''ELVIS: An Afternoon In The Garden'

VS

'ELVIS: As Recorded At Madison Square Garden'

An in depth look at June 10th 1972.

- Spotlight/Review by Daniel Massey -

"I’m sure Elvis never sang better than he did at Madison Square Garden... he turned on the power, and powerful it was."—Glen D. Hardin

"Once in a great while, a special champion comes along... Friday night at Madison Square Garden, Elvis was like that."—New York Times Review, 18 June, 1972

- Now UPDATED with YOUR feedback - See below -

Introduction
Madison Square Garden— June 9th-11th, 1972. Some would consider it the biggest venue Elvis had performed in up to this date; not in terms of capacity, but in terms of his shaky background in the Big Apple. The fact that he had not been well received in New York in his early years made this an even more momentous occasion, as he went out to show his fans and New York, what he had become. But there was still that worry eating away at him; what if he wasn’t welcomed like he was in the rest of America? What if New York just didn’t care?

Naturally, these worries were unfounded and the concerts turned out to be extremely successful. Elvis became the first person to sell out four consecutive shows at MSG. This was an accolade other artists at the time could only dream of achieving. 80,000 tickets were sold and $730,000 made.

The New York Times produced no fewer than three features on Elvis and all were filled with praise for the man who had stunned the audience with his exceptional voice and his ability to put on a show. Chris Chase of The New York Times said of Elvis;

"a special champion comes along, a Joe Louis, a Jose Capablanca, a Joe DiMaggio, someone in whose hands the way a thing is done becomes more important than the thing itself. When DiMaggio hit a baseball, his grace made the act look easy and inevitable... Friday Night at Madison Square Garden, Elvis was like that. He stood there at the end, his arms stretched out, the great gold cloak giving him wings, a champion, the only one in his class." #1

The LP featured in this review, ‘Elvis as Recorded at Madison Square Garden’ was in stores in only 8 days in an attempt to not only beat the bootleggers, but to capitalise on the success of the live concerts. To save time the artwork was borrowed from a previously planned spin-off album from Elvis on Tour, which has since been released as ‘Standing Room Only’, by the FTD label.

It became a best selling LP, going 3X Platinum in the US; but does it match up to today’s standards in terms of sound quality?

While both concerts were recorded by RCA on multi-track on the same day, the way they have been mixed and mastered gives a very different experience when listening to these great shows.

The levels of the audience, the openness of the stereo, the level of the orchestra and the band in the mix, as well as the placement of Elvis’ vocal all combine in various ways to create a different feeling to the performances.


We mustn’t forget that one is an Afternoon show and one is an Evening show.

Comparing the original evening release with that of the afternoon show finally released by RCA in 1997, will give an insight into how much care was actually taken over the vinyl LP, if any.

'Elvis: An Afternoon In The Garden' was released in 1997 and Mixed and Mastered by Dennis Ferrante (who also engineered the 70's Elvis box-set 'Walk A Mile In My Shoes')

'Elvis: As Recorded At Madison Square Garden' was released in 1972 and originally engineered by Al Pachucki.
It was released on CD in 1991 Mastered by Dick Baxter (who also engineered both the 50's and 60's Elvis box-sets)

The CDs – The Inserts
The inserts to both CDs are more than underwhelming. There is not a lot of information here that we didn’t already know. The main piece in ‘An Afternoon in the Garden’ focuses on the press conference and the build up to the concerts. It doesn’t really give much of an insight as to what actually went into making the concert what it was. Instead, it focuses on the background surrounding the infamous New York concerts and decides to forego the now standard tidbits of information the modern day Elvis fan is dying to hear.

 

The CDs – A track by track analysis
This track by track analysis of both CD’s tries to review not only Elvis’ performance in these concerts, but also the quality of the master, and how it affects the listening experience.

‘An Afternoon in the Garden’ is noted in black and ‘As Recorded at Madison Square Garden’ the evening performance is noted in blue.

Also Sprach Zarathustra

The screams and cheers are already deafening through the opening as the audience waits in anticipation. Despite it only being on a CD I can’t help getting that tinge of excitement as as I, along with the crowd, await the arrival of Elvis.

The CD jumps right into the opening, foregoing the rumbling of the crowd settling down, which ‘An Afternoon in the Garden’ includes. It seems faster than the opening performed 6 hours previous, but it doesn’t really affect the excitement factor.

