'Elvis In Person: The 1969 Fantasy Concert' is an incredible complete show created using a tremendous collection of footage to make a very enjoyable show. Elvis' 'first live performance in nine years' is finally in film format. The audio is as we all know it, the video comes from various sources, some of it well know, other very rare, but the overall experience is breathtaking! From the opening drums to the final song it is ALL in sync, even the talking parts will make you feel it is an actual show!
I must admit to finding that the 1969 'Fantasy' concert is a remarkable work that should have broad appeal - a big surprise. My initial skepticism was quickly overcome. This concert DVD should appeal to any Elvis fan that likes Elvis music to start with. With full quality normal audio, from CD, anyone can play this via their DVD player preferably then with the audio output via a stereo system. (And this is no diversion from what the format is) This DVD is well worth consideration for inclusion in your Elvis library for several reasons. It almost could be said that one reason is simply the bonus 'Laughing version' of Are You Lonesome Tonight, a very clever use of Elvis movie clips during the laughing break up part - and it shows you there is still much life in this over used 'bonus track', almost worth the price of admission (I can say this safely as I know there is so much more!)
In this busy world, I have found myself simply playing the DVD the same way as a CD (As I am doing as I write!) - after my initial viewing - but with the important benefit of anytime I glance at the TV monitor I am seeing quality and/or rare unseen film of Elvis performing on stage. And of a concert that one would never have expected to see on DVD!! This film and audio should amaze you and ANY visitor to your home!
As far as syncing is concerned unless you are 'up close and personal' you don't notice any thing different to a regular concert, such as Elvis That's The Way it Is, Elvis on Tour or Aloha From Hawaii, or even the '68 Comeback Special. And also I will also mention here Elvis Lives: The 25th Anniversary Concert (Elvis The Concert) and/or 'The 35th Anniversary Concert', but more on these later.
But what about the format itself and viewing it closely?
The concert is what they have appropriately called a 'Fantasy Concert', taking audio of a concert that was not filmed and adding film from other sources. Sounds dodgy??!! This is why I say 'I was surprised', and 'my initial scientism was quickly overcome'. It is NOT. What we see is an edit of 8mm fan film and professional film ('68 Comeback Special, Elvis That's The Way it Is, Elvis on Tour, Aloha From Hawaii, '68 Comeback Special, Elvis Lives: The 25th Anniversary Concert) clearly painstakingly edited to form a concert film.
Appropriately the very first seconds of the opening we see Elvis enter the stage in 1969 using excellent quality fan 8mm film. Very short but it gives goose bumps and sets up this concert beautifully. It is not the only time we see the 'Tiger Man' of 1969 in action this way via 8mm fan film either.
And we have an excerpt from Tiger Man below, and this has a fast array of different sourced film that demonstrates well what can be done, when appropriate, most times though the film is not rotated as often during a song, as you can see in the other excerpts and indeed full song performances.
In the video below you view first a comment from Henry Mancini then the opening followed by an excerpt of Blue Suede Shoes starting with a brief 8mm clip from 1969 with Elvis coming on stage (as referred to above) then you can see the use of professional film from 1970, 1968 and again some 8mm. A great example of rare film, near perfect syncing using a variety of sources.
Then into an excerpt of Johnny B. Goode and you see the use of 8mm film with the thoughtful editing in of James Burton (as referred to below). It is after all a track James features heavily on in particular.
Finally, we have All Shook Up and a fine example of 1969 audio and 1970 'Elvis That's The Way it Is' film synced so well.
Are You Lonesome Tonight? (Full song) begins with 8mm film, watch closely for the 'cross' to film from the 'Comeback Special' with Elvis shaking his head as the audio has him stating he first recorded the song 'was back in 1927 ...' then back to the 8mm film. Before that the hand gesture as he makes the remark 'appeared dead before'. All well crafted. THEN moving in to using film from the 'Comeback Special' again just perfect sync, prepare to be amazed! And you see some lesser quality 8mm here too, but it works.
Baby What You Want Me To Do (Full song) what else could we do than show you this? Here you see the full song. It is Elvis at his very best. And the DVD at the same level of achievement.
But you have NEVER seen (And heard) Elvis like THIS before!!!
Tiger Man with the crossover from 'Mystery Train' is another excellent example of combined footage, 8mm, TTWII, '68 Comeback Special, and some great edits, a great performance, production and viewing experience! (Tiger Man is an excerpt only.)
Are You Lonesome Tonight, a very clever use of Elvis movie clips during the laughing break up part - and it shows you there is still much life in this over used 'bonus track'. (Are You Lonesome Tonight is an excerpt only.)
Some of the edits are unbelievably good.
At times there may be only a second or two of a clip used and to great effect, even something simple like adding in James Burton and his guitar for a couple of seconds at the appropriate place provides a real feel or a second or two of Elvis smiling say from the '68 Special then back to another clip, well done - the editors either have an incredible knowledge and memory of Elvis film or they have gone through all the available tape too many times to imagine. I am betting on both! (Either way, the viewer is the winner).
At other times (Take the start of Baby What You Want Me To Do (View the clip above) using film from the '68 Comeback Special) the sync is uncanny and it 'feels' totally 'real'. (As it is in many places) But of course, it can't be this way in all places. If you don't think you can tolerate the sync of audio and film being out and you can't see how you could otherwise enjoy as I have explained, then perhaps this is not for you, but take a look at the video sample here, otherwise I think you will be missing out on something special and otherwise unobtainable.
Anyone who enjoys the following will enjoy this DVD immensely!!!
If you enjoy watching Elvis audience 8mm film - of which there are some quality examples of in this DVD but with the important bonus of AUDIO - then you must enjoy not only these parts of the concert but also the professional film - surely!!! There is plenty of 8mm film but in no way to much that it would annoy anyone, a great combination of professional film, unreleased outtakes, and 8mm.
If the show doesn't go over ...
If you just love looking at Elvis photos, then these 'moving pictures' will delight you! And importantly as I wrote, to begin with, if you are an Elvis fan then you are simply going to be able to enjoy the audio. And frankly just to sit and watch this intensely is a thoroughly enjoyable experience - that I offer other reasons stems from my initial skepticism and because I assume others will have this same thought. This is why I have decided to write this review. (The DVD begins with a preview of the '1974 Recorded Live In Memphis' 'Fantasy' Concert DVD).
It is fair to say that the promised pre-release 'blurb' as follows is entirely accurate. It is 'an incredible complete show created using a tremendous collection of footage to make a very enjoyable show. Elvis' 'first live performance in nine years' is finally in film format. The audio is as we all know it, the video comes from various sources, some of it well know, other very rare, but the overall experience is breathtaking! From the opening drums to the final song it is ALL in sync, even the talking parts will make you feel it is an actual show!'.
Bonus Features: July 31, 1969
Elvis In Person At The International Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada:
* Not on the original album
Elvis in concert ...