is Elvis version, I’m curious as how it will sound on this disc considering how incredible this session has sounded so far.

Elvis has started a proper version of the song now. It’s not the This Is Elvis take yet, but it sounds beautiful. It turns out to be a long false start, unfortunately. The song begins again, but the band is not together, so it stops.

Take 3, and it’s the one from This Is Elvis. It sounds good. I love James’ guitar part on this, rather than the steel guitar of the master version. This gives it more of a pop and less of a country feel. In the realm of lost Elvis opportunities after his death, one of the biggest is that the This Is Elvis remix version of “Always On My Mind” was not released as a single in 1981. Instead, Willie Nelson got the hit when he recorded and released his version in 1982. Nelson’s version became so popular that many people think the song originated with him.

Now we are on to “Separate Ways.” I was typing about “Always On My Mind” and missed it. I need to back the CD up. Okay, here we go. Track 16. This feels slower than usual. Too slow. This might be one of the takes used in the Elvis On Tour movie. Let’s see if he cuts it for being too slow.

I don’t know how Elvis sang the lines about Lisa Marie, which I excerpted above. I wouldn’t have been able to get through it.

“I think I can do it better,” Elvis says after the song concludes. How many times is he going to torture himself?

Some of the dialogue from Elvis On Tour is here, including Elvis saying, “Ronnie, it seems a little bit slow in the beginning.” It appears he didn’t actually cut the song in progress like the movie makes it appear, though. This next take still seems a bit too slow. It was also used in the movie.

Elvis Presley recording at RCA Hollywood Studios on Thursday, March 30, 1972 (MGM)

On to “Proud Mary” – so presumably the concert rehearsals have begun. It’s an okay version. Lots of microphone feedback at times. This is one where it works better in concert, I guess because Elvis played off the energy of the crowd. Ronnie Tutt is great on drums, of course.

“Never Been To Spain” is next, much like in the live show. Elvis did not do a studio version of a number of these songs, including “Proud Mary” and “Never Been To Spain,” so these rehearsals could have filled that gap – but Elvis is simply not focused enough. This portion of the CD is disappointing – though not unexpected. I’m glad the mock studio session portions were so great, at least.

Hmm…the rest of this disc and then all of another disc with this? Come on Elvis, get on it, man.

“You Gave Me A Mountain” is next. I’ve been enjoying the live versions from this set, even though it’s normally not a standout song for me. The first attempt is a false start due to more microphone feedback. This is another one without a formal studio version. Elvis sounds tired or slightly out of it. He stops the song early on.

And then we’re on to “Until It’s Time For You To Go,” which has been tiring on the live shows and is really no better here. I wish they had finished “You Gave Me A Mountain” instead.

I hope there aren’t ten takes of “Until It’s Time For You To Go” on here. Otherwise, it might be time for me to go!

Yay, “Polk Salad Annie” is next. Hopefully it’ll have some bass. The live discs I’ve played so far (Discs 1 & 4) have had a disappointing mix on this song, which features Jerry Scheff on bass guitar. Elvis doesn’t sound great here, I unfortunately have to say. I guess something happened between the excellent mock session on the 30th and the lackluster rehearsal so far on the 31st.

Well, I guess the rehearsal version doesn’t have the Scheff solo like the live versions do. I have played it back a couple of times, but I keep getting distracted in the middle of it by how Elvis sounds. So, it is actually possible I missed it. I don’t have the heart to play it again.

“Love Me” is next. He sounds a little better here. At least at the beginning. I don’t know. If only Elvis had taken some time off to get his life together instead of making this movie – but he just wasn’t like that. The Elvis Presley Show must go on.

That’s the end of CD 5. A strong start and a poor finish. I can’t say I’m too excited anymore about CD 6, which picks up where this one left off.


All right, I took a little break and put some LEGOs together with my bride. Now, on with the rehearsal.

Up first is “All Shook Up.” At least Elvis has some spunk in him at the beginning of this song. Then, it’s time for “Heartbreak Hotel.” Elvis continues to sound a little better, and James Burton is terrific as always on electric guitar. The “Teddy Bear/Don’t Be Cruel” medley is up next. Elvis seems slightly more engaged with “Teddy Bear” than usual. Elvis then launches into the bluesy “Hound Dog” intro before accelerating into the full-speed version. You can tell he’s holding back here, which I think is fine for a rehearsal, actually. This is a song that thrives on an audience, so doing it with the band and a camera crew, I can see how it’s not that inspiring.

