Like many other Elvis fans, I headed to my local multiplex theater Thursday night to take in the “One Night Event” showing of the new and improved Elvis On Tour. My ticket cost $13.50, but I got my money’s worth. It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Other websites have done a fine job giving deep incisive reviews of the movie, so I would just like to relate some random thoughts that popped into my mind while watching Elvis on Tour.
The Theater was Filled: I didn’t know if our little city of 55,000 people contained enough Elvis fans to fill the theater. I was even fearful that I would be watching the movie with just a handful of other people. Wrong. The place was packed. It will be interesting to learn if that was the case at all 460 theaters across the country.
Priscilla Looked Better: Priscilla had a part in the preliminary part of the movie, and she looked pretty good. Way better than that plastic-looking face she had on Dancing With The Stars three years ago. I guess the bad Botox, or whatever was the problem, has now dissipated.
Elvis Wore Some of His Best Jumpsuits: The film covered 15 concerts in April 1972, and we must have seen six or seven jumpsuits. They were all great and several of them had capes. I’m going to do a little research and someday do an ElvisBlog pictorial essay of the Elvis on Tour jumpsuits
Burning Love Jumpsuit (AKA Red Matador) from Elvis On Tour
The Sound Was Awesome: I don’t know what kind of sound systems they have in modern movie theaters, but they certainly do a great job on a concert documentary like this. Watching the new Elvis on Tour DVD on my TV will be good, but I’m spoiled after hearing it in the theater.
Lawdy Miss Clawdy: The best audience reactions occurred during the rousing finishes of powerful ballads like “American Trilogy.” However, it was the beginning of one rocking song that got a lot of stirring in the audience: “Lawdy Miss Clawdy.” The infectious piano pounding by Glen D. Hardin had everybody tapping their toes. I hummed that song in the car as I drove home from the movie, and it was still in my head the next day. I just had to listen to it again, and the first version I came to was from the pit session of the ’68 Comeback Special. No piano on this one, but it was still great.
Charlie Hodge Finishing Songs: When Elvis reaches the end of certain songs while wearing a cape, he grabs the corners in each hand and spreads the cape out behind him. So, the mic is some distance from his mouth, but the singing continues loud and clear. How could this be? It is Charlie Hodge, off to Elvis left, belting out the last notes. In addition to giving Elvis his scarves and water, Charlie sang harmony on many songs. When necessary, he could fill in very nicely for Elvis.
Trumpets Were Good on American Trilogy: I generally prefer my Elvis music without full orchestration, especially blaring trumpets. However, I really loved the trumpets in “American Trilogy.” They contributed to the most powerful and moving part of the show. I suspect it must have made the hair stand up on the back of your neck to actually hear Elvis sing “American Trilogy” in concert.
Really Liked the Extra Introductory Material: The original movie was 93 minutes, but now it is a full two hours. The extra “making of” feature to start the show was outstanding. Not only did you learn a lot, it enabled you to appreciate many things you would see later in the original footage.
John Wilkinson on Rhythm Guitar: Because he is in such a serious medical condition right now, it was nice to see a big strong John Wilkinson in this film. He is also in Aloha from Hawaii and That’s The Way It Is, which reminds us that he was an important part of the TCB band. It makes me wonder how the band compensates for having no rhythm guitar player in modern day appearances. Seems like part of the music would be missing.
Wish Somebody had Thought to do Something Like This in 1957: In the middle of the movie, there was a flashback feature about Elvis in the 50s, edited by a young Martin Scorsese. This included one full song from the Ed Sullivan Show – “Ready Teddy.” (Note: It showed Elvis doing the great early gyrations. Not all of Elvis’ appearances on Sullivan were filmed from the waist up, a fact many lazy writers get wrong.) The clip showed just Elvis and the band — Scotty, Bill, and DJ. It’s a shame no enterprising film crew followed them around in those days to put together a similar documentary.
Audience Clapped at End: When the movie ended, our audience started clapping. It was a great feeling to be part of that spontaneous response. The multiplex had nothing else playing in that theater after Elvis on Tour. They should have just shown it again, and I’ll bet most of us would have stayed for a second look. I would have.
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