Written by General Jabbo
In 1972, Elvis Presley was still riding high from the commercial and critical rebirth that started with the ’68 Comeback Special and continued with his return to live performances the following year. His previous documentary, Elvis: That’s The Way It Is was a success, showing the King at the height of his physical and vocal ability. Hoping to recapture some of that magic, directors Robert Abel and Pierre Adidge followed Presley on his 15 cities in 15 nights 1972 tour, the results of which became Presley’s 33rd and final film, Elvis On Tour. Long out of print on VHS, it makes its DVD and Blu-Ray debut with this release.
Not just a concert performance, Elvis On Tour gives a behind-the-scenes look at Presley’s tour with plenty of backstage moments. We see Presley just before he hits the stage, candid moments with the Memphis Mafia in his limousine, studio footage and footage of Presley and his band singing gospel songs on their off hours. A true highlight comes when Presley leads them through a rendition of “I, John.” Gospel music moved Presley and it shows in these scenes.
There are also a number of complete live performances, filmed in Hampton, VA; Greensboro, NC; and San Antonio, TX including the first-ever performance of Presley’s last U.S. top-10 hit, “Burning Love.” The song is so new that Presley reads the lyrics off a sheet of paper while he sings, but the performance is dynamic. Other highlights include a rocking “Polk Salad Annie,” powerful versions of “Bridge Over Troubled Water and “An American Trilogy” and a fine version of “Funny How Time Slips Away” that is made ever more poignant as Presley would be gone just five years later. Elvis On Tour also features a career-retrospective montage supervised by Martin Scorsese and the middle of “Love Me Tender” is intercut with love scenes from Presley’s movies.