ELVIS IS STILL ACTIVE IN NORWAY

Follow That Dream is an exclusive Elvis specialty label run out of Denmark by BMG. To date there are almost a dozen and a half releases. Here is a review of Elvis New Year's Eve by Norwegian fan Oven Egeland who runs the fan site Elvis Is Still Active In Norway [http://home.online.no/~ov-egela/indexep.html] FTD releases are all officially approved releases but extremely limited.




ELVIS PRESLEY
THE IMPOSSIBLE DREAM - BMG 82876 59845 2
[FTD]

by Oven Egeland

1: Also Sprach Zarathustra (January 26 OS)
 2: That's All Right (January 26 OS)
 3: You Don't Have To Say You Love Me
 4: Love Me Tender
 5: Sweet Caroline
 6: You've Lost That Loving Feeling
7: Polk Salad Annie
 8: Introductions
 9: Johnny B. Goode (January 26 OS)
10: Introductions
11: Something
12: Release Me
13: Love Me
14: Blue Suede Shoes
15: Hound Dog
16: It's Now Or Never
17: Suspicious Minds
18: The Impossible Dream
19: Mystery Train/Tiger Man (January 28 MS)
20: There Goes My Everything (January 28 MS)
21: Make The World Go Away (January 28 MS)
22: Love Me (January 28 MS)
23: Only Believe (January 28 MS)
24: How Great Thou Art (January 28 MS)
25: Snowbird (January 29 DS)
26: Can't Help Falling In Love (January 26 Opening show)

Many Elvis fans have been asking for a pre-1974 soundboard recording for quite some time. FTD obliges giving us a complete concert (almost) from January 28, 1971, adding several bonus tracks from other concerts at the same time. During the years we have had three different bootleg releases covering this era. Fortunately FTD focuses on a concert not already available on either All Things Are Possible, Lean, Mean And Kickin' Butt or Snowbird.

This is certainly not my favorite Elvis; he sounds too uninspired and bored thus fooling around and adlibbing too much for my liking. That said The Impossible Dream is a good release. First of all, the sound quality is much better than I had even hoped for. It is clearer than other bootlegs, but lacks the punch found on All Things Are Possible. Still, it is obvious that the tape FTD used is of better quality than what the bootleggers had to work from.

That's All Right' is said to be from the opening show on January 26. It is the same version as the one found on All Things Are Possible, though that is said to be from the midnight show the day after. Elvis open the song with wrong lyrics, but does so at the same time as a solid feedback "hits him".

Elvis gives a "full" presentation of 'Love Me Tender', "...my first movie song that I made in 1956." It's a decent version with less fooling around, at least compared to August 1970. That said Elvis focused more on the girls in the audience than he does the song.

FALSE STARTS

Sweet Caroline' is chosen by Elvis even though Charlie Hodge screams out 'There Goes My Everything'. Elvis stops after only a few seconds seemingly without any reason. "This is the way we do things up here," he says before apologizing to James Burton. What follows is an everyday performance. Just "halfway" in 'You've Lost That Loving Feeling' Elvis announces that he wants to end the song, and then wraps it up after less than 3 minutes.

By now Elvis has raised the tempo on 'Polk Salad Annie' significantly and skipped the talking introduction. A bit later he would literally turbo-charge the same song.

'Johnny B. Goode' comes from the opening night on January 26. You can hear that it is taken from another show as the sound has slightly more zest to it. 'Johnny B. Goode' is a rocking version, indeed! 'Something', on the other hand, gives Elvis a good reason to present Kathy Westmoreland as the girl "...with the beautiful high voice". He then suggests 'I Can't Stop Loving You', but choses 'Release Me' instead. Glen Hardin manages to follow him on the piano intro. 'Release Me' is a lazy performance with lots of lyrics change, most likely all with intention. "...to live together is a sin..." is most interesting.

Instead of finishing 'Love Me', Elvis simply starts it a couple of times and then just stops, commanding 'Blue Suede Shoes' as a replacement. A whole lot-ta fun?! What follows in this "oldies" segment of the show is a nice version of 'It's Now Or Never'. Elvis is almost 100 per cent focused, though certainly there are some lyric changes. 'Suspicious Minds' has lost most of its charm already (to listen to, anyway), but it lasts four long minutes. Elvis ends the show with 'The Impossible Dream'. These 1971 versions are a lot slower then those performed in 1972. Personally I like the version from February 1972 best.

BONUS

Under the heading "Extra songs", we get eight bonus tracks. Every one of them already available on different bootlegs. However FTD's source is slightly better than what DAE had to create All Things Are Possible from and way better than what label 2001 used for their Snowbird. I especially like the inclusion of 'Love Me'. Although 'Love Me' in general is not labeled "BONUS", the version found here is really splendid! It was not everyday Elvis treated this goodie with the respect it deserved. Almost disrespectful, however is Elvis' presentation of 'How Great Thou Art'. This is the first time Elvis sings a genuine Gospel tune in Las Vegas, and perhaps he felt a bit uncomfortable doing it? Anyway, the fooling around (almost) ruins the song. I would easily have excluded this version from the bonus segment.

'Mystery Train/Tiger Man' is also the same version as found on All Things Are Impossible. The difference in sound between this song and 'There Goes My Everything' (from January 27 MS) suggests that FTD - and not DAE - is correct when FTD says that it comes from the opening night show (together with 'That's All Right').

To end the CD with 'Can't Help Falling In Love' is certainly a strange thing to do... yes almost without proper respect! Elvis chosed to end his shows with 'The Impossible Dream' during this season. The only reason he sang 'Can't Help Falling In Love' was because Hal Wallis* was in the audience on the opening show. It is performed quite early in the show, and has nothing to do with closing a show at all. I cannot understand why FTD even included this song. It is only a fair version, and there are lots of tape errors during it. And without Elvis' presentation of why he sings the song, 'Can't Help Falling In Love' is really misplaced as the last song on a CD exclusively containing Elvis from Las Vegas, January 1971! Bummer!

All that said, I find this to be one of the better soundboard releases from FTD. The CD is released in a nice digi-pack; again FTD scores on the artwork!

Note: * Hal Wallis produced the movie Blue Hawaii (among others).

© Oven Egeland, April 2004



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Click on the button for more reviews of Elvis releases:

Recorded live on stage in Memphis
Elvis at the movies
Takin' Tahoe Tonight
Greensboro, April 14, 1972
Elvis in '74
It Happened At The World's Fair
Girl Happy
Fun In Acapulco
New Year's Eve
At The International
The Nashville Marathon