Commemorating some of the most iconic concerts by Elvis Presley are two recently launched reissues.
Elvis’s exclusive performances in New York City occurred in June 1972, consisting of four shows held at Madison Square Garden. Despite initial uncertainties about the city’s response due to previous critical reception, all four shows were quickly sold out. An album recorded during the June 10 evening show was hastily released within a mere eight days. Subsequently, the June 10 afternoon performance was distributed as “An Afternoon In The Garden.” The compilation “Prince From Another Planet,” unveiled in 2012, encompassed both shows along with a DVD featuring 20 minutes of fan-captured footage and additional bonuses.
Presenting the reissue of these performances under the official collector’s label, Follow That Dream, are new remixes crafted by Matt Ross-Spang. This rendition delivers a more balanced audio compared to the 2012 version. While the earlier release emphasized Presley’s vocals, some might even prefer that particular iteration. Throughout the shows, Presley radiates a vibrant energy, evident in his swift rendition of the opening track “That’s All Right.” Notably, he enjoys performing “Polk Salad Annie” while delivering a captivating rendition of “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’.” The third CD in the set features the press conference from the event. Ross-Spang has also reimagined a 3-CD edition of “Aloha From Hawaii By Satellite,” which premiered the previous year on Follow That Dream. This mix is incorporated into the more widely accessible reissue, launched to commemorate the event’s 50th anniversary. The compilation also incorporates the rehearsal concert from January 12, 1973, the broadcast concert from January 14, and supplementary tracks recorded by Presley after the latter for inclusion in the April US broadcast.
The January 14 concert is celebrated for its robust performance, featuring standouts like “Burning Love,” “My Way,” and “American Trilogy.” Notably, the 2023 mix shines prominently here, with the audio from the 2012 reissue seeming muted in comparison. The updated mix provides the music with more space to breathe, infusing the performance with renewed energy, even though its tempo is slower than the Madison Square Garden shows, resulting in a refreshing experience.
This edition notably includes the debut Blu-ray release of the January 14 show, boasting exceptional professional filming quality. However, it does raise queries about why the collection wasn’t extended to encompass a second Blu-ray disc containing the January 12 concert, post-concert songs, and the US broadcast. Such an addition would have solidified its status as the definitive compilation. Perhaps such an enhancement could be reserved for the 55th-anniversary edition.
For those who already possess prior versions of these releases and consider themselves casual fans, these editions might not be deemed essential acquisitions. Nevertheless, dedicated Elvis enthusiasts who appreciate significant enhancements, particularly regarding the Hawaii shows, should unquestionably find these reissues intriguing.