“The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” is up next. He had recorded the song in Nashville in 1971, and it would soon be the B-Side of “An American Trilogy” in April. I like the arrangement here better than the single version. The Ronnie Tutt drumming adds an extra dimension to it. It’s not one of my favorite songs, but it is better than “Until It’s Time For You To Go” – particularly in this arrangement.

“A Big Hunk O’ Love” picks the pace back up. It sounds good! I love how this arrangement is so respectful of his original 1958 version. After a decent version, Elvis has them run through it again. And it still sounds good! Elvis seems much better now than at the beginning of the rehearsal. I love this song, especially the 1972 and 1973 versions.

The band then tears into a great version of “See See Rider.” Elvis seems quite engaged on the song, even without an audience.

Next in the rehearsals for the live show, they run through “For The Good Times” – the first overlap with the mock session. It’s not as fantastic as the previous day, but it still sounds good. A second attempt sounds better, though it eventually falls apart. They go a third time. Elvis still sounding good. His voice really suits this song. He doesn’t like something, though, and he stops it early on, and they go a fourth time. I still like even these rehearsal versions better than the live versions I’ve heard thus far. That voice. Wow.

Elvis had recorded a studio version of “Funny How Time Slips Away” in 1970, after running through it live the previous year. They rehearse it next. The 1972 versions just don’t compare at all to the stellar 1970 studio version or even the 1969 live version. For 1972, this rehearsal isn’t a bad version, though. I like it better than the live versions I’ve heard of that year, at least.

Elvis rocks into “Burning Love” next, another overlap with the mock session of the previous day. And again, he doesn’t sound as good here. However, it’s still a fun version. This feels faster than the previous day as well. The first rehearsal attempt falls apart near the end, so they go a second time. Elvis sounds good. I love this mix.

I wish they would keep going with “Burning Love,” but instead they move to “Help Me Make It Through The Night,” which Elvis had recorded in 1971. It appeared the previous month on the album Elvis Now. It’s not a bad song, and Elvis is engaged on it.

“Can’t Help Falling In Love” is next. Too fast for my taste. An unremarkable version.

Elvis dips way back into his past with “Young And Beautiful,” a song from the movie Jailhouse Rock (1957). I would love to know how this one came about as a contender for his 1972 setlist. It has a decent arrangement and everything. Unfortunately, he did not put the song in the live show. This would have been far better than “Until It’s Time For You To Go,” for instance. I first heard this “Young And Beautiful” rehearsal on Elvis On Tour: The Rehearsals, and I have loved it ever since.

“Lawdy Miss Clawdy” sounds good. Elvis could still rock ‘n’ roll when he wanted. “Release Me” is next and sounds good as well. Elvis first recorded the song live during his early 1970 Las Vegas engagement. He sings slightly different lyrics in 1972, though. In 1970 he sings, “To live a lie would be a sin,” whereas in 1972 he sings, “To live a lie would bring us pain.” They run through “See See Rider” again for some reason. It sounds as good as earlier in the rehearsal. “See See Rider” is another song that made its debut in the early 1970 Vegas season. “Proud Mary,” again from the early 1970 Vegas season, is rehearsed a second time as well. This is much better than the version from the beginning of the rehearsal. Fantastic mix, too.

They run through “Never Been To Spain” again, too. Again, he sounds better than earlier in the rehearsal. I’m glad he hit these songs again so that we can have decent versions in this sound quality. If only they had done “Polk Salad Annie” again.

The rehearsals, which took place on Good Friday, close out with a number of inspirational songs. Up first is “I, John,” which Elvis had recorded in 1971 and would release on the He Touched Me album in April, which would earn Elvis his second Grammy award. It’s a fun version of the song. Next is a brief rendition of “Bosom of Abraham,” which has a similar feel and also appears on He Touched Me. This performance appears in the Elvis On Tour movie.

The group then sings “You Better Run.” There is real joy in this music, and I’m glad this aspect of Elvis was captured.

A great version of “Lead Me, Guide Me,” also from He Touched Me, is next. This performance appears in the Elvis On Tour movie as well.

The group closes out the rehearsal and the CD with a medley of additional inspirational songs: “Must Jesus Bear The Cross Alone/Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus/Nearer My God To Thee.” This is the kind of music Elvis sang when he was unwinding with friends, and it’s the perfect way to end the rehearsals.

