"really no enjoyment.."
Reviewed by Andy Urias
"IT'S MIDNIGHT" might be the worst release by FTD so far. It is widely known that Elvis' August/September Las Vegas engagement was one full of triumphs and tragedies. A lot of these performances have been documented on various bootlegs and on official releases by BMG. Here we have parts of the August 24 and 29 midnight shows. The confusing aspect to this CD is why were these performances chosen for release by FTD at this time? Just for a badly edited Early Morning Rain? It doesn't make much sense.
So much unreleased live material remains in the vaults, yet this mediocre live album is released. As bad as the performance on TUCSON '76 is, the release is a fascinating one and stands for what FTD is all about. The performance on IT'S MIDNIGHT! is very average. Even though BMG probably can't do much with the sound and the show has been bootlegged before, the famous opening night show from this Vegas engagement might have been a nice BMG/FTD release, as many fans have voiced their desire for this to happen. At least FTD would have released a historical audio event. Or maybe, FTD should have just created a mix of songs like disc 4 of LIVE IN LAS VEGAS to showcase more soundboard material and highlights from this 1974 engagement.
Meanwhile, almost an entire year passes before the SPRING TOURS 77 material sees the light of day. A complete and unedited show from 1969 still sits in the vaults. How about another complete show from August 1970, who can ever get tired of hearing Elvis in his prime? The February 1970 material from Vegas is still being heavily guarded and the winter 1972 live material from Vegas is still being ignored. There has to be some intriguing soundboards from hard to find years like 1971. How about the Lake Tahoe Show from 1973, which keeps getting held back? Ernst recently said in Memphis that the Tahoe show hasn't made it to the production line because "better" ideas come along. How was releasing IT'S MIDNIGHT! a better idea?
There is really no enjoyment when listening to this CD. Elvis sounds extremely bored and flat. JD Sumner is way up in the mix on some of the tracks (nothing FTD can do about, but nevertheless, it is very annoying). The sequencing doesn't match the track listing near the end of the disc (nice production error guys!). 'Early Morning Rain' is cut at the beginning, what happened? This strangely edited song is supposed to be the showcase of this pathetic release? Why is there a picture of Elvis and Jackie Wilson inside the cover, what does he have to do with this CD or the performances on it? Hardcore fans will want this release as they welcome any unreleased performance BMG has to offer, but if you are a casual listener, stay away and wait for the next FTD release showcasing movie soundtrack outtakes!
? Andy Urias, September 12 2002