That’s All Right

The arena erupts which signals to the listener that Elvis has just appeared on stage. He kicks off into a fast version of That’s All Right and his voice booms in the headphones. It sounds strong but there are hints of nervousness in the undertones; noticeable in the opening lines and throughout. This is quickly quashed as he gains composure and gets used to the audience that shunned him over a decade earlier. The digital remastering is already clear to hear. The clarity is quite unbelievable.

The difference between this CD and the other is already noticeable as the whole track sounds like its muffled and Elvis is well overshadowed by the band and the undeniable compression in the track. He sings this very fast but doesn’t really show the nervousness he did in the afternoon.

Proud Mary

The drumming from Ronnie Tutt compares to nothing I’ve ever heard before. Everything works in harmony on this track as Elvis smoothes the gap between verse and chorus (00.48) "till I hitched a ride on a riverboat queen." This is the version I always try and emulate regardless of the version I’m singing along to. It’s pure genius. You can hear Elvis "ho!" off microphone as he reacts to the music and directs the band. An excellent piece of bass can be heard to echo throughout the arena (01.11). Another interesting bit of this track is apparent, if you can force yourself to block out all other instruments and concentrate on the brass section of the orchestra. It’s something I’d never noticed before scrutinising this CD for a review.

J.D can hardly be heard but it is good hearing The Stamps in my right ear and Elvis in my left. Harmony is quashed because of this bad mix and. It is hard to make out the separate instruments and as they go up half a step and they get louder, the track becomes more muffled. It is a good effort by Elvis in terms of the song - but the afternoon version is tons better.

Never Been To Spain

Elvis’ voice is lazy at the start of the track, so much so that he almost isn’t pronouncing his words properly. As he deviates from what the song demands in terms of the natural vocals, gliding into the next verse with a bass vocal, you know he is on form this afternoon in June; "Well I never been to England." Even Elvis knows it’s a magical piece of vocal work as he shouts "yeah, ho!" off microphone. It should send shivers down any Elvis fan’s spines and rightfully so. The harmony in the second verse is near perfect and the digital remastering makes it sound even more velvety. No bit of the band or orchestra are left out of this track and every section can be heard on the CD. James Burton does a brilliant solo as per usual and his guitar is exemplified throughout the track.

The bass in this evening version of the track is very pronounced compared to the rest of the instruments it seems to be driving the song as opposed to the afternoon version. I can actually hear the piano in this version though. The louder Elvis gets the quieter he gets if that makes sense. It is a really bad mix and the guitar stays at a steady volume. James Burton’s solo surpasses the one he did in the afternoon for me. Elvis tries to reach a note at a struggle and his voice goes a bit. Credit for trying to go there but it didn’t happen.

You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me

This track is done at such speed I thought it sounded digitally sped up. The crowd can be heard a little too much for my liking. The highly understated Kathy Westmoreland adds a beautiful dimension to the second verse but she is not as loud as she should be.

This sounds slower than the afternoon version. Violins are a lot more pronounced. It is clear by this point that no work has been done to separate Elvis’ voice from the rest of the band. But the high voice is well pronounced as are the backing vocals.

Until It’s Time For You To Go

(Afternoon only) The crowd can be heard a lot in this song; so much so that it distracts from the actual track. The backing vocals must have been turned down quite a bit in this master as they can barely be heard, but you know they are there. This is a great shame as I think the backing vocals sound amazing when they can be heard. The high voice of Kathy Westmoreland is louder this time but does not pierce the ears; in fact, it accompanies the track well.

You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling

The bass in this track booms throughout my headphones and is well pronounced throughout the track, not just the beginning—the whole bass of the track, including that of the brass section seems to have been turned on. The backing singers can also be heard a lot more which is a bonus. Elvis seems to take this song seriously until caught off guard by a loud symbol clash which makes him laugh. He quickly regains composure and goes back to the serious nature of the song. Elvis is almost overshadowed in this track but thankfully he is just heard enough to make it right. The drum-roll at the end which resonates from one ear to another because of the stereo is immense and just shows the effort that went into remastering the track.

Bass is booming a lot more than it did on the other version - Elvis almost seems like he’s trying to shout over his own band, which obviously he isn’t; but that’s what the mix makes it sound like. Having the Sweet Inspirations singing in my right ear sounds amazing. It is a good version but Elvis doesn’t seem to be taking as seriously as he did in the afternoon.

