Prince From Another Planet highlights an unreachable star

Sony released three new Elvis titles to US stores on Tuesday, all of them related to his 1972 appearances at Madison Square Garden. While I commend Sony for bringing these releases to market, they have also brought along with them much confusion over the similar contents.

I’m no miracle worker, but I’ll try to clear this up for you as best I can.

Prince From Another Planet: As Recorded At Madison Square Garden is a 2-CD/1-DVD boxed set. CD 1 is a 2012 mix by Michael H. Brauer of Elvis’ June 10, 1972, afternoon show at the Garden, mastered by Vic Anesini. CD 2 is a 2012 mix by Brauer of Elvis’ June 10 evening show at the Garden, mastered by Anesini. The DVD contains a new documentary (Like A Prince From Another Planet), footage from Elvis’ June 9 press conference in New York, and fan-shot 8-millimeter footage of the June 10 afternoon show. Also included is a 50-page book, featuring liner notes by Lenny Kaye.

Elvis Presley's 1972 New York press conference

Elvis at his June 9, 1972, press conference

Elvis As Recorded At Madison Square Garden: Legacy Edition is a 2-CD set. CD 1 is a vintage 1972 mix of Elvis’ June 10 evening show at the Garden, mastered by Anesini in 2007. This represents the 1972 album Elvis As Recorded At Madison Square Garden, which hit store shelves only a week after the actual show. Due to Anesini’s mastering, which was first released on 2009’s Elvis: The Complete Masters Collection and 2010’s The Complete Elvis Presley Masters, the sound quality is improved over the 1992 CD release. CD 2 is a vintage 1997 mix of Elvis’ June 10 afternoon show at the Garden, mastered by Anesini for this 2012 edition. This represents the 1997 album An Afternoon In The Garden.

Sony has also released a new vinyl version of Elvis As Recorded At Madison Square Garden. This 2-LP release of the June 10 evening show is a newly mastered version of the vintage 1972 mix. Despite the fact that it is now two records, this does not contain the afternoon show. The original 1972 vinyl issue of this album was only one record, but the two record format is for better sound quality.

As you can see, fans of Elvis in 1972 have a nice selection from which to choose. As for me, I went with the deluxe Prince From Another Planet set because I wanted to hear the 2012 mixes. The Legacy Edition was not appealing to me because I already have the vintage As Recorded At Madison Square Garden mix as mastered by Anesini on The Complete Masters Collection, and I was not interested in a new mastering of the 1997 mix of An Afternoon In The Garden. I may eventually pick up the vinyl, though I tend to gravitate more towards records produced while Elvis was alive.

Prince From Another Planet (2012)

I’m not going to do a formal review, but I can’t close out without saying that Prince From Another Planet is incredible. Brauer has done a fantastic job mixing these shows. Crank up your sound system and maybe, just maybe, you can be transported back to June 10, 1972, and experience Elvis at the Garden.

As you might expect, the difference is most striking on the evening show. To say that the 1972 mix was rushed would be an understatement. This new 2012 mix finally illuminates this show in the fashion it deserves.

The Like A Prince From Another Planet documentary is worthwhile. I would like to see more documentaries of this nature, highlighting specific points in Elvis’ career. It does “spoil” a lot of the fan-shot footage, though, so you may want to watch that first.

The amateur video of the June 10 afternoon show looks about as good as 8 millimeter footage can possibly appear. Do not go in expecting professional Elvis On Tour or Aloha From Hawaii quality, though. This understandably looks grainy on large television sets. Though the original footage was silent, Sony has meticulously synched the 2012 mix of the show’s audio with the footage. To put it mildly, the footage is stunning and makes for a terrific experience . . . almost.

Elvis on stage at the Garden

Elvis on stage at the Garden

Only about twenty minutes of footage from this sixty minute show actually exists. During parts of the show for which there is no footage, the screen goes black while the audio continues. There are several long stretches of songs with no footage at all. To be honest, I cannot imagine a member of the “general public” (i.e., someone who is not an obsessed Elvis fan) sitting through this. Even I became restless at times, afraid to take my eyes off the big blank screen for fear I would miss the video. Sony should have provided an option to “View All Footage” and skip over the blank portions. This is but a minor quibble, though. Keep in mind while watching this that Warner Home Video is sitting on hours of professionally-filmed 1972 tour footage of Elvis. Unfortunately, Sony has no control of that footage, so kudos to them for at least bringing us this grainy alternative.

My larger complaint with the set has to do with the packaging. It is beautiful, but fails miserably at its primary job – protecting the CDs and DVD. Good luck getting them out without scratching the discs and/or creasing the packaging. As it is, my DVD has a fault during the press conference, and I have no doubt that the packaging and my admittedly anxious hands are to blame.

