Aloha From Hawaii Via Satellite
(The Legacy Edition)

Elvis Presley

I recall being at a party at my aunt’s house in April 1973. Two of my aunts were scrambling in front of the TV to watch Elvis Presley’s satellite broadcast Aloha From Hawaii. What I couldn’t know at the time was that this show wasn’t exactly being beamed right at us “live.” On January 14, 1973, the concert was actually broadcast to over 40 nations; however, in the U.S., manager Colonel Tom Parker held the broadcast back so as to not follow too closely on the heels of the just released Elvis On Tour film. Still all was perfect for my aunts (and even me as I kept coming in and out the parlor) to watch what was the broadcast of the 12:30 show from the HIC arena in Hawaii as it had happened. I can only imagine what they’d have to say about the double-CD Legacy Edition of Aloha From Hawaii Via Satellite.

Somewhere along the line, I’m sure you have heard this classic early 70s white jumpsuit Elvis set. The first CD, the full broadcast of the show, is a blistering 24 tunes with Elvis and his band at the top of their game. “See See Rider” opens and there’s a stab at George Harrison’s “Something” that never really goes any place (Elvis talks more than sings the verses). The horn players and the King find their stride with the magnificent “You Gave Me A Mountain.” There are absolutely note-perfect reads of “My Way” and “Fever.” We get streamlined rock and roll ala Elvis in “I’ll Remember You” with Glen Hardin slaying some honky tonk piano. Oldies like “Blue Suede Shoes,” “I’m So Lonesome I Can Cry” and “Hound Dog” are far more welcoming than the super patriotic, more-than-semi-schmaltzy “An American Trilogy.”

It’s on the second CD in this set where things get real interesting. The 27 songs on The Alternative Aloha comprise a full rehearsal Elvis, his band and his crew managed on January 12, 1973 in front of an audience. There are also five songs that were recorded at 3:00 am the night of the actual broadcast, sans audience, as a tribute to the show. These alternative versions have been remixed for this collection and though the actual concerts from each CD differs very little (the actual broadcast of the shows features more songs) on this CD, it’s those five extra tunes that make this one special — “Blue Hawaii” with its seductive Ronnie Tutt drum beat, “Ku-U-I-Po,” “No More,” “Hawaiian Wedding Song,” and the soft yet powerful take on Gordon Lightfoot’s “Early Morning Rain.” Two CDs and a thick booklet with liner notes and pictures make what is now the definitive document of Aloha From Hawaii Via Satellite even better for Elvis fans.

~ Ralph Greco, Jr.

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