IS STILL ACTIVE IN NORWAY
At The International [Follow That Dream]
by Oven Egeland
During an Elvis convention in Norway I was fortunate enough to be able to listen very closely to FTDs newest CD. I thank Henrik Knudsen of Elvis Unlimited for this exclusive opportunity!
Elvis At The International contains a show from Las Vegas, Aug 23 (midnight show). Bearing in mind the terrible mixed show that was featured on Live In Las Vegas, I was anxious about the sound quality... or more precisely; how is this show mixed? I'm glad to tell everyone that the sound is fantastic. Every instrument is audible... yes, even Muhoberac on piano. Listening to this CD makes you wonder whatever went wrong when Ferrante mixed the show for Live In Las Vegas. Okay, that's history!
There's a lot of ambience on this CD, thus containing the live feel a concert CD should have. The audience is there with you all the time, without taking away the charm of any instrument or any vocal.
The concert is very typical for 1969. There really weren't a lot of changes from show to show. However, Elvis' mood varied a bit. On this show, Elvis is very talkative. There are moments when he sounds a bit drunk. He's in that mood.
The CD opens with the opening riff, going into 'Blue Suede Shoes'. Quickly over to 'I Got A Woman', just after some "well, well" interaction. After a brilliant 'All Shook Up' it certainly was time for introduction. "Welcome to International hochell". After this Elvis spends two minutes of talking, before going into a beautiful 'Love Me Tender'. This song works very well on stage, when done seriously. Sure there are "silent" moments when Elvis reaches for a girl (or the other way around), but it doesn't take the charm away from the song.
Then more talking before launching into what could be called a "sonofabitch-version" of 'Jailhouse Rock/Don't Be Cruel'. After 'Heartbreak Hotel' Elvis spends two more minutes to talk. What does he talk about? Well, how he thought about a message song for the evening and came up with this... "I looked her square in the eyes... she said, is that your pick? That's a weird looking pick". Elvis barely can collect himself during this part of the show. It all leads into 'Hound Dog' of course.
'Memories' is a nice version, although it gets a bit messed up due to a lot of kissing. I like the version on Collectors Gold better.
"One of my first records" leads into a brilliant 'Mystery Train/Tiger Man'. After this song there is an "UGLY" edit on the CD. FTD has obviously cut out something okay but how they can edit a cut so badly is a mystery. It goes from almost silence to full applause!
Elvis' life story comes next this time in the show, and not after as on Live In Las Vegas. It runs for over eight minutes and 30 seconds and tends to get tedious along the way. This is not something you find funny every time you listen to it. Personally I prefer Elvis' life story version as found on the bootleg Opening Night '69 from Fort Baxter.
After quickly stating that he is unable to play the guitar, Elvis steers into 'Baby, What You Want Me To Do'. He then sings 'Runaway' by Del Shannon, before it is time to play the guitar again. Elvis now performs the previously released 'Reconsider Baby'. Even more beautiful in the right context and in this sound quality, than it was on Collectors Gold!
More guitar playing, as Elvis wants to sing 'Are You Lonesome Tonight?'. In my point of view it can't be done any better than on this show. A shame Elvis didn't continue singing this song seriously over the years that followed. Cissy Houston is a bit of-key at one point, though!
'Yesterday/Hey Jude' is really a demanding version! It goes on (the 'Hey Jude' segment mostly) for ages, or five minutes and 50 seconds to be exact! Not something Id listen to over and over again!
"Charlie, this is Jerry..." "Tutt Scheff anyway you look at it!" "Muhaverik.... Muhoverak!". It is Elvis introducing the band.
Somehow I think Elvis sang 'In The Ghetto' too rough in 1969. It sounded better in 1970 than it does on this show, I think.
'Suspicious Minds' however, never sounded better than during August 1969. Running for almost eight minutes it is a delight. Already in February the next year Elvis would start to rush this song, and it would never again be performed with the blues, soul and Gospel flavor he puts into the song this day.
'What'd I Say' is rushed already in 1969 on the other hand. This is the same version as found on Collectors Gold, and is mostly instrumental. After closing 'What 'd I Say' Elvis quickly dedicates the next song to the audience and sings 'Can't Help Falling In Love'
This CD will
be one of the most popular CD among Elvis fans I believe. A great show
in great sound quality is all we can ask for. Running time is 79:10. A
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