Elvis and the music more than make up for these shortcomings, though. If you are a fan of Elvis in 1972, Prince From Another Planet is a must-have. If you are not a fan of Elvis in 1972, I do not think this release will change your opinion. That’s okay, though. Everyone is entitled to be wrong!

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Coming so soon on the heels of the recent storm, this New York themed release also reminded me to think of those in New York and neighboring areas that are affected. I think it would be a great gesture, and certainly within the spirit of Elvis’ generosity, if Sony were to release a single from this set with proceeds to benefit disaster relief efforts. In any event, we fans can also help on our own by donating funds to the American Red Cross.

Is Thomas unbeatable? Elvis Today Blogger takes ET#10, stuns the train

Steve M gave it a good try, but Thomas (Elvis Today) has won Elvis Trivialities yet again. This marks two wins in a row for Thomas.

And the answer is…

Dennis Linde said the following:

“I remember hearing it on the radio for the first time. It’s the kind of thing you can’t describe. It was wonderful. […] It was a kick that an Elvis album was named after my song. The whole thing was just a blur, just one more thing I couldn’t believe and didn’t expect. It was one more fantasy coming true. Of course you’d never expect that.”

Source: Writing For The King: The Stories Of The Songwriters by Ken Sharp, FTD Books, Denmark, 2006.

Burning Love And Hits From His Movies, Volume 2Linde wrote Elvis’ 1972 hit “Burning Love,” which also appeared on the album Burning Love And Hits From His Movies (Volume 2). Elvis went on to record two other Linde compositions, “I Got A Feelin’ In My Body” (1973) and the exquisite “For The Heart” (1976).

Thomas has won an astounding five out of the ten challenges posed to date. In fact, there have only been four winners besides him. Talk about bragging rights. The trivia master maintains his position of honor among The Mystery Train’s Night Riders.

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The next question could arrive at any time. Will it be in five minutes? Later today? Or not until March? Find out by subscribing to The Mystery Train Blog using the feature in the menu bar to the right. Then, you’ll be emailed whenever a new post appears.


The Mystery Train’s Night Riders

  • February 4, 2012: Thomas (Elvis Today) (13:52)
  • February 3, 2012: Thomas (Elvis Today) (2:18)
  • December 21, 2011: Wellsy (2:37)
  • October 31, 2011: Thomas (Elvis Today) (17:32)
  • October 1, 2011: Anton Jeldres Tiselj (Jimmy Cool) (1:01)
  • September 9, 2011: Steve Brogdon (0:17) <— Record time
  • August 6, 2011: Thomas (Elvis Today) (2:26)
  • July 9, 2011: Thomas (Elvis Today) (5:26)
  • June 23, 2011: Fred Wolfe (0:18)
  • June 22, 2011: Ty stumps the train (no winner)

Jimmy Cool freezes the competition in Elvis Trivialities #6

Anton Jeldres Tiselj (AKA Jimmy Cool) was first to correctly answer Elvis Trivialities #6. Not only does Jimmy receive a set of bragging rights, but he also earns a spot among The Mystery Train’s Night Riders.

And the answer is…

Roy Webber is the name of the mayor who asked Elvis if he was going to sing “I Ain’t Nothing But A Hound Dog,” in the movie Elvis On Tour.

With MGM cameras rolling for the documentary, the Roanoke, Virginia, mayor met Elvis on a Woodrum Field tarmac on April 11, 1972, when the singer arrived for his appearance at the Roanoke Civic Center that evening. Webber presented him with a key to the city, which Elvis verified would fit the bank vaults. Webber also gave him a guitar-shaped floral arrangement, which Elvis proceeded to accidentally break.

Elvis and Roanoke, Virginia, mayor Roy L. Webber (1972)

Elvis and Roanoke, Virginia, mayor Roy L. Webber (1972)

Here’s the story behind what appeared on screen. Besides being mayor, Webber was also a florist. The guitar was actually made by his his company, Roy L. Webber Florist. He was in the middle of his second stint as Roanoke mayor, which began in 1968. He first served as mayor from 1949-1954. While still in office, Webber passed away in 1975 at the age of 71. However, his floral business remained open for over thirty years after that.

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The next question could come along at any moment. It might be later today. It might be next month. Or, maybe not until next year. The best way to have a chance of joining the ranks of Jimmy Cool and other past winners is to subscribe to The Mystery Train Blog using the feature in the menu bar to the right. That way, you’ll be notified by email as soon as a new post appears.

Congratulations again to Anton!