Polk Salad Annie

My all time favourite version of my all time favourite track. At the start a guy can be heard in the audience shouting "do it, do it!" And boy does he do it. The bass sounds amazing and when it comes to the solo it sounds even better. This has to be Jerry Scheff’s best ever bass solo. James Burton only adds to this and in no way takes the spotlight from Jerry as he well could have in a bad master of the track. You feel like you’ve entered another dimension when the bass bends at the end of the song. It’s a shame Elvis seems to forget the words in the second verse but this is the only downside to the best version of Polk Salad Annie ever performed.

Elvis starts earlier than I think he’s going to. His voice isn’t buried in this track though. I couldn’t really hear The Sweet Inspirations before but I can hear them here. Jerry’s bass solo leaves something to be desired here after the spectacular performance just 6 hours previous that blew me away. The end of the song really allows you to imagine he’s punching the air due to the forcefulness of the drums. Because of the bad master, the bass loses the mind bending effect it had in the afternoon. It loses the effect it is supposed to have.

Love Me

J.D Sumner is given good sound on this track but the rest of the backing has obviously been an afterthought, barring their actual lines. They are too subtle in this track for me.

Backing vocals are again, a lot more pronounced as they are split into a different channel. The bits I was looking for before are present on this CD. Makes me think if it was remastered we would lose this beauty from the track. Elvis seems bored throughout this song.

All Shook Up

A 59 second version of this song is handled very well with the backing vocals blending into Elvis’ voice perfectly. This is also my favourite version of this song. The fact that I have two favourites in this one CD shows how good the concert was.

Tonight's is just the same as the afternoon apart from the fact it is possibly even faster.

 

Heartbreak Hotel

By this point, Elvis seems tired of doing the classics and to me, expresses a desire of getting them out of the way. I say this because he tries to change the track as much as possible, seemingly to entertain himself. Nevertheless, James Burton does another great solo and with the Sweet Inspirations heard clearly and sounding crisp, there isn’t a lot to dislike about this track. However, it is in no way anywhere near the best version out there.

The mix of this song is possibly the best mix on the CD. Everything is right. It still sounds muffled but despite this, everything can be heard extremely clearly because of the way the instruments are split in the speakers. The piano in my left ear, the Sweet Inspirations in my right with the other instruments seemingly using both sides.

Teddy Bear / Don’t Be Cruel

Hear those backing vocals? Why couldn’t we hear them to this level in Love Me? Your guess is as good as mine. It perfectly accompanies the track and shows why Elvis hired The Stamps in the first place. You can tell Elvis was taking New York seriously as he didn’t use the "kick your ***" line.

Nothing special here. The instruments sound too loud next to Elvis’ voice and there isn’t really enough echo to make it sound like it’s in an arena.

Love Me Tender

All the golden oldies are given about a minute each, showing again that Elvis didn’t care much for them even in New York. It is a good mix on Love Me Tender but the crowd is too loud again. You can hear J.D provide some low bass if you listen carefully.

It had a bit of a shoddy ending really, like no-one knew it was coming. That is all I have to say about the evening version.

The impossible Dream

(Evening Only) What can I say? Go and listen to it now. It is a ridiculously good version of this song. I can’t really argue with the mix on it either. Apart from the insufferable muffle that accompanies every track on this CD, the instruments, backing vocals and Elvis’ voice are all balanced perfectly. It’s like Elvis had been saving himself for this song he didn’t have time to perform in the afternoon and really wanted to give the fans something special after busting out a bunch of golden oldies. He even surprised himself at the end notes he managed and the reaction he got from the audience furthered this emotion."Good God" is his remark after the climax of the song.

It is quite unbelievable that after using this as his closing song throughout 1971, and giving such a stellar performance here, that he would only perform it twice in 1972, and never perform it again in his career.

Blue Suede Shoes

(Afternoon only) Not much to say apart from there being too much going on in terms of instruments and Elvis’ voice is buried.

Reconsider Baby

(Afternoon only) Elvis seems to put a lot of soul into this song as the number of instruments is kept to a minimum and the piano is brought forward into the mix. I thought to myself that if this is what I could have been hearing in the other tracks; why not turn the piano up in those as well? I think they missed a trick there. He seems to enjoy the track a lot and gives it a good three minutes.

