The next time you’re in Vegas consider staying off the strip at the Hilton. Not only is it 100,000 sq ft of gambling delight, it’s also, currently, the home of Barry Manilow. Over the years, it’s been featured in films such as “Diamonds Are Forever” and for you Sly fans “Over the Top” (which still remains, 23 years later, the best truck driving arm wrestling movie ever made). In the 1970’s it was the International Hotel and everyone from Liberace to Streisand worked the ballroom. There was one performer though who in one month in 1970 performed 58 consecutive sold out shows and broke all previous Vegas attendance records. Who would have thought a boy from Tupelo could rise to such a level.
It’s easy to write Elvis off during this period. Overdressed and overproduced is typically the criticism, however, in 1970, just off of the comeback shows, Elvis is feeling good and singing great. What we really have here is a crack band led by legendary guitarist James Burton and a revitalized Elvis covering some of the biggest songs of the era, yapping with the band and teasing the adoring audience. Yes, the production is huge. Yes, this is a far cry from Bill Black, Scotty Moore and Sun Records. But, all that is a given. Go into this knowing what it is, and, of course, what it isn’t and you might be surprised at just how good this album really is.
All of the glory was captured live over two nights and released as “On Stage”. In March of 2010, it was again cleaned up and filled up with all sorts of extra songs and re-released for those of us unfortunate enough not to have been in the audience over those neon filled nights. Listen to this record and know why Elvis is the only person to ever, at least momentarily, take the Vegas crown away from Frank.