These rehearsals had a rocky start, but finished strong. Overall, CDs 5 and 6 end up being winners.


Selected Sources

  • Elvis Presley: A Life In Music – The Complete Recording Sessions by Ernst Jorgensen, St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1998.
  • Elvis Day By Day: The Definitive Record Of His Life And Music by Peter Guralnick and Ernst Jorgensen, Ballantine Books, New York, 1999.
  • Elvis Presley In Concert, accessed February 12, 2023.
  • Keith Flynn’s Elvis Presley Pages, accessed February 12, 2023.
  • ELVIS: His Life From A To Z by Fred Worth and Steve Tamerius, Wings Books, New York, 1992.

“Lead me, O LORD, in thy righteousness because of mine enemies; Make thy way straight before my face.”
Psalm 5:8

As Recorded At San Antonio Convention Center: ELVIS ON TOUR – First Reactions

My last Elvis On Tour post was so off-the-cuff that I failed to give much background. MGM in 1972 filmed portions of Elvis Presley’s April concert tour for a documentary. Multitrack recorders captured audio from four of the concerts, which make up four of the six CDs of Sony’s Elvis On Tour set released last month (also released digitally in late 2022). Elvis’ record label released none of the audio recordings during his lifetime, and, until this release, only one of the four concerts had been officially available in audio form.

Here is the itinerary for the April 1972 concert tour, sourced from the 2010 Elvis On Tour Blu-ray book (Warner Home Video):

April 5: Buffalo, NY
April 6: Detroit, MI
April 7: Dayton, OH
April 8: Knoxville, TN (Afternoon Show)
April 8: Knoxville, TN (Evening Show)
April 9: Hampton Roads, VA (Afternoon Show)
April 9: Hampton Roads, VA (Evening Show) [Elvis On Tour CD 1]
April 10: Richmond, VA [Elvis On Tour CD 2]
April 11: Roanoke, VA
April 12: Indianapolis, IN
April 13: Charlotte, NC
April 14: Greensboro, NC [Elvis On Tour CD 3]
April 15: Macon, GA (Afternoon Show)
April 15: Macon, GA (Evening Show)
April 16: Jacksonville, FL (Afternoon Show)
April 16: Jacksonville, FL (Evening Show)
April 17: Little Rock, AR
April 18: San Antonio, TX [Elvis On Tour CD 4 | Close Up CD 4]
April 19: Albuquerque, NM

Elvis and his band played 19 shows for 15 straight days in 15 different cities. This must have been grueling. Last time I covered the previously unreleased Hampton Roads concert from the evening of Sunday, April 9, 1972. For today’s post, I’m going to jump ahead to Disc 4, which has a new mix of the San Antonio Convention Center concert from Tuesday, April 18, 1972. BMG released the first mix of this show way back in 2003. The reason I’m jumping ahead to this one is to “save” the remaining two previously unreleased concerts.

Elvis Presley performing at the San Antonio Convention Center on Tuesday, April 18, 1972 (MGM)

Though I stopped playing it once I heard this new set was coming, I already know this concert from Close Up, so there shouldn’t be any surprises here. I am curious to hear the new mix, however.

Also Sprach Zarathustra (Theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey)  I just love this opening. So perfect for an Elvis concert. If I recall correctly, it was conductor Joe Guercio’s wife who came up with the idea for this piece to introduce Elvis.

See See Rider: People might find listening to four shows recorded within nine days to be boring, but I enjoy it. I think of it as if I was fortunate enough to follow Elvis on part of his tour. Of course you’d hear mostly the same songs, but there would always be a little something different in there, too. It does make reviewing a little difficult, though, because my thoughts are as similar as the song versions. Anyway, this is a strong “See See Rider,” and Elvis sounds better than he does at the beginning of Hampton.

Proud Mary: I first heard “Proud Mary” on the As Recorded At Madison Square Garden (June 10, 1972, Evening Show) album. While his 1970 versions of “Proud Mary” might be better (e.g., On Stage), the 1972 versions remain compelling, and this is one of the best from that year. This version also appears in the film.

Never Been To Spain: All-in-all, San Antonio has a better start than Hampton. Elvis seems more focused. This is a great version of “Never Been To Spain,” another song that I first heard on the Madison Square Garden album. This version is better, and it appears in the movie. I am enjoying this mix. Very clear. James Burton sounds terrific on lead guitar.

