This release documents Elvis' benefit concert recorded at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, to aid of the USS Arizona Memorial Fund.
Elvis' obvious enjoyment is apparent as he is once again on stage, performing just his 3rd show since 1957. With Elvis unleashed and like a livewire, he spontaneously delivers an extraordinary musical experience, hailed as one of the most thrilling and exciting of any Presley show ever!
Also included for the first time ever, is the 30 minute promotional radio broadcast from before Elvis' arrival.
The CD is accompanied by a 100 page book that contains many rare photographs with extensive and informative liner notes detailing Elvis' arrival and performance
- Reviewed by Piers Beagley
MRS in association with JAT Productions recently released this special package on Elvis' Pearl Harbor charity concert on March 25th 1961 for the USS Arizona Memorial Fund.
It is no doubt one of the greatest Presley concert recordings in existence. It has previously been issued by RCA on the 'Silver box-set' back in 1998 but the quality was pretty low-fi. FTD had been considering releasing it for the 50th anniversary however they tried five audio attempts but still couldn’t get a satisfactory enough audio improvement. This is somewhat of a surprise as audio remastering has improved so much over the past 15 years.
MRS however has used the same engineer (Studio D) who worked on their recent ‘Hayride’ release and now this remastered concert shows a marvellous jump in audio-quality. Of course the recording was pretty basic in the first place - but now the audio sounds much, much richer plus all those old extremely annoying level fluctuations and tape dropouts have been fixed.
Keen fans will remember the bad audio interruption towards the end of ‘A Fool Such As I’ on the Silver-Box release – well now there is no such interruption!
Bob Moore's double-bass can now be heard properly and the audio has been "opened up" so as not to be such a narrow 'mono' which gives it more of the ambience of the concert venue.
Of course Col Parker was an idiot not to properly record this concert for RCA - or only for posterity. By 1960 live concerts were easily recorded for general album release (Ray Charles 'Live At Newport' in 1958 springs to mind!) and The Col and RCA would have been well aware of this.
However this new audio improvement makes this concert a thoroughly more enjoyable listening experience even if not professionally recorded.
Before the concert MRS provides a suitably exciting build-up with Elvis’ arrival at Pearl Habor.. "Look out here it comes, it looks as if it’s ELVIS PRESLEY … Elvis is wearing a very conservative dark suit this morning.." and followed by Elvis’ Honorary Award Presentation.
Once Elvis comes on stage the crowd goes wild, it is as if it is 1956 all over again.
One "Arrghh" from Elvis or flick of his hips and the screams start again. As noted in the book's text.
Since it was a military occasion, it was only natural that a representative of the US Navy enters the stage. It was the former Rear Admiral, Robert Campbell whowas given the honourable job of announcing Elvis; "Our guest of honour tonight is a good American. He has played many roles and one of those roles was a soldier of the US army. His performances are outstanding and it is a great honour to welcome him and present - Elvis Presley!"
Those were probably the last understandable words for many of the people in the audience that evening. The screaming of 4000 fans only allowed communications through sign language.
The cracking band features Boots Randolph, Floyd Cramer on piano, Hank Garland on guitar, Bob Moore on double-bass as well as Elvis’ usual band Scotty Moore & DJ Fontana and The Jordanaires - "The Unwashables" as Elvis calls them.
Kicking off with a powerhouse ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ Elvis performs 15 classics and sings each one as if it were the first time he had ever performed them.
Not forgetting that he had just performed 2 similar concerts back in Memphis the month before so Elvis would have been familiar once again with working-the-crowd and the new set-list.
"It’s a pleasure to be back here in Honolula, We’d like to thank you all for coming out".
‘All Shook Up’ has a wonderful cool swing, Elvis sounds like he is loving singing it, and it has never sounded better.
While we believe the setlists from Memphis were similar, the tracks ‘A Fool Such As I’ "you taught me how to milk a cow", and ‘I Need Your Love Tonight’ were only ever recorded live on stage this once and they are sensational performances.
The concert features Elvis singing a heartfelt 'Are You Lonesome Tonight?' and 'It's Now Or Never' as brand new songs and not as "throwaway" crowd pleasers. Surely these would never be performed better (even if Elvis jokes during the AYLT soliloquy "you seemed to change,, you got fat!"). 'It's Now Or Never' has a delightful delicate feel rather than the usual over-the-top approach of later seventies versions.
For me it is the powerhouse blues 'Reconsider Baby' (one of Elvis’ favourites) that is the standout with an astounding Boots Randolph blowing up a storm. Elvis shouts, "One more time, one more time, one more time" as the crowd shriek in appreciation.
‘One Night’ is similarly a stunner. Interestingly Elvis includes some lines from ‘One Night Of Sin’ .. "Don’t call my name, it makes me feel so ashamed" .. "The things we planned, would make the earth stand still"!
‘Such A Night’ is one of my all-time favourite songs and while this is no doubt the best live version, Elvis still messes up the timing and middle-break although all is forgiven by the rocking ending.
Let’s face it the whole concert is brilliant. Elvis for a change sings a very sincere 'Love Me' (Elvis’ best ever live performance including a lovely Scotty Moore guitar solo) and a stunningly fresh 'That's All Right' (he had pretty well dropped this from his set list since 1956) while 'Swing Down, Sweet Chariot' highlights his recent 'His Hand In Mine' gospel album.
