26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Bright Lights City Gonna Set My Soul On Fire, 7 Mar 2002
Elvis and Las Vegas are almost synonymous, yet all too many percieve Elvis "decline" with his years in Vegas........not true.
This is a fabulous set, although a tad dissapointing; no songs from 73 or 76, not enough rarities and too many songs that have been released before. That said, this is worth every penny, disc 1 & 4 are very special indeed, with disc 2 being almost a continuation of "That's The Way It Is."
So what do we have? Definately a set for not merely the Elvis fan, but essential for any fan of great music, from, of course, the greatest.
Starting with the packaging; it's great, quite like a book with CDs inside, just like the "Platinum: A Life In Music" set, with 90+ tracks, over 50 are unreleased.
Starting with a concert from 1969, this is stunning. Absolutely Elvis at his finest, pure rock 'n' roll, almost like a mix between the "68 Special" and "That's The Way It Is." Songs like "Jailhouse Rock" and "Heartbreak Hotel" sparkle with attidute, like the 50s all over; whilst new hits like "Suspicious Minds" and "In The Ghetto" are breathtaking, then and now.
Disc two treats us to another show from August 1970 and "TTWII"; Elvis is more polished that a year previous, still rockin hard, but now with the big time show-stoppers like a mesmorising "Bridge Over Troubled Water" and "I Just Can't Help Beleivin'" almost steal the show from the likes of the legendary "That's Alright" and a really beautiful version of thr Beatles "Something." Tagged on at the end is a poor recording, but beautifully sung version of "When The Snow Is On The Roses", ultra-rare, listen as he tries to get the key right; it's unrehearsed, he gets it and it's so good that its a pity he never took this to the studio.
Disc 3 is basically a combination of the "On Stage" album from 1970, and the "Burning Love" album of songs from 1972 released a couple of years ago.
The songs from 70 compliment "TTWII", and are excellent, although they are from February as opposed to August. The tracks from 72 are very very impressive.
Here Elvis is tackling the big ballads plus some folk and rock. Songs like "It's Impossible", "You Gave Me A Mountain" and "It's Over" are dramatic and show of the power of Elvis amazing voice, whilst "Never Been To Spain" is a nod in the folk-direction. "A Big Hunk O' Love" is exhillerating, fast and unrelenting with great guitar and piano solos, whilst "Little Sister/Get Back" is a medley of Elvis own classic with a Beatles masterpiece.
Disc 4 is very special indeed, as RCA have a wealth of live material from 74/75/76 that they fail to release. Firstly, the live show from 56 is here also. It's excellent, early Elvis and can't be faulted, even though he bombed.
Forward to 1974, and The King is arguably a better live performer than he had ever been. It's a huge shame that the sound here is inferior to the rest of the set. The sound is fine and listenable, but not high quality; like a good tape, maybe.
Anyway, this and disc 1 are the "cream of the crop." "Promised Land" rocks, both Elvis and the band, especially gutarist James Burton are superb. "It's Midnight" is a country ballad, he sang this a lot in 74, and simply he sings this song; just listen to the words, phrasing and emotion; this guy gets to your soul. "If You Talk In Your Sleep" is a highlight; southern and funky, close your eyes at the bridge and picture him kicking the air, shaking and striking poses during this most excellent song.
The entire disc is superb, and a real eye opener to those who foolishly dismiss Elvis in the mid-late 70s.
Best song here; "I'm Leavin'" always blows me away, this slice of folkish rock is mesmorising both live and the studio cut that must be heard. Why was this never a huge million seller. "How Great Thou Art" must be heard; this is huge, whilst "America The Beautiful" is amazing, no one has ever sung this patriotic American anthem as powerfully, soulfully and convincing as Elvis.
This is a great set, I can't recommend it enough and look forward to the 2002 set "Today, Tomorrow and Forever."