You Gave Me A Mountain: Introduced during his February 1972 Las Vegas engagement, “You Gave Me A Mountain” became a mainstay of Elvis’ setlist. The song appears in Elvis On Tour (1972) [Hampton Roads version], Aloha From Hawaii (1973), and Elvis In Concert (1977). The version here is solid.

Until It’s Time For You To Go: This song just doesn’t work well live. Even the studio version of “Until It’s Time For You To Go” should have simply been an album track rather than becoming a single. Elvis begins to lose some focus here. Hopefully, “Polk Salad” will get things back on track.

Polk Salad Annie: As with Hampton, Jerry Scheff on bass is way too low in the mix on what should be a highlight song for him. His solo does seem a tad louder here than Hampton, at least. A good version, but disappointing mix. When I am done, I will go back to Close Up and compare the mix for this song in particular.

“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the show,” Elvis says. This is probably the latest in a show I’ve heard Elvis welcome the audience. “I’d like to do some of my first records for you,” he continues, before jokingly singing a half-line of “Carry Me Back To Old Virginia.”

Wait, we are still in Texas, right? I guess Elvis wanted to go back to Virginia.

I don’t blame him.

Love Me: The only real interest here is the mix featuring James Burton.

All Shook Up

Teddy Bear/Don’t Be Cruel

Heartbreak Hotel: Elvis first introduced this bluesy arrangement in his 1969 Las Vegas shows. A decent version for 1972.

Hound Dog: The bluesy “Heartbreak Hotel” nicely sets up the bluesy “Hound Dog” intro before Elvis launches into the song full bore. Madison Square Garden has a better take on the slow-to-fast “Hound Dog,” though.

How Great Thou Art: Oh, to have been there to see Elvis perform “How Great Thou Art” live. This is another stellar version of the song he first recorded in 1966. Glen Hardin features on piano.

I Can’t Stop Loving You: This was one of my favorite songs on the Madison Square Garden album (it is hard to talk about Elvis live in 1972 without mentioning that classic album). This is a great version. This is one of the very rare occasions where 1972 versions of a song equal or exceed Elvis’ 1969 and 1970 versions.

Love Me Tender

Suspicious Minds: James Burton’s guitar intro sounds fantastic on this. The more I repeatedly listened to Hampton after writing my review, the less I liked the “Suspicious Minds” on there. This one seems much better so far. Well, not so fast, Elvis sounds distracted again. I like when he has fun, but “Suspicious Minds” is one of his best songs and is a highlight of concerts from this era, so it is disappointing when a version is subpar. Madison Square Garden has it beat by a mile.

Comin’ Home, Baby/Introductions By Elvis: This version of the introductions appears in the Elvis On Tour movie.

For The Good Times: Elvis’ voice is so beautiful. At times, “For The Good Times” sounds like a lullaby. I love his phrasing on “Don’t say a word about to-mor-row or forever. There’ll be time enough for sadness when you leave me.”

Burning Love: Featured in the movie, this is a killer version of “Burning Love.” Much better than Aloha From Hawaii several months later. The James Burton heavy mix is perfect for this song, of course.

An American Trilogy: Dixie/Battle Hymn Of The Republic/All My Trials – Elvis substitutes “Disneyland” for “Dixieland” in the opening song of “An American Trilogy” before proceeding to perform an okay version. The orchestra is sloppy at times. Hampton remains his best version ever of “An American Trilogy.”

Funny How Time Slips Away: The 1970 studio version is so much better than any live version I’ve heard so far. This version of “Funny How Time Slips Away” is nothing special.

Can’t Help Falling In Love: Wow, the show seems short. I forgot to check the run time before starting the CD. Before “Funny How Time Slips Away,” Elvis said they weren’t leaving yet, and joked they still had 30 songs to go. I guess he really meant 2 songs to go. While San Antonio started stronger, Hampton is by far the better Elvis On Tour show of the two I’ve played so far.

So, it turns out the Texas show is just under 56 minutes long! About ten minutes shorter than Hampton.

I went back and played “Polk Salad Annie” from the 2003 Close Up set, and the bass is not very prominent on that mix, either. I’ve seen other fans theorize that it was a recording issue, so perhaps they’re on to something. (I’m reminded of Elvis shouting, “Bring that bass up!” during “Proud Mary” of this very concert.) With that in mind, I prefer the 2023 Elvis On Tour mix – at least based on a first listen. Incidentally, a few of these songs are in the actual movie, which has its own mix and, if I’m not mistaken, more prominent bass. The recording source could have been different, however. I’m no expert on the recording intricacies of Elvis’ films.

