Elvis: '68 Comeback Special
shows how, isolated from his original audience after a long sojourn on Hollywood soundstages, and threatened by the vibrancy and social gravity of rock, the King sought to reclaim his throne. This was filmed five years before he achieved broadcast history with his legendary 1973 global satellite telecast, Elvis: Aloha from Hawaii
, but more than three decades later, it's Comeback Special
that looms as the Memphis icon's most substantial achievement as a stage performer. If the candy-coloured sets and hyperactive choreography of its larger production numbers smack of its network packagers' desperation to be hip, Elvis himself rises to a riveting, assured performance at the peak of his powers.
Looking fit and relaxed, and sheathed in black leather, Elvis covers a shrewd song list encompassing early rockabilly hits, gospel (rendered unintentionally hilarious by its florid dance routines) and comparatively restrained ballads. Standout performances include two intimate stage sets that put him literally within his fans' reach, most strikingly in a brief reunion with four of his earliest bandmates (including guitarist Scotty Moore and drummer DJ Fontana). The latter segment is only a brief sample of a session posthumously released on video as One Night with You, which is, if anything, even better than this terrific portrait of a towering American artist. --Sam Sutherland
December 3rd 1968 was the day Elvis Presley returned for the first time in eight years with perhaps the greatest performance of his stellar career. This box set is released to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first recording Elvis ever did - at Sun Studios on July 5th 1954 - 'That's All Right', and includes the original broadcast version, two complete jam sessions concerts and two complete solo concerts - which were originally shot to be used as part of the broadcast but have never been aired. Also included are all the takes that made up the original broadcast's two production numbers, and all the material is presented with newly mastered sound and picture quality.