Top critical review
10 people found this helpful
52 minutes of Legend
on 23 December 1999
This is the afternoon performance during Elvis' stint at Madison Square Garden. RCA released the evening show as the album at the time, leaving this in the vaults.
The main reason to get this is (a) it's remastered (b) its unedited unlike the original Madison Square Garden and (c) the better quality sound more effectively puts you in the audience.
"That's All Right" is a real rocking version, better than that on the evening show, and a change from the usual opener "C.C.Rider", "Proud Mary" is as good after a shaky start and "Never Been to Spain", another contemporary number, Elvis toys with the melody, sinking to the depths of his range at the start of the second verse to great effect which almost makes the song.
Then there's the usual leisurely stroll through the early hits before "Hound Dog" which, with "Suspicious Minds" is a highlight of the album. The great teasing start, and then funked up, slowed down and updated for the 70s with lots of wah-wah. Suspicious Minds is similarly toyed with and whilst its not much different to any other of his mid 70s versions, the middle slowed down sections in this are electric, especially Elvis' melody twisting, deep bass singing of "because I love you too much baby". The sound quality and Elvis' commitment gives this version the edge over any other live version I've heard.
If you want an album of Elvis in Concert in the 70s, get this. Don't get Aloha - he's audibly slowed down and not quite as switched on; don't get Madison Square Garden because of the inferior sound and edits; Don't get some earlier concerts when the show wasn't that developed. And please don't get the 77 Concert where Elvis is definitely not in the building.
This is Vegas Elvis at his peak. And this is the best version available. Have it.