Performing this less than 10 times in his whole career, this would be the only time Elvis would sing it at Madison Square Garden. He would return to it two days later at Fort Wayne.

Hound Dog

He plays with the crowd; "You don’t know what I’m gonna do yet", whipping them into a frenzy before jumping into a slow version of Hound Dog to tease the screaming fans. There is a lot of echo on Elvis’ voice on this track and only this track, that is not there on any others.

More playing with the crowd as he basically repeats his routine from the afternoon. The only reason it sounds worse is because of the muffle and the fact that his voice seems really quiet again. No echo on the track like the treatment the afternoon version was given.

I’ll Remember You

(Afternoon only) The bass and piano play a big part in this track’s opening but the latter gets lost in the mix somewhat—overshadowed by the orchestra. Again the backing vocals aren’t as loud as I’d like (you can hear them as the instruments cool down, but only then). There is no messing about on this track by Elvis and he makes a great effort to get every part right. This compares to the version done in Hawaii for me, in terms of quality.

This only was the second time Elvis had sung this song in concert. His first performance of the Kui Lee classic was 6 months previous, at the opening show in Las Vegas, January 1972.

Suspicious Minds

It sounds like he is in a different venue on this track as something seems different with the mix and everything seems to have a little more echo. This widens the track and allows for the influx of all the extra instruments without causing a din. Everything has breathing space and despite Elvis voice being a little quiet compared to the instruments at times, this is a good mix.

In the evening performance Elvis doesn’t seem too bothered about this track in the opening moments, singing in a jovial manner, but eventually gets into the song. It’s interesting to see that again, they have placed a lot more emphasis on the backing vocals than the instruments in this mix. Again, it lacks the echo of the afternoon track but in my opinion, is better nonetheless. I think it sounds less messy than the version performed 6 hours before, where every instrument seemed to be competing against the other. The drums towards the end are given emphasis and it gives the song an extra kick.

For The Good Times

The harmonies here aren’t strong enough for me. Whether this is because of the way it has been remastered or the way it was on the day I don’t know but I’d amplify it if I was given the chance. The backing vocals on the other hand serve as a nice accompaniment. It is good to hear the piano back in the mix after being lost in the last track. You do have to listen hard for it though. On this song there is a real difference and the Afternoon mix stands out in a big way.

However in the evening the bass is really pronounced, almost too much, as it distracted me from the singing. The backing vocals sound a lot better coming out of just one speaker (the right) rather than both, as it makes them more noticeable. The harmonies on the other hand, are near enough completely lost, and I nearly deafened myself trying to listen for them.
As for Elvis, if it wasn’t for the mix I don’t think the average fan would be able to tell the difference, the performances are pretty much identical.

 

An American Trilogy

Elvis tries his hardest to give meaning to this song and make it emotional, but it is marred by a crowd that reacts like he is doing Hound Dog. I can’t moan about the mix here though; it is excellent and clear and Elvis’ voice is strong. He does come in early on the second part of the song which ruins the bass. It is quickly recovered by a fast thinking band but it has always annoyed me. It is a good version of a timeless classic with the exception of the blooper by Elvis.

Elvis is cheekier in this version as he responds to the crowd with a shrill but humorous "What?" to laughs from his band. This again is a good mix which allows every instrument to work without being overshadowed by any others.

Funny How Time Slips Away

This is almost identical to the version from the Greensboro concert of April 14th 1972. He shows off the capabilities of his voice in this song by switching octaves near the end of the song with a great success (would you expect anything less?)

Again this is another good performance by Elvis that I can’t fault. He adds to the song and when he has the "conversation" with the guitar at the end it is not too silly; he does not snore or make a comment. It is definitely a better version than the one performed in the afternoon.

I Can’t Stop Loving You

Elvis puts a lot of effort into this song and has a lot of fun with it. The mix is fairly good with his voice booming over the loud orchestra and band that stand behind him.

It is another all round powerful performance from Elvis as he really seems to take this song seriously. He repeats the ending so as to get it right for the audience. This is just a glimpse into the efforts Elvis would go to, to give the best and only the best to his audience.

Can’t Help Falling In Love

The highlight here is hearing him give a scarf to a little girl. The mix of the song is absolutely perfect after ups and downs throughout the CD. The backing singers make him seem bigger than God and the band does not overshadow him as is the case in some of the earlier tracks. It truly is a great end to a fantastic afternoon concert.

