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Review: Showroom Internationale 1971 2 CD / Book Set

By: For Elvis Fans Only
Source: ElvisPresley.com.au
August 17, 2009 - 12:41:59 PM
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I opened my mailbox Friday to find a great surprise- a preview copy of International's latest release 'Showroom Internationale' ! So, since someone has seen fit to give me a copy, and I've now had appropriate time to listen to it, I've decided to review it for everyone:

'Showroom Internationale' focuses on Elvis' January-February 1971 engagement at the International Hotel in Las Vegas. It features two concerts: The January 28th Midnight Show, previously released by Fort Baxter as 'Lean, Mean, and Kickin' Butt', and the February 23rd Dinner Show, which was previously unreleased. The CD's come inside a 90-plus page full color book, held on proper CD spindles this time. It seems the producers at International wisely avoided the foam rubber disasters that were used on 'The Complete Works'. The hardback book is housed is a beautiful slipcase, much like 'The Complete Works'.

Elvis Presley MP3 Audio Little Sister / Get Back Pop Up Window - (01:53) Feb 23, 1971
Elvis Presley MP3 Audio Love Me Tender (Intro) / Love Me Pop Up Window - (02:46) Feb 23, 1971
Elvis Presley MP3 Audio The Impossible Dream Pop Up Window - (02:58) Jan 28, 1971

Elvis Presley MP3 Audio Audio courtesy Elvis Presley MP3 Audio Central.

However, as someone who found 'The Complete Works' book to be just adequate, the book for 'Showroom Internationale' is simply stunning. Where the former contained mostly pictures I had seen before, the latter contains many new and rare beauties from this engagement. In fact, I would say it has just as many new (to me) pictures as it has familiar ones, including one super-rare full color shot of Elvis wearing the White Cisco suit with black inserts- wow! It also features pictures of rare memorabilia, and a smartly written text about 1971.

I would also mention that the graphic design has been kicked up a notch as well, where 'The Complete Works' was decent, 'Showroom Internationale' is awesome.

Now onto the main event- the shows.

The first disc, as i said before, is the January 28th Midnight Show previously released as 'Lean, Mean, and Kickin' Butt'. We all know it's a very strong show, but in this release it sounds better than ever as it has been remastered from a brand-new transfer of the original tape by our old friends at the Diamond Anniversary (DAE) label! It looks like after they were burned on the sound of 'The Complete Works' set, International sought out a known quantity to handle it this time. Well, the DAE team lives up to it's reputation, because this new disc leaves the old release sounding flat and lifeless by comparison. CD 1 is filled out with bonus tracks of rare songs from other shows in the engagement. The bonus tracks don't have the same level of sound improvement as the main show (perhaps they were not working with the original tapes on these), but are a nice addition for those who don't have them in some other form.

'Showroom Internationale 1971' 2 CD / Book Set

The second disc features the February 23rd Dinner Show, which simply the best show yet released from 1971. Period. In Capital Letters. Better than Boston. The mix on the show, as with most soundboards is largely accidental, but is also fortunately an ass-kicker. The mighty Tutt-Scheff rhythm section is mixed right up front, as is Elvis' vocal and the backup singers. James Burton (unfortunately) and the orchestra (fortunately) are mixed somewhat in the background. Elvis' voice is clear as a bell, with very minimal distortion. International also teamed of with DAE for the restoration and mastering on this show, so it sounds great as well. The performance is what really shines though. Elvis tears through 'That's All Right' and 'I Got A Woman' with a ferocity that in every way equals his 1969 vocal power. The performance of 'I Got A Woman' on this show is arguably the best performance of the song since the 1956 studio master. It's brilliant, and energetic. Everything one hopes of from Elvis's performances of this period. He teases the audience by faking them into thinking he's going to perform 'Love Me Tender' before switching to 'Love Me', which is an unusually good performance for a post-70 show. What's great about Elvis' vocal performance in this show is that he is pushing himself, and taking chances vocally, sometimes they miss (in 'You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'), but usually they are right on target (in the incredibly inspired versions of 'How Great Thou Art' and 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' from this show). 'How Great Thou Art' is hands down the best early live performance I have heard, performed with a determined focus that leaves you with chill bumps. He then offers three rockin' versions of old classics 'Don't Be Cruel', Heartbreak Hotel', and 'Blue Suede Shoes' that have the same amount of passion as the TTWII versions. 'Bridge' is probably the best post-70 version I have heard. 'Little Sister/Get Back' is an interesting version with a very cool ending. 'Hound Dog' is fire-breathing. The tape ran out 3/4ths of the way through 'Suspicious Minds', which is a shame because the way the show was going, I think we were robbed of the definitive version of 'The Impossible Dream', but I am very glad for what has survived.

I am interested to see what everyone else thinks once they get their copies, but I am pretty sure there will be many that share my enthusiasm for this show. I just got this release Friday, and have already listened to CD2 five times. It's the best soundboard in terms of show quality that I have heard in a looong time, and I already rank it with my favorite ever soundboard releases (Just Pretend, If You Talk In Your Sleep, It's A Matter Of Time, and Opening Night Jan 70). I think it's safe to say that those who buy this release will be more than satisfied.


Disc One

January 28th, 1971 Midnite Show

01. 2001 Theme
02. That's All Right
03. I Got A Woman
04. Love Me Tender
05. You Don't Have To Say You Love Me
06. Sweet Caroline
07. You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling
08. Polk Salad Annie
09. Introductions (Part 1)
10. Johnny B. Goode
11. Introductions (Part 2)
12. Something
13. Introductions (Part 3)
14. The Wonder Of You
15. Heartbreak Hotel
16. Blue Suede Shoes
17. Hound Dog
18. One Night
19. Teddy Bear
20. Suspicious Minds
21. Instrumental
22. The Impossible Dream

Bonus Tracks

23. There Goes My Everything (Jan 27 MS)
24. Make The World Go Away (Jan 27 MS)
25. Only Believe (Jan 27 MS)
26. It's Now Or Never (Jan 28 DS)
27. Snowbird (Jan 29 DS)

Disc Two

February 23rd, 1971 Dinner Show

01. 2001 Theme
02. That's All Right
03. I Got A Woman/By The Time I Get To Phoenix
04. Love Me Tender (Intro Only)/ Love Me
05. Mystery Train/Tiger Man
06. Sweet Caroline
07. You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling
08. Polk Salad Annie
09. Something
10. Johnny B. Goode
11. How Great Thou Art
12. Don't Be Cruel
13. Heartbreak Hotel
14. Blue Suede Shoes
15. Bride Over Troubled Water
16. Little Sister/Get Back
17. Hound Dog
18. Suspicious Minds (Spliced with Jan 28 DS)
19. The Impossible Dream (Jan 28 DS)

'Showroom Internationale 1971' 2 CD / Book Set

Elvis Presley Video Tupelo's Own Elvis Presley DVD

Tupelo's Own Elvis Presley DVD + 16 page booklet.

Never before have we seen an Elvis Presley concert from the 1950's with sound. Until Now! The DVD Contains recently discovered unreleased film of Elvis performing 6 songs, including Heartbreak Hotel and Don't Be Cruel, live in Tupelo Mississippi 1956. Included we see a live performance of the elusive Long Tall Sally seen here for the first time ever.

This is an excellent release no fan should be without it.

The 'parade' footage is good to see as it puts you in the right context with color and b&w footage. The interviews of Elvis' Parents are well worth hearing too. The afternoon show footage is wonderful and electrifying : Here is Elvis in his prime rocking and rolling in front of 11.000 people. Highly recommended.