"Beauty Is In The Ear Of The Beholder"
Reviewed by Armond Joseph
The first bootleg recording I ever owned was an LP titled "Rockin' With Elvis New Years' Eve." I bought it from a dealer in New York for $15.00 back in 1977. It was the first release of the now infamous concert, and it stands, in my mind anyway, as the very best Elvis bootleg production ever! The artwork was top rate: cool photos, liner notes, and so on. The sound, though nowhere close to a soundboard recording, was very good for an audience recording. As a matter of fact, this one LP became the standard by which I judge all other bootlegs, be it a CD or an LP. So when FTD decided to throw their hat into the ring and officially release this great concert, I was excited.
And I must say that I am not disappointed. I won't waste your time describing the actual show. Just the fact that you're reading this review is proof enough that you have heard of it, and you probably own one of the unofficial versions that are out there. I too, in my quest for something better on CD, have secured two other versions of this concert. One is "Auld Lang Syne" and the other is "Pittsburgh 76." As far as I can tell, ALS is the exact same recording as the LP, with the same drop outs, mixing, and so on. As far as CD's go, it is a great production all the way around.
"Pittsburgh '76" is a different story. First off, the original production is a CDR, which wreaks havoc on my older CD player. It too is an audience recording, but from a different spot in the house, namely from behind the stage. It is incomplete, and has quite a bit of noise distortion, especially in the beginning. It has been hailed as the better sounding version of this concert, but I don't know why? It has a different sound, but it certainly isn't better.
The FTD version comes from the same tape as the LP and Auld Lang Syne. However, it is complete; so much so that I now know why a few seconds of Can't Help Falling In Love are missing on the LP and ALS! Yes, there is some noise, and I found myself having to adjust the treble down a bit, but there's noise on every release of this concert I've ever heard. FTD put together some great photos for this release. Overall, I think it's great. If you don't have this version, I would recommend that you buy it. Especially for us fans in the United States, which is a virtual bootleg wasteland, any bootleg that FTD decides to release will be a welcome treat.
? Armond Joseph, Union, Missouri USA - April 2003