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Album Review: Elvis – Elvis Recorded Live on Stage in Memphis (40th Anniversary Edition)

2 min read

Elvis is back, he’s alive! I mean, he has reappeared live in his hometown! No, that’s not right either… Let me try that again… Elvis’ live Memphis recording is being rereleased!

2014 marks forty years since the concert when Elvis Recorded Live on Stage in Memphis took place. The Grammy award winning recording is being remastered, reinvigorated and redropped  as the Legacy Edition to celebrate, and it’s a must-have for any fan of the King of Rock and Roll.

Elvis Live On Stage In MemphisElvis Presley graced the stage of the Midsouth Coliseum in his homeland of Memphis, Tennessee on March 20, 1974, after nearly two decades of absence from the graceful land. He explained that he wanted to record a live session “where it all started out” for him, so the concert album was released in July that year. However, the spatial constraints of vinyl meant that only fifteen songs of a much longer set could be cut, which is why the last 40 years of technological advances makes this new release so extraordinary.

The 30th anniversary may have seen an initial rerelease featuring the entire concert on CD, but this expanded two-CD issue features a goldmine of previously unreleased material. The second disc contains a recently located recording of Elvis’ entire concert “test run” held two days before the historic performance, in the reverb-laden style he favoured. Elvis enthusiasts will love him tenderer with the inclusion of a further five extra tracks at the end of the album, recorded intimately in 1974 as reference recordings for a forthcoming Las Vegas stint. These rare additions allow unprecedented insight into the world of Elvis’ concert preparation, as well as his masterful studio artistry.

Fans of the King will revel in reliving his return to Memphis. The rousing renditions of his gospel-inspired Why Me Lord, Help Me and How Great Thou Art bring the crowd to its knees, as do his bluesy rock classics Suspicious Minds, Love Me Tender and All Shook Up, all not issued on the vinyl original. He also exhibits the pop majesty of Hound Dog, as well as Jailhouse Rock as part of a 5 song frenzy-inducing medley.

For anyone wanting to learn about one of the greatest and how he became the King, this two-disc lesson in songcraft and showmanship will show you why he is the best-selling solo artist in the history of recorded music.