Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by emjel, Apr 9, 2019.
You would love the original 1992 CD of "In Person".
Interesting - what's the difference with the FTD?
Further notes: I remain confused by the prevailing dislike (on this forum) for Live In Las Vegas disc 1, as mixed by Dennis Ferrante.
Confused, that is, until I remember where I am writing this. The concept the average contributor to this forum has of rock 'n' roll is drinking a cup of Earl Grey whilst comparing mastering differences in 17 identical versions of the Hallelujah Chorus. Folks not entirely unlike me, in other words.
Ferrante's mix of the 24th Dinner show is idiosyncratic, chaotic, punchy, messy, exuberant. It has character, it has swagger: it breaks audiophile rules with attitude, and overall sounds suspiciously like it was mixed by someone who has a garage full of power tools and wears overalls to a wedding. Compared to some of the other FTD mixes, which put the music on display in museum quality, it is positively workmanlike. It may even sound wilfully incompetent.
Here's the thing though: rock 'n' roll doesn't belong in a museum. It belongs on a messy stage, with cables piled up, the bass drum resonating through the hall, the snare punching your chest. It's about attitude as much as anything else. An environment where neither the artist nor the crew are entirely sure what is going to happen, but are ready to ride the storm.
By 1969, Elvis was already stepping aside from this unpredictable side of his art, standardizing his set for a string of Vegas residencies that would eventually strangle themselves to death. And the resulting incessant boredom would surely be one of a cacophony of factors paving the road to his own premature death.
Neither the richness of JD Sumner's bass nor the sweetness of Kathy Westmoreland's soprano would disguise that Elvis in the mid-seventies had had the spirit crushed out of him. And we despair that this latter Elvis had ceased to be an artist, losing his attitude, pandering to the mass market with a safe blend of hits and unadventurous material submerged in backing vocals. It's the lo-fi charisma of his earliest records that remain the most highly regarded.
But Ferrante's bolted-together mix of the 24th August 1969 captures much of the raw energy of an artist who at the end of the 60s was still alive and kicking in the fullest sense of the description. This mix sounds risky, it sounds energetic, it sounds chaotic and loose and full of life. Ferrante takes the prevailing attitude on-stage and runs with it, amplifies it.
His mix also captures the resonance and off-hand mightiness of Elvis's vocal better than just about all of the 1969 mixes I have heard, which mostly either sound too thin, too isolated or too submerged.
It's far from the most perfect mix: on the contrary, its appeal is that it is thoroughly imperfect. But for those who still have some exuberance themselves, it may just be the most fun.
I don't know if it is urban legend or fact...
But in the seventies... well, I may have volunteered for that job lol
My wife got me the August 26 midnight show on vinyl for Christmas. Love it!
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