The Mystery Train’s Night Riders

  • October 1, 2011: Anton Jeldres Tiselj (AKA Jimmy Cool) (1:01)
  • September 9, 2011: Steve Brogdon (0:17) <— Record time
  • August 6, 2011: Thomas (2:26)
  • July 9, 2011: Thomas (5:26)
  • June 23, 2011: Fred Wolfe (0:18)
  • June 22, 2011: Ty stumps the train (no winner)

Elvis Trivialities #6

Friends, I believe it’s time for another installment of Elvis Trivialities. Your question is:

What is the name of the mayor who asked Elvis if he was going to sing “I Ain’t Nothing But A Hound Dog” in the movie Elvis On Tour?

A boxed set of bragging rights will go to the first person to post the correct answer in the comments below. Good luck!

Hey Sony, isn’t it about time for an Elvis On Tour boxed set?

I started to do this in reply to Mike Hermenet’s comment on my Trilogy post, but decided to make a new post about it instead.

Though the 40th anniversary of That’s The Way It Is in 2010 essentially went unobserved by both the main Sony label and its Follow That Dream collectors label, I’m with Mike in hoping that the 40th anniversary of 1972’s Elvis On Tour will capture Sony’s imagination in 2012.

Elvis On Tour deserves a 3-CD treatment on the main label:

Disc 1: April 9, 1972, Evening Show, Hampton Roads, VA
Disc 2: April 10, 1972, Richmond, VA
Disc 3: April 16, 1972, Greensboro, NC

And then, to complement the above, there should be an Elvis On Tour: The Rehearsals – Volume II CD on the FTD label.

Or perhaps swap out one of the concerts from the set and release it on FTD, and put the disc of newly released rehearsals on the main label boxed set instead – since some may find three concerts from the same week to be too repetitive for a mainstream release (who are these imbeciles?).

After last year’s poorly handled Blu-ray release of the film, I’m not holding my breath for Warner Brothers to release anything new as far as Elvis On Tour video footage next year. I hope I’m wrong on that account, though.

There is, at least, some hope for additional audio releases to go with those from the past.

Thanks for commenting, Mike, and for the quick post idea.

The Making of Elvis On Tour

I unfortunately don’t have time for a real entry this morning. I hope to be back within the next two or three days. However, I wanted to take a quick moment to point you over to an incredible post on the For Elvis CD Collectors forum:

“The Making Of ‘Elvis On Tour’ MGM 1972” by Davide

It’s a fantastic compilation of information and photos pertaining to the making of Elvis On Tour, which made its Blu-ray and DVD debut last year. I used to do this kind of thing for the Star Trek movies, and I can tell you that it takes loads of time. Hats off to Davide for the great work. Thanks for sharing it with us fans! (The post indicates that it is for FECC use only, so I’ve not quoted any of the material here, but I’m assuming a link to the post on FECC itself is acceptable.)

Now! Elvis On Tour! Now!

Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis Presley has arrived in your hometown. 1972’s Elvis On Tour is available now for the first time ever on Blu-ray and DVD.

Elvis On Tour features Elvis on the road and in rehearsals in the spring of 1972. The movie shows Elvis in good form, with the effects of his marriage problems with Priscilla only beginning to take their toll.

It is a well-assembled film, capturing an important moment in the entertainer’s life. The second documentary produced about him, Elvis On Tour also represents Elvis’ 33rd and final completed movie.

Sandwiched between 1970’s colossal That’s The Way It Is documentary and 1973’s Aloha From Hawaii TV special, MGM’s Golden-Globe-winning film is sometimes overlooked among Elvis events.

At the time, Elvis On Tour ultimately did not even garner a soundtrack album release – trumped by the As Recorded At Madison Square Garden and Aloha live albums.

A theatrical showing last week across the United States placed a well-deserved spotlight on Elvis On Tour. There will also be a special screening of the movie on August 14 in Memphis during Elvis Week. A European screening of Elvis On Tour in Belgium will feature Elvis’ long-time friend Jerry Schilling, who also was an assistant editor on the original movie.

As confirmed last week, Warner Home Video has replaced the opening “Johnny B. Goode” with “Don’t Be Cruel” for this release due to being unable to obtain rights to use the classic tune, penned by Chuck Berry. Other than being fully restored for Blu-ray and upgraded to 5.1 surround sound, the film is otherwise unchanged from its original theatrical version.

When I sit down to watch Elvis On Tour on Blu-ray Friday night, I’m going to do so as a fan – not a blogger or a reviewer.

Crank up the volume, and have fun! That’s what being an Elvis fan is all about.

Elvis On Tour Countdown

  • Now: Elvis On Tour (2010 Cruel Edit) Blu-ray and DVD releases

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For more information (official site):

Selected posts about Elvis On Tour from The Mystery Train: