Like any Elvis fan, I was extremely excited to hear that the new Elvis: Prince from Another Planet CD/DVD release would include 20 minutes of never-before-seen video footage from the 1972 Madison Square Garden concert. The new box set released on November 13 comes with two CDs containing the remastered June 10, 1972 afternoon and evening shows and a DVD with bonus footage.
However, when you hear the description that the DVD includes “20 minutes of footage” from the show filmed by a fan, you would expect the 20 minutes to be continuous. Unfortunately, the 20 minutes comprises bits and pieces of video footage of songs throughout the entire 60-minute concert. To rectify this, Sony Legacy has synched up the never-before-seen footage with audio from the show. Therefore, if you sit down to watch the “bonus footage” you will be watching a dark screen for 40 out of the 60 minutes.
You’ll have the most success with the first 11 minutes of the concert, when you see the majority of lengthy clips of Elvis performing on stage in a blue jumpsuit and cape. After that, the picture comes on randomly for a minute or even a few seconds at a time and then goes dark again, while the audio keeps playing. Obviously, this is the best way Sony could tackle this situation. Elvis fans would rather see bits and pieces of Elvis at this historic show than nothing at all.
There is no rhyme or reason to why certain parts of Elvis’ performance appears and other parts are dark. Apparently, the official explanation is that the camera person had to change tape cartridges, which results in a multitude of blank picture spots throughout the show. So just be prepared that you will have to be glued to your screen for 60 minutes, or you can fast-forward, since there is no way of predicting when the picture will re-appear.
The best thing about raw footage like this is that the camera is fixated on Elvis. There are no flashy cutaways and no side or back angles of Elvis — just straight-on footage filmed by a fan. Just like YouTube videos of today, raw concert footage is the closest you can come to feeling like you were there at the show. To recreate a true concert experience, I would prefer to see raw, unedited footage any day over flashy editing with special effects.
Elvis made entertainment history in 1972 by becoming the first entertainer to sell out four consecutive shows at Madison Square Garden. Originally, there were three shows scheduled — one on June 9, and two on June 10. Due to overwhelming demand, a fourth show was added on June 11. A total of 80,000 people attended the four shows.
The two newly remastered shows included on CD in Elvis: Prince from Another Planet contain almost the same set of songs except for a few variations. The two shows were previously released — the June 10, 1972 evening show was rush released just a week after the original concert called Elvis: As Recorded at Madison Square Garden, and the June 10, 1972 afternoon show was released in 1997 called An Afternoon at the Garden.
The DVD includes a 20-minute documentary about the Madison Square Garden shows featuring interviews with Jerry Schilling, Joe Guercio (Elvis’ musical director), guitarist James Burton and George Kalinsky, the official MSG photographer. Additionally, the DVD includes the complete New York press conference that Elvis had to promote his first live concert ever in New York City. (This press conference was also released this year as a bonus with Graceland’s Official 2012 guidebook.)
One reporter at the press conference asked: “Why do you think you’ve outlasted every other entertainer from the ’50s and for that matter the ’60s as well?”
Elvis replied: “I take Vitamin E.”
After the crowd stopped laughing, Elvis continued, “Just kidding. I don’t know. I enjoy the business. I like what I’m doing.”
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