Not a bad show, and it was definitely a welcome highlight of the Close Up box back in the day, but it is not all that memorable compared to other shows of 1972. Arguably, the two showstoppers of a 1972 Elvis concert are “Suspicious Minds” and “An American Trilogy,” and both versions here are subpar.

“How Great Thou Art” is certainly a stand-out here, though, as are some others, including “Never Been To Spain” and “I Can’t Stop Loving You.” It may not be his best show, but Elvis still delivers.


“All the nations You made will come and bow before You, Lord; they will praise Your holy name.”
Psalm 86:9

As Recorded At Hampton Coliseum: ELVIS ON TOUR – First Reactions

Some Elvis Presley fans have been waiting over 50 years for his record label to release an extensive collection of audio from MGM’s 1972 concert documentary Elvis On Tour. Though there have been some scattered releases over the years, a comprehensive, six-volume set for Elvis On Tour audio finally appeared last month on digital and this week on CD. It’s been only about 30 years of waiting for me, though, as I wasn’t aware of the amount of Elvis On Tour recordings until the early 1990s.

While much of this material has been bootlegged in varying degrees of quality, the vast majority of it has not been officially released. As I tend to avoid bootleg releases, it appears my patience is finally being rewarded.

I don’t really feel like doing a formal review as I did for 2014’s similar That’s The Way It Is: Deluxe Edition, which covered MGM’s 1970 documentary of the same name. While there is less material here, I also have far less time and energy than I did back then. Instead, I am going to write in a “live” stream-of-consciousness type way. I hope you don’t mind. I plan to cover one CD in this first post.

I am cutting the packing tape off the outer shipping box now. I am really not into unboxing videos, but I’m sure you can find one from someone else out there. The packaging wasn’t the best. The outer case of the actual CD set is slightly bulged out on the top. However, it’s acceptable to me. I am liable to mar it myself at some point anyway. So, I’m proceeding to remove the shrink wrap. Otherwise, this would have been the shortest post ever as I arranged a return and exchange.

ELVIS ON TOUR (Sony, 2023) | Credit: Sony

The box art isn’t bad. I like the vintage style logos. Elvis has always looked a little “off” in Elvis On Tour to me, and that is reflected in many of the related photos.

It’s the music I care about, though, so on with Disc 1. I don’t even know which show is up first! Let’s see…

Well, the disc doesn’t even bother to say. Let me check the booklet.

Disc 1 is the Hampton Coliseum in Virginia, April 9, 1972. This concert formed the bulk of the Elvis On Tour movie, for which the four concerts included in this set were recorded and filmed. Outside of the film footage itself, only “An American Trilogy” from this Hampton show has been officially released on audio until now.

Let me hook up my headphones. I don’t want to blast the family out of the house.

The show is over 66 minutes – pretty long for an Elvis concert. He usually kept them at about an hour, probably due to the influence of his Las Vegas stints on his tour shows. The hotel’s priority in Vegas was to get the audience back out into the casino to gamble, so management did not like when his show lasted over an hour. While that wouldn’t have been a consideration as he criss-crossed the country on multiple tours throughout the 1970s, Elvis was definitely a creature of habit.

Also Sprach Zarathustra: Best known as the theme to MGM’s 1968 movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, “Also Sprach Zarathustra” is an exciting way to begin a concert – perfect for Elvis, despite having been written in 1896! It’s unfortunate that a “sound-alike” piece was used in the film itself in lieu of “Also Sprach Zarathustra” due to rights issues with the composition. The inferior piece, called “2001 Alternate,” was re-used in 1981’s This Is Elvis as well. As proven here, Elvis concerts used the real version, not the one you hear in the Elvis On Tour and This Is Elvis movies.

See See Rider: Right off the bat, Elvis sounds a little off. I know this is a good show, though, based on the movie, so I’m not too concerned. James Burton’s guitar sounds awesome! Matt Ross-Spang, who has a proven track record with Elvis releases, mixed this set, and the sound is exciting. This song was used in the 1972 film.

