Elvis: Sold Out Vol. 20 DVD
Sold Out’ is back, and volume 20 truly contains a wealth of rare and unreleased footage. We know that the ’77 footage is very popular, and included are various films from the spring / summer ‘77 tours. We all know that he was not in the best of shape, but still on a good night he could mesmerize an audience with powerful moments like ‘My Way’.
There are various neat ’77 close-ups, in fact some of the best ever, and it’s also good to see the effort he puts into performances like ‘That’s All Right Mama’ and ‘Are You Lonesome Tonight’, with him accompanying himself on the acoustic. The man still had it. Still, there’s also some rough moments, including the final June ’77 tour, and it’s still heartbreaking to see Elvis in this shape. But it’s all part of the history, and Pyramid has stated right from the outset to document all of it, without sugarcoating anything.
This release is a real ‘smorgasbord’ of Elvis live in the seventies, with especially ’69 to ’72 being well-presented. He is truly the live ultimate performer in these films, in full command, and giving his all. The early concert years were very exciting, and his live show was very physical and dynamic, as you can see in this footage. This release actually marks the first time that we include any ’69 footage, and what an amazing performer he was back then! As someone once remarked: if you didn’t see Elvis in ’69, then you never saw the real Elvis, and the footage included here bears that out. But in its own way the shows from June ’72 were just as good, and performances like ‘You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling’ and ‘How Great Thou Art’ show what a versatile performer he had become by then.
The later years feature plenty of highlights as well, even though the tempos had gone down a notch or two. There’s four films from April 1, 1975 and they are a real delight, as they highlight the fun side of Elvis as a performer, playing around with the audience and having a heck of a time doing so. There’s Memphis ’76, and Forth Worth is a neat and fairly long film - good to see it here without any logos or watermarks. The lesser performances are also included, including silent footage from the notorious Houston ’76 concert, which shows how sluggish he was. And arguably even worse is another (lengthy) film from College Park, where his behavior is odd to say the least, and where he seems to be under the influence of something. We feel that these films are just as important as the good shows, because together they give us a balanced look at Elvis’ live shows in the seventies. And College Park is certainly insightful: the things he said were pretty bizarre, but it’s even more surrealistic to SEE him in that state (‘I love showbidnezz’), while constantly punking Charlie Hodge to adjust his microphone stand. Even after all these years, there’s still something dark and unsettling about moments like this, but again, it’s all part of the Elvis story.
But none of it takes anything away from the magic that the man created every time he made his entrance, whether it was in Las Vegas, Chicago, Fort Worth, Jacksonville, Memphis, Philadelphia or wherever. These films take you back to all these special nights. As always, Pyramid is presenting these films as they were recorded, with no edits or alterations of any kind. These films were carefully restored to remove artifacts that time had added, like discolorization. We believe that it’s important to let these films speak for themselves. Ladies and gentlemen, get ready for the greatest showman there ever was. One a good night, there was no one like him, but even on a lesser night he was still ELVIS. ‘Sold Out volume 20’ tells you that story.