Off the back of a powerful performance he seems to rush into the ending with no goodbyes or anything similar. The mix is good with the piano that is so often buried in this song coming through clearly in the left channel and the bass helps to drive the song. The orchestra and the backing vocalists work in harmony together to create a masterful ending to an above average concert.

 

The Footage

I figured it would be unfair to just rate these concerts on the audio aspect. So I decided to take a look at all the footage I could find of Madison Square Garden to see if anything from either would change my perception of which concert truly was the best on June 10th 1972.

The Afternoon Show
Elvis comes out with a grin but like the CD, looks nervous. He flips his guitar round in the instrumental That’s All Right, still pretending to play. This shows his jokey mood. He then throws his guitar to Charlie Hodge.

He seems to enjoy Proud Mary utilising slow hip movements. He isn’t vicious when he pumps the air but rather subtle, directing the music where it needs to go.

Polk Salad Annie is given the usual violent treatment by Elvis’ body and he even does a 180 degree spin, showing how much he enjoys performing the song. He truly goes for it at the end of the song, so much so that his scarf falls off when he jumps as the bass bends.



We see that Elvis is actually bent over for the start of Hound Dog when he is teasing the fans and pretends his arm slipped off his knee. It is very humorous yet easy to miss.

 

Elvis seems very serious in his demeanour when performing Suspicious Minds. We see that the screams heard on the CD are elicited by him punching the air like he is whipping something. The crowd is treated to a karate display at the end!

As an Elvis fan, you can’t beat moments like that! We see the end of Can’t Help Falling In Love and the gold cape makes him stand out as his blue suit juxtaposes the golden background he has created for himself.

This footage accompanies the CD perfectly, showing that Elvis acted as we heard him. He was energetic and enjoying the experience as was the crowd. It is easy to see why they screamed so much for the man they loved with not a movement wasted. Does the footage fromt he evening show tell a different story?

The Evening Show
Elvis comes out on stage with a big grin on his face looking rather tanned, taking up his famous stance at the microphone and shaking his leg. When he plays the guitar in the instrumental of That’s All Right, it is clearly just for the benefit of those with flash photography.

Elvis wears his cape for the first half of the concert which was not uncommon for when he first started wearing them. It makes him look more superhuman as he punches the air during Proud Mary, controlling the music and the crowd with every move.

He has his back to the audience for the start of You’ve Lost That loving Feeling and his cape glistens in the light which matches the softness of the bass. He turns dramatically as the chorus begins and co-ordinates his body movements to the music. He shows off his karate but it is lackadaisical and not done with the intensity he showed in Proud Mary.

Elvis looks like a viper waiting to strike throughout Polk Salad Annie but stands motionless as Jerry does his bass solo so as not to take away his spotlight. He ends the song violently and jumps up as the bass bends, before finishing the song with a punch to the air.

On the copy I have, Elvis’ suit gives off an eerie glow as if he truly was something from out of this world.

The Impossible Dream results in clenched fists from effort and he scratches his head after the song has finished, demonstrating his famous shy nature; humbled by the reaction of the crowd.

He has a lot of fun with Suspicious Minds, using the full length of the stage and getting his finger caught in his belt. He throws his scarf away before erupting with the music into a flurry of arm movements, almost blending into one white mass on the screen. I’m pretty sure his belt needs tightening by this point. No karate but a good version nonetheless.

Facial expressions show sincerity when singing Can’t Help Falling In Love. He ends the song and walks to each side of the stage cape extended allowing people to get a memorable snapshot of the King at Madison Square Garden. He really does look larger than life before he runs to exit the arena.

This just puts the concert into a whole new perspective. Although he sounds on the CD like he lacks the spirit and the enthusiasm he displays in the afternoon, the video footage suggests something entirely different. It shows that although nervous to begin with, he actually was in good spirits and enjoyed himself on stage. Is it the bad mix that is giving the fans the wrong impression?

 

Conclusion

When I was asked to review and compare these concerts for an article, I assumed it would be extremely easy to pick a winner. ‘An Afternoon in the Garden’ has been one of my favourite Elvis concerts for as long as I can remember. Having the opportunity to return to the CD’s and listen to them not as a fan, but as a reviewer, allowed me to see the performances in New York in a different light.

Taking into account Elvis’ attitude, some would argue that his seemingly blasé approach to the evening concert was down to the fact that the New York audience, like the rest of the USA, was now easily conquered by the King of Rock and Roll; and the worry of failing had disappeared.

I found that I actually preferred some of the mixes from the evening show compare to those of the afternoon show. I have always been a big fan of backing vocalists, so to be able to hear them clearly is a must for me and it is something that ‘An Afternoon in the Garden’ just doesn’t deliver. It seems to bury the backing singers that support Elvis in favour of having Elvis boom over everything. I think this is a shame because it means we can’t hear the guys who Elvis loved to listen to; hence why he chose them to join his band.

Another thing I preferred about the ‘As Recorded at Madison Square Garden’ mix is the fact that the piano and the bass are pretty much the main part of most of the songs. I feel that some of this was lost in the mix of ‘An Afternoon in the Garden’; the producers choosing to focus more on the orchestral side and trying to blend the sounds almost into one, rather than letting each instrument speak for itself.

Nevertheless, one cannot ignore the unbearable muffle that is found on ‘As Recorded at Madison Square Garden’. It is unacceptable and can likely be put down to the rushed production mentioned in the introduction of this article. It is also clear that in between the tracks, the crowd’s reaction has been cut and it is rather noticeable on more than one occasion. This is proof that it is not the full concert and it was cut to fit it all onto one LP.

Having listened to the mix on the recently released 'Elvis Presley Complete Masters Collection' (EIN review here), I can safely say the muffle has gone and it’s like listening to a whole new concert. I didn’t include this as the set was limited to 1000 copies and the majority of people will not possess it. However, if you get a chance to listen to it, I suggest you do.

As for the concert being sped up I cannot say. If it has been it is only minor and is unnoticeable to me. The only evidence we have of this is the fact that Ronnie Tutt mentioned it in the BBC documentary Elvis in Vegas.

You can find it here in this YouTube clip

Overall Verdict: After deliberating for a long while as to which concert is best, I still believe it is the afternoon performance. Taking into consideration the footage and the CD’s, Elvis just seems more into his music and getting everything right. While he looks less energetic in the footage, he is using energy he could be moving with to do the best he can on the songs vocally.

The bass solo by Jerry Scheff is definitely a big factor in the show as are the extra songs he sings such as Reconsider Baby. However let’s take nothing away from the evening show. A powerful performance of The Impossible Dream and You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me make this concert shine above many others but not the afternoon show.

 

SO do you agree? Do you think the evening show is better?

Let us know - .CLICK HERE and send EIN Your Comment - which we will post below.

All pictures courtesy of www.msg1972.com a font of knowledge about Elvis at MSG.

 

Spotlight/ Review by Daniel Massey.
-Copyright EIN MAY 2011 - DO NOT COPY.
EIN Website content © Copyright the Elvis Information Network.

Click here to comment on this review


June 10, 1972  - 2.30 pm
Elvis Presley: Blue Leaf Suit / Silver Cap

Tracklist
Also Sprach Zarathustra
That's All Right Mama
Proud Mary
Never Been To Spain
You Don't Have To Say You Love Me
Until It's Time For You To Go
You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling
Polk Salad Annie
Love Me
All Shook Up
Heartbreak Hotel
Teddy Bear - Don't Be Cruel
Love Me Tender
Blue Suede Shoes
Reconsider Baby
Hound Dog
I'll Remember You
Suspicious Minds
Introductions
For The Good Times
An American Trilogy
Funny How Time Slips
I Can't Stop Loving You
Can't Help Falling In Love

June 10 1972  - 8:30 pm
Elvis Presley: Porthole suit / Lion Head belt /Red Cape

Tracklist
Also Sprach Zarathustra
That's All Right
Proud Mary
Never Been To Spain
You Don't Have To Say You Love Me
You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling
Polk Salad Annie
Love Me
All Shook Up
Heartbreak Hotel
Teddy Bear - Don't Be Cruel
Love Me Tender
The Impossible Dream
Band Introductions
Hound Dog
Suspicious Minds
For The Good Times
An American Trilogy
Funny How Time Slips
I Can't Stop Loving You
Can't Help Falling In Love
End Theme


 

YOUR COMMENTS

From: "W Lovallo"
Nah. Evening show was better. I'm biased because I was there. June 10, 1972. Amazing evening. NYC crowd sat with breathless anticipation. The videos and recording hardly do justice to  just how charasmatic Elvis was that evening. the crowd was on the edge of their seats the whole night and while cliche', electicity was in the air.  Best memory,  I was crouched down in an aisle trying to avoid security to take a few quick photos during American Trilogy. Peering  through a telephoto lens concentrating hard on my subject when he shouted "WHAT", I was so startle I fell on my a_ _!
Great reviews. Thx.

From: VivaElvis
To me, the afternoon show is more superior of the two. From the set list to his incredible vocals. Not to mention the rarities like I'll Remember You and the bluesy Reconsider Baby. Whereas the evening concert is a weaker show of the two. Plus, he sounds a little tired and not as energetic as the previous show earlier. Which makes sense as to why he would be after performing two shows in one day. Another reason is the sound quality. The afternoon show is more clear and upfront and the audience is loud. In the evening show, the audio is weak and hollow sounding. The audience sounds distant. The bass mix is too upfront and drowns out Elvis' vocals and the band. A new mix of this show is definitely needed for the best possible listening experience.

From: Rick Croft
The inclusion of Reconsider Baby is a bonus from the arvo show, though Until It's Time for You To Go drags a bit.
Both good shows, hard to pick, though i do like shows where Elvis is more communicative with the audience (within reason)
I think Hound Dog and suspicious Minds are better from the evening show.

From: FECCDixieland Rocks
Picking a favourite would be like asking me which of my two children is my favorite. I love them both equally.

From: GregNolan
It's a nice in-depth analysis but I"m still partial to the Evening show for nostaligic reasons. It's what I heard for many summers and nothing released in 1997 or after (even a 'new' Elvis show) is going to uproot that head-start the ES had in fond memories blasting out of my childhood home since my 9th birthday.
I also recall preferring the original record's bass solo on "Polk Salad Annie" (from the ES) - the exact opposite of what the writer says.

I'd love a Legacy release of both shows but I'm doubtful. It's a fine candidate but it would be mandatory that they give both shows the full audiophile overhaul.
I wonder if the reviewer got them flip-flopped. I always thought it was one of the more modern / rockingest moments of any of his late-period records. On the Afternoon show, I recall thinking that Jerry might have needed another go 'round to match that more involved or intense solo he would later pull off that same night.
Jerry on the afternoon show is still pretty damned good. Crank it up and enjoy Elvis up front, if need be.

The reviewer otherwise makes some keen observations.
I still think something about an ELVIS IN NEW YORK 2-CD Legacy set might have appeal. A case could be made that recent re-charting of 1997's "Afternoon" shows the legs of this Elvis era, even though it's probably the dirt cheap price it's selling for that accounts for its movement.


From: BigRedG
Both shows are "out of this World".
ES is tight, AS is loose,
Gotta love 'em both I think!!

From:SteveLeacher
"The Impossible Dream" from MSG is by far the best version of the song we have on either multi-track or soundboard from Elvis. He absolutely nails this baby.
For this reason that the evening show is the best and that it was picked in 1972 for release. His gruff opening on I Can't Stop Loving You rocks too.
Trilogy is better at the afternoon show, but "The Impossible Dream" made the evening show the one that had to be released.
I'm glad they didn't do it, but if I was in charge in 1972, I would have been tempted to use the afternoon Trilogy in lieu of the evening version and I would have tried to insert Reconsider Baby in there somewhere too.

From: Matthew
And I think a big contributor to the bass solo on "Polk Salad Annie" is that the listener can actually hear the bass solo really well and up front in the mix for the Evening Show performance. I suspect a couple of things here: the mixing engineer was riding the faders when creating the 2-track stereo album mix, and also it wouldn't surprise me if there is a touch of analog compression (the good type) built into the mix as well, helping to bring the bass out.
If you haven't heard the Anesini remaster (Complete Masters) you haven't really experienced this concert on CD.

From: Axe
I love both shows, but for sentimental reasons at least, the evening show gets my vote.
I think they both need remixing. The ES always sounded tinny and flat to me. The AS has too much echo, and the digital delay used at the start of Hound Dog for example sounds so strange to me. I do prefer his voice to be upfront though!
If Legacy does this album, my guess is that they'd do an Aloha release with the MSG ES as disc 2.
FTD should redo both Garden shows, in my opinion... remixed and hopefully not sonically bungled like the Memphis '74 disc.

