Gotta Find My Baby!

August 10, 2022

Stage Rehearsal (CD - FTD, 2011)

Stage Rehearsal
FTD [FTD 102] [506020 97502 6]
Number of tracks:
Running time:
Type of album:
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FTD discography
August 10, 1970 - January 25, 1973
July 2011

Stage Rehearsal is the 102nd FTD CD. It contains rehearsals recorded on four occasions between August 1970 and January 1973, always on new season start dates in Las Vegas. The work is currently out of print.

Elvis' triumphant return to live performances was filmed by MGM in August 1970. When "That's The Way it Is" hit theaters on November 11, 1970, it brought a compilation of six shows filmed over four nights from Opening Show on August 10th to the Dinner Show on August 13th.

Elvis prepared extensively for these classic performances with an MGM film crew capturing a large portion of these rehearsals, beginning with the MGM studio in Culver City on July 14. On July 23, he continued rehearsing with his band at RCA Studios in Hollywood, while more filming took place at MGM Studios on the 29th of the same month.

On July 31, Elvis flew to Las Vegas and rehearsals continued for three days, including backing vocals, starting August 4 at the International Hotel's Convention Centre. On the 7th, main rehearsals began on the showroom stage with Joe Guercio and orchestra working with Elvis for the first time. Some of it, with Elvis in his red shirt, was also featured in the film.

Finally, on August 10, 1970, the same day as the opening show, there was a full dress rehearsal in the showroom before the performance. RCA was there to professionally record the first six shows for the film's soundtrack, in addition to the forthcoming album release, and therefore tested their setup levels and microphones by recording most of the dress rehearsal.

Knowing that none of this would be used for an actual release, they didn't record any inter-song discussions and only started their multi-track recorders when Elvis started a new song. This means that almost every song recorded was missing the first few bars or more.

Ten years after releasing parts of the rehearsals for "That's the Way it is" on "The Way it Was", FTD built on the success of the 2008 double CD soundtrack to try again to hit high sales.

This time, the label officially released the unreleased rehearsal of August 10, 1970, which has practically the entire setlist of the concert that same night thoroughly reviewed, with Elvis directing the band and orchestra where he thought they could improve.

In addition, the label made available as a bonus another 6 tracks with rarities from the rehearsals that preceded the beginning of the August 1972 and January 1973 seasons in Las Vegas.

Below is a review of the work.

AUGUST 10, 1970

- 1. You Don't Have to Say You Love Me (Version 1): We starte the rehearsal with a high standard in a perfect rendition of the 1970's hit. The person responsible for the excellent work of remixing the tape so that all the band's instruments, the orchestra, the backing vocals and Elvis are heard so perfectly aligned is Vic Anesini, who had already contributed equally spectacularly to "The Wonder of You". The version closely resembles the one in the concert that would take place in a few hours.

- 2. I Just Can't Help Believin': Strangely, Vic has included here - at the request of FTD! - an applause at the beginning of the song. Because it's a rehearsal - and Elvis makes us realize this by getting the lyrics wrong and humming during the solo - it's highly contradictory to hear the reaction of an audience. The splice was necessary, however, as the first 20 seconds of the rehearsal were not recorded, having to be replaced by the start of a live version. Elvis doesn't seem happy with that progress, saying he wants to get it over with by the last stanza. This rendition has a very different arrangement and timing from those heard in the July 29 rehearsal, something that is very welcome.

- 3. Something: The same senseless applause in a rehearsal - for the same reason explained above - is repeated here. The version is very dynamic and the mix helps a lot in creating a surprisingly different feel to what would be perceived in the live versions. FTD leaves out Elvis' exclamation at the end: "Alrighty, alrighty!"

- 4. Sweet Caroline: Because it was fully recorded, this song was previously released on the 1998 "Elvis Aron Presley" box set. It is interesting to note that Elvis uses a very different phrasing than you hear in the live versions.

- 5. Polk Salad Annie (Version 1 /Version 2) [Spliced and edited]: A poor decision by FTD led Vic Anesini to produce a splice of the two versions of the 1969 classic rendered in this rehearsal. Basically, the parts where Elvis swears or makes puns were removed, in a kind of moral censorship - and we weren't even in the politically correct culture yet.

- 6. You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' (Version 1): One of the best versions of this CD, it brings a touch of magical nostalgia to this one that writes to you. In 1999, this was the first track heard in Elvis' fabulous voice. Brought to Brazil for the first time in the now famous and collector item red "Elvis Presley" box from the extinct S.P.E.P.S. in 1989, it didn't have the sparkle and perfect mix we hear here, but it was just as phenomenal.

- 7. I've Lost You: A delicious version features Elvis having a few laughs in response to his friends' comments that can be heard deep in the mix; in fact, the feedbacks from the microphone are an adftermath of Elvis getting close to the speakers to hear them. In terms of rendition, Elvis is still not quite sure with this song which has a bit of a complicated tempo.

- 8. Bridge Over Troubled Water: Unfortunately, the first two minutes of rehearsal for this classic weren't recorded, but Anesini managed to perfectly replace them with the live version from that same night - and luckily the audience doesn't applaud at first. Elvis sings carefully in this version, using a softer vocal power to save himself for the show.

- 9. Patch it Up: Only a few seconds of the beginning of this version were not recorded, but the rest of it makes up for the splice. The rendition is very good and brings everything and everyone very evenly into the mix. James Burton's guitar produces magnificent responses.

- 10. Can't Help Falling in Love: Another song with 40 seconds unrecorded at the beginning, it brings an interesting splice. We started listening to an Elvis with a tired voice at the end of the performance that same night and moved on to an energetic rehearsal (from "like a river flows"). It is also interesting to note that, due to his mania for perfection, Elvis even rehearsed this song that he used at the end of all his shows.

- 11. You Don't Have io Say You Love Me (Version 2): Elvis decides to work again on two songs. This is just reworked to find if anything still needed fixing, which it didn't.

- 12. You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' (Version 2): Here Elvis finds an improvement he could make at 38 seconds and tells Jerry Scheff to "hold" the bass in that section. Overall, it's more of a strong and surprising version.

AUGUST 2, 1972

- 13. Any Day Now: CD bonuses begin with this rehearsal previously released on bootlegs, though not to the same quality heard here. It is important to note that, as it is a low-fidelity cassette tape, the audio is still not good at all. However, any true fan will be happy to have this rarity officially in their collection. Elvis makes a very good version, although he comments that it is too fast in some parts and tries to correct what he can in the end.
AUGUST 3, 1972

- 14. True Love Travels On a Gravel Road: Sung live only once on January 26, 1970, this version shows that Elvis was looking to renew his repertoire as early as 1972. The singer works thoroughly with JD and the other backing vocals, pausing the rendition to explain what he wants to hear in some spots.

- 15. The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face (a few lines): Although he did a few live renditions in 1971 and 1972, this song would not effectively enter Elvis' concert repertoire until the summer of 1973. Here we hear just a few lines before Elvis says, "Okay, let's do something else."

- 16. Fever: The "something else" is the 1960s classic, sung 44 times before the only live version released during Elvis' lifetime appeared on "Aloha From Hawaii". The first stanzas were cut due to the poor quality of the tape, but we can get an idea of how Elvis worked the songs he wanted to add to his performances.

- 17. Portrait of My Love: "Ladies and gentlemen, I have to go, so I bid you an affectionate..." Elvis makes a kind of farewell that leads Glen Hardin to accompany him with a delicious blues. This leads to a fantastically hot version of Steve Lawrence's 1961 hit, officially released here for the first time.

JANUARY 25, 1973

- 18. I'm Leavin' it All Up to You: Dale & Grace's 1963 hit, this song had only been performed live twice - on February 9 and 10, 1972. Here Elvis sings only the first part before suggesting "Faded Love" as the next song to be rehearsed.

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