On Stage [Legacy Edition]

by: Elvis Presley

Elvis may have made his comeback in 1968, but 1969 is when he truly became a working performer again, heralded by a two-month stint at the International Hotel in Las Vegas. This July and August stand was so successful he returned for another two months at the beginning of 1970. Both of these runs of shows were recorded, with selections from 1969 appearing as an LP in the double-LP set From Memphis to Vegas/From Vegas to Memphis, (and also issued by itself as Elvis in Person: At the International Hotel, Las Vegas), with the 1970 show providing the core of the ’70 album On Stage. That is the title Legacy uses for its 2010 expanded double-CD Legacy Edition of this material, trumping the previous expanded 1999 disc by many bonus tracks. All of the material on both From Memphis to Vegas/From Vegas to Memphis and On Stage is present, along with assorted tracks scattered on releases over the years, such as Follow That Dream’ s "In Person," and Collectors Gold, along with a complete rehearsal of “The Wonder of You” that was originally released as an excerpt on Platinum: A Life in Music. All this means, that the Legacy Edition of On Stage is a welcome way of sorting through a mess of released tracks over the years and, when they’re all placed together in an attractive package like this, it offers a convincing argument that Elvis’ comeback continued strong into 1970. While these performances aren’t as loose and sexy as those from 1968 -- either those on the justly celebrated television special or the recordings from that year -- Presley is still singing with passion, nicely balancing the splashy arrangement, designed to be bigger and better for the Vegas stage. Within those arrangements lay the seeds of the cartoonish Elvis of the ‘70s, but he’s not heard here: Presley is still revitalized with the thrill of performing and that energy remains evident on On Stage, one of his best live sets. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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