I Got A Woman: This track has audio issues on Elvis’ vocals. He is in the background only. A disappointing way to start the set, I have to say. This song is used in the movie without these kinds of issues. Okay, about a minute or so in, Elvis is now fully audible. Why wouldn’t they fix this? Some fans have done so, taking minutes. Why not a company with the resources of Sony? I will never understand these kinds of missteps on Elvis releases. Well, no matter, it’s just a minute, and on a lesser song at that.

“I’d like to tell you it’s a pleasure to be here in West Virginia,” Elvis jokes. And then we’re on to the next song.

Never Been To Spain: In the realm of useless trivia, former racecar driver Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s favorite song is Elvis’ version of “Never Been To Spain” (presumably from the As Recorded At Madison Square Garden album). Here in Hampton, this is a decent version. Again, James Burton on electric guitar is a highlight. This show sounds great!

You Gave Me A Mountain: Oh, Elvis, it’s too early in the set for such a downer song. But here we go. Just a few weeks into his separation from his wife Priscilla, this is where Elvis was at this time in his life, and I respect that he was attempting to heal through his music. “You Gave Me A Mountain” has never been a huge favorite of mine, but this is certainly a decent and committed version. You can hear the pain in his voice as he sings, “My woman got tired of the heartaches.” This rendition appears in the film.

Okay, I got bored during “You Gave Me A Mountain” and looked up what day of the week this concert was held. It was a Sunday.

Until It’s Time For You To Go: Elvis keeps the pace slow. This was one of his singles in 1972, and it wasn’t a good choice. His voice sure is pretty on it, though. I wasn’t even born when Elvis performed this show, but how I wish I could have somehow been there. I was only two when Elvis died, so never had the chance to see him in concert. In some ways, you could say my intense fandom of Elvis Presley is due to him being ripped away from the world too soon… and this has all been my quest to experience what it would have been like to witness Elvis first-hand.

Polk Salad Annie: Here we go! Elvis picks the pace back up. My first complaint as far as the mix on this CD, though, is that Jerry Scheff is way too buried in the mix on this song. This song is a showcase for Jerry on bass, but you can barely hear him. James dominates in the mix. Now, I love some James Burton, but this is Jerry’s song. Anyway, you’ll recognize this performance from the movie, too. It is great to hear the Sweet Inspirations at least – as this is a showcase song at times for them as well.

“I’d like to do a few oldies but goodies for you, ladies and gentlemen,” Elvis says before launching into “Love Me.” I believe this is the first time I’ve heard Elvis use that phrase – and about his own classic songs at that.

Love Me: It’s a typical 1972 version. In the recent past, he did it much better in 1970.

All Shook Up: The video of this one made its debut on Elvis: The Lost Performances VHS in 1992. This is its first official audio release. It’s really not that notable, however.

Teddy Bear/Don’t Be Cruel: Also from Elvis: The Lost Performances, Elvis has fun with Glen D. Hardin by making him begin the song on piano multiple times before finally singing. This medley isn’t a favorite, but it’s a decent version. Unfortunately, the audio of the “Don’t Be Cruel” part of this performance was later used in the 2010 DVD & Blu-ray release of Elvis On Tour to replace “Johnny B. Goode” over the opening credits due to rights issues. New old stock of that release was included in the physical version of this Elvis On Tour set – i.e., the Blu-ray included in this 2023 set has the butchered opening from 2010. The real selling points of this release are the CDs. I see the Blu-ray as a free bonus disc. Best used as a drink coaster. For the proper opening, I recommend watching the movie by buying/renting a digital version or streaming it. Or catch it during a TV broadcast, of course (how quaint!).

Are You Lonesome Tonight: A beautiful rendition of one of my favorite songs. Featured in The Lost Performances, I’m thrilled finally to have this rendition in my collection at this sound quality.

“Please ‘Release Me,’ baby,” Elvis says, but Glen instead launches into “I Can’t Stop Loving You.” Getting Elvis back for that “Teddy Bear” fun?

I Can’t Stop Loving You: Okay, so I guess the whole segment from “All Shook Up” to “I Can’t Stop Loving You” was in The Lost Performances. Between that release and Elvis On Tour itself, we have most of this concert available in video form. I never thought it would take over 30 years for this audio from The Lost Performances to be released – much less 50 for the audio from the film proper.

Hound Dog: This has the “bluesy” intro, as later featured on the As Recorded At Madison Square Garden album (June 10, 1972). I practically grew up on that album, so I like it. This Hampton version has a little too much “scatting” from Elvis for my taste, though.

