Starting with Elvis in the ’68 Special introducing Scotty Moore, this DVD takes a loving journey through Elvis’ best known songs performed live at the famous Abbey Road Studios by a collection of the world’s best musicians who have all come together in December 2004 to celebrate the music & importance of both Scotty Moore & The King.
The production values are nothing but first class, with beautiful camera work and an amazing sound (in 5.1 surround) equal to anything that has been recorded in the Abbey Road Studios in London.
The main support group for the concert is Bill Wyman’s (The Rolling Stones) band The Rhythm Kings who certainly know how to play and who are joined by a magnificent array of Britain’s best musicians from Eric Clapton to Pink Floyd’s Dave Gilmour!
This is music that rocks and every track lovingly allows that special Scotty Moore vibe to cut through. The audio mix is great & it truly is a memorable concert and a fitting tribute.
Mike Sanchez described as "a frenetic front man in a soaking red suit" is another great discovery performing fabulous versions of ‘All Shook Up’ & ‘Lawdy Miss Clawdy.’
Perhaps the true surprise is the lovely interaction with "guitar god" Eric Clapton playing a sensitive acoustic guitar, with Scotty Moore on electric. The interaction between them & the simpleness of the arrangement, using Sun Studios stand-up double-bass, is a real highlight. The delicacy of ‘That’s All Right’ and the interaction of ‘Mystery Train’ in this setting demonstrates what the rock’n’roll revolution was all about. The fact the Eric Clapton lovingly emulates Elvis’ acoustic playing on ‘That’s All Right’ is such a tribute to the song that started it all – an exquisite example of ‘less is more’.
Another delight is the musical variation of the DVD as it also includes renowned British Jazz guitarist Martin Taylor contributing some delicate jazz reworkings of Elvis’ famous songs. His duet with Scotty on a cool-jazz version of ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ is marvellous.
There are plenty of other highlights to discover and I was a little disappointed that some of the fabulous rockin’ tracks, like the sensational Paul Ansell ‘Ready Teddy’, wasn’t in a dance-hall setting as it begs for the audience to get up & dance.
The greatest joy is the humility of Scotty Moore himself, along with seeing him laugh & smile at all these great performances. His effortless playing and his grin makes it all look so easy, while he plays guitar licks that changed popular music forever. It is astounding to watch - I only wish I had been there!
My only real negative is that on several of the tracks – including a fabulous ‘Jailhouse Rock’ by Steve Gibbons – Scotty isn’t actually playing.
Throughout the concert the group varies from the small SUN 4-piece band, to a bigger group with swinging sax-section, to the final "Super-Group" of seven guitarists on stage all rocking out to a stunning finale of ‘Hound Dog.’
The BONUS features are also excellent.
First there is a 30-minute interview with Scotty Moore, the longest interview I have ever heard from this quiet man! In it he reminisces over plenty of old stories but there are some very revealing moments
Discussing those first SUN recording sessions where he mentions Sam Phillips recording plenty of other songs that Elvis tried out but that Sam never kept them on tape – “I’m sure sorry he didn’t!”
When asked if he was conscious that they were leading a revolution in the history of music, Scotty just laughs saying, “Lord no! We all enjoyed what we were doing & we were hoping for it to catch on enough that we could quit our day jobs & just play music for a living.”
Scotty once again reminds us that Chet Atkins plays rhythm guitar on the original ‘Heartbreak Hotel’.
He also reveals that The Colonel wanted to dump him, Bill Black & DJ Fontana and to replace them with Hank Snow’s backing group. (EIN Note – How strange would that have been?)
There also is an interesting discussion about his final 1968 meeting with Elvis in a backroom of his house. This is where Elvis asked both Scotty & DJ Fontana if they would like to do a European Tour with him as his backing band. Scotty says, “We said OK... But that never happened and instead Elvis started with his Vegas shows.”
Verdict - This is an absolutely sensational DVD that should really be called "A Tribute To Scotty Moore - By admirers of The King". The extremely high production values and brilliant audio quality makes it an essential purchase for anyone interested in Elvis - or any one of these fabulous musicians who took part. This is a very rare find in a world of rush-released music DVDs. Definitely one of the best music DVDs to be produced last year so don’t waste your money on searching for yet more sub-standard bootleg Elvis DVDs, buy something of real quality instead!
Review by Piers Beagley, copyright EIN - January 2006.
"Elvis Presley is the supreme socio-cultural icon in the history of pop culture"
(Dr. Gary Enders)
" Elvis is the 'glue' which holds our society together....which subconciously gives our world meaning"
"Eventually everybody has to die, except Elvis"
(humorist Dave Barry)
"He is the "Big Bang", and the universe he detonated is still expanding, the pieces are still flying"
(Greil Marcus, "Dead Elvis")
"I think Elvis Presley will never be solved"
"He was the most popular man that ever walked on this planet since Christ himself was here"
"When I first heard Elvis' voice I just knew I wasn't going to work for anybody...hearing him for the first time was like busting out of jail"
"When we were kids growing up in Liverpool, all we ever wanted was to be Elvis Presley"
(Sir Paul McCartney)