Well, it took a little over 4 years but I can finally say that I have a BRAND NEW favorite FTD CD!!! Ever since I first heard THE JUNGLE ROOM SESSIONS, that CD has held the title of being my favorite FTD release!! But today, my copy of ELVIS ON TOUR - THE REHEARSALS arrived and I immediately put it into my CD player....all I can say after listening to it 3 times already is...
This CD is, hands down, my BRAND NEW FAVORITE FTD release!! I was already anxious to listen to it when it finally arrived today, but now that I've heard it, I just can't get enough of it!! Despite a bit of disappointment that EL PASO didn't turn out to be more than a little goofing around, I have to say that there is not one track on this CD that was a disappointment to me! Some highlights for me:
PROUD MARY - This track ROCKS from start to finish!!! Absolutely FANTASTIC!!!
SEE SEE RIDER - I've always loved the rehearsal of this song that was included on 6363 SUNSET, so I was THRILLED to get another rehearsal version of this one!! Hard-driving rhythm all the way through -- OUTSTANDING STUFF!!!
JOHNNY B. GOODE - It is SO cool to finally have the version of this song that opened the film ELVIS ON TOUR included on an official release! I have always loved this version!!
YOUNG AND BEAUTIFUL - INCREDIBLE!!! I just couldn't imagine how this song would sound, had Elvis ever performed it live....but here on this CD it sounds BEAUTIFUL!!! It really flows well and it sounds like Elvis and the band really put some work into rehearsing this song....it's a shame that Elvis never gave this song serious consideration for inclusion in a live show, aside from the couple of times he toyed with the song in '76!
LAWDY MISS CLAWDY - LOVE that piano playing....stunning version!
FOR THE GOOD TIMES - Although not one of my favorite songs, it quickly became one of my favorite tracks on this CD!!! Just a beautiful performance!
HELP ME MAKE IT THROUGH THE NIGHT - Again, not a real favorite song of mine but Elvis really turns in a sweet performance here!!!
ALWAYS ON MY MIND - PROBABLY MY FAVORITE TRACK ON THIS CD!!! Everything about this version is incredible!! Elvis' vocal performance here is nothing short of gorgeous, and I just LOVE Ronnie Tutt's drumming on this rehearsal!!
NEVER BEEN TO SPAIN - A GREAT performance once again! I've always loved Elvis' performance of this song from the film, but I think this rehearsal is much better in my opinion. There's just something about it....
SEPARATE WAYS - I've always loved this song anyway, so I had high expectations going into listening to this rehearsal....a little rough in spots, but another beauty of a performance!!
The sound quality of ELVIS ON TOUR - THE REHEARSALS is simply STUNNING!! Each track sounds fresh and exciting, almost as if Elvis has just finished rehearsing!! Ernst Jorgensen and company have done an outstanding job on mixing and mastering these tracks....they sound INCREDIBLE!!! Elvis attacks each song with an intensity that really makes each song stand out in one way or another...and he is really serious about rehearsing these songs too....very little goofing around can be heard throughout the entire CD! Elvis is really into some serious rehearsing here, and it shows with every track!! A nice bonus with these rehearsals is that we get to hear each song WITHOUT the usual orchestration that Elvis used live on stage....each song on ELVIS ON TOUR - THE REHEARSALS has more of a basic, stripped down sound which works surprisingly well on every track!!
Unfortunately, the artwork on ELVIS ON TOUR - THE REHEARSALS leaves a little to be desired, in my opinion. While I think the photo they chose for the front cover is a fine choice, it would have looked a whole lot better if it weren't so fuzzy. The same goes for the 3 photos on the inside front cover and the photo under the CD tray. For an official CD release, I really think FTD should have done something more creative than just using captured screen images as photos! The 3-color scheme that FTD used for the cover and the text (white, blue and orange) is nicely done and really makes the package more attractive, in my opinion. The back cover simply contains the tracklisting for the CD....a nice picture or two would have helped to prevent the back cover from looking so plain, although again, I like the color scheme so that does help a little in my opinion. The CD itself is plain white with the title of the CD in blue and orange lettering.
As I mentioned at the beginning, ELVIS ON TOUR - THE REHEARSALS is now HANDS DOWN MY FAVORITE FTD CD!!! If you have not picked this one up yet, I STRONGLY RECOMMEND that you quickly add this CD to your Elvis collection....it's one that will remain in your CD player for weeks and months to come!!!