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/The 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 “The 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

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.)