DVD review:

"Aloha From Hawaii" 2DVD deluxe set

the "morse code" concert

(Source: EIN, 28 June 2004, reviewed by Nigel Patterson)

FINALLY, the wait is over and two of the most eagerly anticipated Elvis DVD sets have been released (at this stage there are no plans for a video release): '68 Comeback Special Aloha From Hawaii Has the wait been worth it? ABSOLUTELY YES!

Both releases are stunning deluxe editions that provide hours of aural and visual pleasure. And if you prefer Elvis in a white jumpsuit you will love the Aloha release.

Aloha From Hawaii

What a smorgasboard of 'Aloha From Hawaii' viewing this 4 hour double disc release offers! Elvis delivers a fully satisfying concert in one of his all-time career highlights.

The scene is set from Chapter 1 of disc 1, the full, raw and uncut 17.5 minute "Elvis arrives" sequence. While 17.5 minutes might sound too long a time for an arrival sequence, you'll be pleasantly surprised, as it features great Hawaiian hospitality and entertainment and shows the steady build-up of fan anticipation as The King's arrival gets closer and closer.

Disc 1 also features the complete, uncut "rehearsal" concert (56 minutes and 39 seconds) from 12 January 1973. It is re-edited from scratch with remastered sound and picture. The show is a fantastic primer for the actual satellite show that follows in Chapter 3 of the disc.

The satellite show (1 hour 4 minutes and 18 seconds) features more songs than its rehearsal precursor: Johnny B. Goode, I Can't Stop Loving You and the Long Tall Sally/Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On medley.

As many fans are aware there were several cameras used to film the satellite show and the producers have used the three existing choices of tape (camera angles) to fashion "a dramatically richer, more intimate and more exciting viewing experience" than previously released on DVD or video.

Disc 2 includes (chapter 2) the USA broadcast version of the concert (1 hour 16 minutes and 39 seconds) including great pre-concert atmosphere and the five additional songs recorded for stateside telecast: Blue Hawaii, Ku-U-I-Po, No More, Hawaiian Wedding Song and Early Morning Rain.

All commercials and TV announcer bumpers have been omitted to ensure our full viewing pleasure. Unfortunately, the incision of the five additional studio tracks breaks up the flow of the broadcast concert, but this only a minor irritation given the rest of the material on the two discs.

Other chapters are (chapter 1) the full "insert song" session (with an "I'd die for that tan opening") and (chapter 3) a DVD Credits Roll. Personally I would have swapped chapters 1 and 2 around.

The Picture: BMG and EPE have gone to great lengths to digitally improve the picture quality of the special. The visual is crisp and quite sharp - we must always remember that it was originally recorded more than 31 years ago so there are some limitations of just what can be achieved. Having said that, what has been achieved is a great visual result.

The Audio: what more can I say than sparkling in-your-ears Dolby 5.1 sound. Fans with a home theatre system will relish the added oomph they hear as the sound on different channels hits home.

The Packaging: like many others I can't work out why BMG/EPE have gone for the front cover they have. As RCA knew in the 60's and 70's, put a picture of Elvis on the cover...it means more sales!! Leaving aside this small irritation, the deluxe packaging and booklet are great once you get past the cover and delve into the digipack offering. The sublime liner notes are from Dave Marsh and there is plenty of supporting detail provided for each chapter.

Technical details:

Region: 0

Time: 242 minutes

Colour: Colour

Sound: Dolby 5.1


DISC 1 (running time: 02:18:27) Chapter 1: Elvis Arrives and Greets Fans [January 9, 1973]; Chapter 2: Rehearsal Concert [January 12, 1973] (21 tracks); Chapter 3: Elvis, Aloha from Hawaii Concert [January 14, 1973] (24 tracks)

DISC 2 (running time: 01:43:39) Chapter 1: Post-Concert "Insert" Songs Session [January 14, 1973] (12 tracks); Chapter 2: Elvis, Aloha from Hawaii NBC TV Special [April 4, 1973 Broadcast Version] (29 tracks)

Verdict: It has been a long wait but it has been worth it. As with the Comeback Special DVD release the price may seem high...but the discs are chock full of value for money. Sit back and enjoy one of the pinnacles of Elvis' career. You won't be disappointed.

EIN's in-depth review of the Aloha From Hawaii deluxe DVD release will be published shortly.

Click to read EIN's review of the 3DVD '68 Comeback Special deluxe edition

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