Bridge Over Trouble Water: Elvis absolutely conquered this song in 1970. By 1972, it just wasn’t the same, though. His voice sounds thin here. Elvis also had an unfortunate tendency to speed up a song over time. I guess to fit as much into those 60 minutes as possible.

Suspicious Minds: Wow, this feels way too early in the show for this song. This is a fast version, but he sounds good. His best versions are from 1969 and 1970, but if you can put that aside, the 1972 and 1973 versions are good on their own terms. Oh, to have been there! “Suspicious Minds” is one of those songs I always look forward to on a new-to-me concert. This one was a slight let-down due to Elvis playing around a bit with the audience, but still good. This was my Mom’s favorite song (specifically the Alternate Aloha version).

For The Good Times: Better than the sleepy version later recorded at Madison Square Garden.

Comin’ Home, Baby/Introductions By Elvis

An American Trilogy: Dixie/Battle Hymn Of The Republic/All My Trials – The video and audio from this first appeared in 1981’s This Is Elvis movie and album, albeit with additional instrumental overdubs added after Elvis’ 1977 death. That version is by far my favorite of “An American Trilogy.” The more authentic version here is unfortunately disappointing by comparison. The prominent scream from an audience member prior to the reprise of “Battle Hymn Of The Republic” is still there, at least (I used to wonder if that was overdubbed as well).

I mean, it’s still a great version, but it loses something in this mix. Or maybe due to not having the overdubs. Anyway, it’s wonderful finally to have it in the context of the full show. A version of this song recorded during a February Las Vegas show was another 1972 single for Elvis. While a powerful and dramatic song in concert, this didn’t make for a great single choice, either.

Love Me Tender: Not a bad version until ruined by Elvis joking near the end of the song.

A Big Hunk O’ Love: By 1972, Elvis wasn’t treating many of his “oldies but goodies” with very much respect. This one is an exception. Fantastic version. This appears in the movie.

How Great Thou Art: Stunning. Probably his best live version. The highlight of this show so far. This can also be viewed on The Lost Performances.

Sweet, Sweet Spirit (J.D. Sumner And The Stamps): I didn’t really “get” this song and thought it was a waste of time in Elvis On Tour until I finally saw the movie on the big screen in 2010. Watching Elvis become lost in the moment while hearing his backing vocalists perform this gospel song at his request was really something special, particularly while being part of the theater audience – and I wasn’t even saved yet at that point of my life.

Lawdy, Miss Clawdy: Oh no, based on what I remember from the movie, the show is nearing its end. No, Elvis, we want more! This is a great version for the 1970s. Probably the best one from that decade, at least of the ones I’ve heard, of course. This one appears in the movie.

Can’t Help Falling In Love: Noooo, the show is indeed ending! This rendition appears in the movie. What a terrific concert. Songs from throughout his career. Different styles. A strong voice.

All in all, a wonderful start to exploring the Elvis On Tour set.

Elvis Presley performing at the Hampton Coliseum on Sunday, April 9, 1972 (MGM)


“After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him.”
Matthew 3:16

Tragedy

I don’t know what to write. Friends, as you’ve probably heard by now, Lisa Marie Presley died unexpectedly yesterday. I still can’t believe it. Her father in 1977 died too young (42). Her only son, Benjamin Keough, died far too young in 2020 (27) – before his life even really got started. And now Lisa is gone too soon, too, less than 3 weeks shy of her 55th birthday.

Lisa Marie Presley: February 1, 1968—January 12, 2023 (Photo Credit: Harpo, 2005)

I started writing about Elvis Presley back in 1992, and I was writing about his beloved daughter Lisa Marie way back then, too. I wrote in 1992 about the birth of Benjamin for The Elvis Beat, a fan newsletter with a minuscule circulation that I published in paper format. I wrote about the first time she addressed her father’s fans in 1993. I wrote that year also about how she was pursuing a music career (it would be another decade before her debut album, To Whom It May Concern). I wrote about her marriage to Michael Jackson in 1994. I wrote about her divorce from Jackson in 1996.

Years later, here on The Mystery Train, I wrote in 2010 about Lisa Marie leading the Elvis Presley Charitable Foundation, which she had helped reinvigorate in 2001.

In 2013, over on Kees Mouwen’s Elvis Day By Day site, I wrote about Lisa Marie’s third (and now final) album, Storm & Grace. I also wrote in that same piece about her favorite Elvis songs. Her favorite was 1970’s “Just Pretend,” an album track that, at least outside of the Elvis world, is a deep cut. I consider it one of his masterpieces as well.

