To paraphrase, if there wasn’t an Elvis Presley, man would have had to invent him. He simply embodies modern American music like no one can, could, or ever will. Men loved him because we all fantasize being able to BE Elvis (do you know any guy who HASN’T done an impersonation of him?) and women love him because they all believe that THEY could have made him happy. Few artists get the guys and the girls, and Elvis had whatever it was.
What was “it”? Well, it’s shown in spades on this Deluxe Edition of 8 cds and 2 dvds which includes (take a deep breath)…the original album, singles from the album, 6, count ‘em, 6 complete Las Vegas ‘Summer Season’ Shows of 1970 including Opening Night, Dinner Shows and Midnight Shows as well as rehearsal takes, the original theatrical version of the show and then the re-editied extended version, an 80 page color book as well as an interview with director Denis Sandors. Got that? Is it too much? Is there such a thing as too much Italian Gelato?
The biggest thing that you take away from the album and concerts is that Elvis had that “it”, which was something no one can teach you; you’ve either got it or you don’t. Sinatra had it; Bing didn’t . What it was, was the inherent ability to sound like he was singing directly to YOU. He can do it on the love songs like “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me” as well as the rocking and rolling “Patch It Up.” Yes, the songs are well produced, and filled with horns and background vocalists, but Elvis makes it work, mixing pop with power. He hadn’t descended into his self-parody yet, and comes across as the star who has regained his reign on the throne, still setting trends like the mutton chops, jump suits and patented snarl.
He has no problem covering popular tunes like “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” and making it sound like his own. He out Tony Joe White’s on “Polk Salad Annie” and puts Diamond to the dust on “Sweet Caroline.” His roots music sounds like he means it when he goes country on “Walk a Mile In My Shoes” and of course revels in his original hits like “Blue Suede Shoes” and “Hound Dog.” And, of course, NO ONE does a ballad as seductively as Elvis on a piece like the innocent yet sensuous “Are You Lonely Tonight.” The rehearsal songs are a pure joy, with Elvis relaxing around songs like “”Money Honey” and “Cotton Fields.” This is the Elvis that you’re gonna wish got more exposure.
The dvds simply a document of a master at his craft. Like watching Rembrant carving Moses in Chains, or Raphael weaving a tapestry, you get to see Elvis work a crowd like Titian mixing colors. A masterpiece!