From: ArmondJoseph
The afternoon concert is the winner. Not to say that the evening show was bad, just that the afternoon show was better. Elvis didn't give a single poor performance in 1972. In my opinion, it was his very best concert year.

From: Don Juan
What a marvelous article, I prefer the Afternoon show and so do people i know, its so professional with great audience appreciation. This is New York after all. Its one of my proudest Elvis moments as a fan.
I know nobody could have doubted Elvis' mass appeal and drawing power but its nice to see it happen and this is one of his very best albums. 

From: Sanja V
An Afternoon in the Garden has always been my favourite of the two – and also one of all time favourite Elvis concert CDS.  I particularly like the very beginning when the audience cheers as Elvis walks on stage – its always gives me goosebumps.
I always thought 'As Recorded Live at Madison Square Garden' seemed a little rushed.
What a great review, very much enjoyed it.

From: Steve B
I love the build up and tension in the 'Afternoon in the Garden' at the start, it is amazing. Possibly the best mix of any intro to a concert released by Elvis.
Reconsider Baby has also got to be a reason why the Afternoon show is the best. Elvis seemed to be conentrating more on the music and not just banging out the hits to his adoring fans.
I wish the other MSG concerts were also released as multitracks.

From:Gerald M
I only saw Elvis in concert once.  It was November 5th, 1971, at the Metropolitan Sports Center in Bloomington, Minnesota.  The MSG evening concert reminds me much more of what I heard then the afternoon show.  First and foremost Elvis' voice was NOT way out front.  Elvis didn't like to have his voice out front.  He always wanted to a part of the group.  Secondly, I don't care for any of the performances that are exclusive to the afternoon show.  Hell, Elvis "throws away"
Reconsider Baby after James Burton's guitar solo.  Lastly,  no Impossible Dream in afternoon show.  None of the afternoon exclusive tracks makes up for that omission.
You can keep the afternoon show. 
There was very little I liked about it back in the day and I haven't changed my opinion.

From: Matthew.C
The original was the first album I ever owned and the one that started this life long Elvis obession so I've always had a soft spot for it in my collection. But surprisingly I think the Afternoon in the Garden performance is a much better... forget all the technical mixing etc - I just think Elvis sang better and with more power when compared to the evening concert where his big notes occasionally sound starined. His endings on Trilogy (the jump during the alleluia's in both choruses are stunning), Can't Stop Loving You and Can't Help Falling in Love are some of his best ever. One note on the mixing in the afternoon show... turn up Hound Dog at the point when he changes the tempo and feel the shivers down the spine at the crowd reaction.

From - Andrew, Apple Valley.
Daniel Massey is compelling in his critique, but he's incorrect on on two counts: Regarding the Afternoon show, at the start of 'Polk Salad Annie', he states that he can hear a male audience member shouting "Do it, do it..!"..It's actually a member of the Sweet Inspirations who's encouraging Elvis to start the song, obviously getting it on themselves.
Secondly, during the Evening performance, at the end of 'The Impossible Dream', Elvis states, as an aside to the band, orchestra and back-up singers, "Good job, thank you" for their ability on what must be one of the best recorded versions of this song ever, rivaling that of his version of 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' from the April tour in Greensboro. Sorry for being pedantic, but things regarding Elvis should be correct.
As for the two MSG concerts, I will only say this: Why they weren't filmed for inclusion in 'Elvis On Tour' (after all, they were there for the press conference), is an historical disgrace.

From: Brian Quinn
'An Afternoon In The Garden' is my favourite officially released 'live' Elvis album. The excitement built up by the 2001 Theme is tremendous. Elvis is in great voice and the backings are powerful.
The originally released Evening Show from MSG is not as exciting and there is obviously something wrong with the speed of the taping which is too fast - even Glen Harding commented on this.
In the circumstances I feel a remastered 40th Anniversary Legacy Edition of both shows would make a great release in 2012 together with an extensive booklet. I have already suggested this to Sony.

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Go here for other relevant EIN ELVIS LIVE reviews

Polk Salad Annie - Feb 1970 - FTD Review

Review of BMG CD, 'Elvis: Live' The Best of

'The Wonder Of You' FTD Review 1970

'IN PERSON’ at The International Hotel' FTD CD review: August 1969 "Classic Album' version

The Impossible Dream FTD review 1971

Review of FTD 'Writing For The King'

'An American Trilogy' - FTD Review 1972

'Summer Festival' - FTD review 1972:

 

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