SETLIST - Heartbreak Hotel - All Shook Up - A Fool Such As I - Love Me - Introductions - Such A Night - Reconsider Baby - I Need Your Love Tonight - That's All Right - Don't Be Cruel - One Night - Are You Lonesome Tonight? - It's Now Or Never - Swing Down Sweet Chariot - Hound Dog.
Also included for the first time ever is the interesting 30 minute radio show that was broadcast over 13 radio stations in Hawaii a week before Elvis’ arrival, promoting the concert for the memorial fund. The CD is a packed 79 minutes.
The radio broadcast (paid for by The Colonel!) features some interviews from various Hawaiians involved in the benefit including Admiral Solomons and Honolulu Mayor Neal Blaisdell adding their support and saying nice things about not only Elvis but Colonel Parker as well.
Note that the Honolulu International Centre where Elvis performed the Aloha concert is now the Neal Blaisdell centre!
Worth noting is the slight desperation during the radio broadcast in trying to sell the special $100 tickets that were needed for the serious fund-raising.
Regular tickets were $10 while the $100 tickets in 1960 would be worth a whopping $800 in today’s terms.
The CD is accompanied by a stylish 100-page hardback book (as shown above) that contains many rare photographs from the Tunzi archives as well as photos from seven other collectors.
There are plenty of the photos I had never seen before, including the nice bonus of a few from Elvis’ May 1965 visit to the memorial (see below).
The book also features Pearl Harbor & concert memorabilia plus the usual informative liner notes. For some reason however the list of musicians with Elvis that day are missed out.
Amazingly the official ‘Silver box-set release’ only used one mini-photo of Elvis from the concert that day!
Here thirty-six pages cover Elvis’ arrival and his Press Conference including some nice press cuttings that capture the spirit of the time.
Elvis Sings Up a Storm To Aid Arizona Memorial
Elvis Presley, wearing a gold lame' silver sequin lapelled sport coat and thumping a mother of pearl-inlaid guitar, sang up a storm at Pearl Harbor's Bloch Arena last night for a crowd of 5,500, mostly teen-agers.
It was a storm of cash for the Arizona Memorial, which is taking shape about a mile from where Presley wowed 'em.
... There can be no mistake about the waves of enthusiasm that were set off less by sub-navel quaking and shaking than by just plain talent.
This report was prepared from one of the $100 seats - it's true nobody got in free - in which I felt like a man taking notes with his back to a heavy surf.
Each time tumultuous applause and shrieking subsided after each number, I was almost surprised to find I hadn't been washed away. This acclaim saluted more than his performance. The applause also was for a man helping build a monument the best way he knows how.
The concert itself is featured across thirty pages and includes 22 photos as well as some press cuttings.
All the shots of Elvis on stage in his gold lame jacket are great to look at while listening to the CD.
What a shame that no one took any coloured shots that night - so I have no issues with the book cover photos being colourised.
The overall design is stylish even including a nice cut-away back-page to fit the cool looking CD itself (shown right).
After this concert Elvis would leave the stage and not return again until July 1969!
In the recent ‘Elvis The Man & His Music’ magazine Ernst Jorgensen - who had considered releasing the concert on the FTD label – interestingly says of this MRS release... "I understand there will be a 100-page book with photos and memorabilia, and if they’ve been able to improve the sound, well that sounds like a bargain to me."
Overall Verdict: This is another fabulous value-for-money release from MRS. A classic Elvis concert beautifully remastered for 2012 and packed with quality photos and memorabilia. If RCA had recorded this concert properly back in 1961 it would have been a massive, must-buy, live album release – the concert is that good. This MRS Book/CD combo perfectly captures one of Elvis' best-ever concerts and
personally I feel that this is also a real bonus as it is a mainstream Amazon
release and not just a FTD release to the fan-clubs. Every Elvis fan needs to
know about this great moment in Elvis' legacy. If you don’t previously own this recording then this is an essential purchase. However even if you do, this brilliant package and re-mastered CD with a far better sound for less than $15 from Amazon UK won’t disappoint anyone.
01 - Elvis Arrives In Pearl Harbor Hawaii
02 - Elvis Receives Honorary Award Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
8.30pm - USS Arizona Memorial Show
03 - Intro
04 - Heartbreak Hotel
05 - All Shook Up
06 - (Now and Then There's) A Fool Such As I
07 - I Got A Woman
08 - Love Me
09 - Introductions
10 - Such A Night
11 - Reconsider Baby
12 - I Need Your Love Tonight
13 - That's All Right
14 - Don't Be Cruel
15 - One Night
16 - Are You Lonesome Tonight
17 - It's Now or Never
18 - Swing Down Sweet Chariot
19 - Hound Dog
March 18th 1961 - Elvis Salutes the USS Arizona
A preview radio broadcast, paid for by Col Tom Parker, of Elvis singing
songs of faith and devotion in preparation for the benefit USS Arizona
memorial fund concert. Features include special announcements, appeals and
20 - Part 1 - Featuring 'Take My Hand Precious Lord'
21 - Part 2 - Featuring 'I Believe in the Man in the Sky'
22 - Part 3 - Featuring 'It is No Secret'
23 - Part 4 - Featuring 'Milky White Way'
24 - Part 5 - Featuring 'He Knows Just What I Need'
25 - Part 6 - Featuring 'I Believe'
26 - Part 7 - Featuring '(There'll Be) Peace in the Valley (For Me)'
Total running time 79 mins
EIN Website content © Copyright the Elvis Information Network.
Elvis Presley, Elvis and Graceland are trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises.
The Elvis Information Network has been running since 1986 and is an EPE officially recognised Elvis fan club.