For Lisa, here it is.

“Just Pretend,” studio version, That’s The Way It Is | Credit: Elvis Presley – Topic channel (YouTube)

“Yes, I’ll come flying to you again. All the crying is through. I will hold you and love you again, but, until then, we’ll just pretend.”
–From “Just Pretend” by Guy Fletcher & Doug Flett; Elvis Presley song, 1970

She no longer has to pretend.

I’m praying for Lisa’s daughters, her mom, and everyone else who loved her.

I still don’t know what to write.


“He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”
Revelation 21:4


“Where No One Stands Alone,” Elvis Presley & Lisa Marie Presley, 2018 | Credit: Elvis Presley channel (YouTube)

Another Elvis Song of the Year (2022)

Happy 2023, friends. I know I haven’t posted in a few months, but I’m still out here listening to Elvis Presley sing frequent, energetic, and loud. His music is certainly one of the many blessings of my life.

The Mystery Train will continue to lumber on this year. Look for my re-watch of Elvis Movies to continue. Though extremely time-consuming, I had a lot of fun with those posts last year.

I’ll of course continue to examine Elvis’ music as well – perhaps including at some point a look at the long-awaited Elvis On Tour boxed set, which Sony released digitally at the end of 2022 while delaying the physical release until sometime early this year. After avoiding the related bootleg recordings for decades, I’m holding out for the CD version rather than plunging in with the digital-only version.

There’ll probably be some other posts scattered across the year as well, including topics I haven’t even thought of yet. As for maintaining a proper posting schedule, my only consistency is to be inconsistent. The Mystery Train does not adhere to a timetable, therefore it is never late.

One area where I am relatively consistent, though, is my first post of each year. I like to indulge my analytical side and look at my music listening trends for the previous year.

I have been tracking these numbers annually since 2010 (except, apparently, for 2017, for which I inexplicably have no data). There was a huge change in 2022 in one aspect compared to every previous year. I backed up no new Elvis tracks to my digital collection on iTunes, primarily because I bought no Elvis music in 2022. I continue to have exactly 5,000 Elvis tracks.

Have I finally reached a point where I have all the Elvis I need?

Wellll, I wouldn’t go that far just yet. After all, I have pre-ordered that Elvis On Tour set.

On with the numbers. Drumroll, please.

Out of those 5,000 Elvis tracks, the one I played most often in 2022 across all devices was…

Credit: Vevo’s Elvis Presley channel (YouTube)

…the legendary “Jailhouse Rock” from 1957. It took the prize for my most-played song of the year with 17 plays.

Second place went to another killer track, 1972’s “Burning Love” with 16 plays.

I listened to 2,023 unique Elvis tracks on my devices in 2022 (meaning 2,977 Elvis tracks went unplayed all year). Including duplicate plays, I listened to 5,306 Elvis songs on my devices during the year. That is about 15 Elvis songs a day on average.

Out of 6,638 non-Elvis tracks in my collection, my most played song overall in 2022 was for KING & COUNTRY’s “The Proof Of Your Love” from the album Crave (2012). This recording played 7 times on my various devices, putting it in 50th place.

Credit: For KING & COUNTRY channel (YouTube)

The number of non-Elvis songs in my collection has declined – due to various digital deletions I made in 2022 when I donated the associated physical CDs to a thrift store. I only purchased one new album last year (for KING & COUNTRY’s What Are We Waiting For?), so my music spending was down significantly due to focusing on other financial priorities.

Overall, I listened to 6,692 recordings using my digital devices last year (including duplicate plays). That works out to 18 songs a day. I listened to 3,098 unique tracks during the year.

While a slight increase from 2021’s 17 songs a day, my music listening remains down compared to the 2010s. For instance, in 2019, I listened to 35 songs a day. I expected a more significant increase in 2022, as after 2 years of being fully remote, I returned to working in person a few days a week — and thus, had more car time for music during my commute.

In any event, Elvis dominated my listening in 2022 – leaving room for only about 3 non-Elvis songs a day! My listening is normally not that out of balance, but it was definitely an Elvis year.

Thank you for reading and for indulging me in my analytical diversion.

Jesus answered many prayers for me in 2022, filling my life with blessings. May He do the same for you in 2023.

TY


“God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.”
2 Corinthians 9:8