Elvis Presley

The '68 Comeback Special [Deluxe Edition DVD]

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AllMusic Review by

Elvis Presley's hourlong network television special from December 3, 1968 -- which was pretty impressive on its own terms -- has been transformed into the basis for this seven-hour triple-DVD set by BMG Heritage, and it's got plenty for everyone to enjoy. The basic special had previously been available on DVD in edited form (owing to a conflict over music rights), but for this release, the producers have gone in the exact opposite direction, re-licensing all of the songs and adding back in the "bordello" sequence from 40 minutes into the show that the original sponsor, Singer Sewing Machines, felt was too risqué back in 1968. The sound quality (including the volume) on this mastering of the original special is superb, and the color and detail push the source material right up to its limits -- the only place left to go is high-definition playback. The rest of that disc is filled up with the two "Black Leather Sit-Down Shows" from June 27, 1968, featuring Presley and his classic bandmember friends -- including Scotty Moore and D.J. Fontana -- jamming together to whatever came to mind. Disc two is of somewhat less musical interest, though fans of the singer will get their fill -- both of the two "Black Leather Stand Up" shows, from two days after the "Sit-Down" shows, are featured, complete with their technical glitches and one delightful improvisation by Presley on the blues tune "Baby, What You Want Me to Do." Those two shows are augmented with the various takes needed to get the opening and closing segments of the special, plus the 2004 video of "If I Can Dream." And disc three contains the various takes and outtakes associated with the special's gospel production number, the "Guitar Man" production number, which includes the "Bordello" sequence -- these segments are repetitive and will mostly be of interest to production professionals and total Elvis fanatics. Each disc opens up automatically to a basic menu of similar design with the "play all" option in the default position -- every song and each take get a chapter marker on the relevant discs, and it's all easy to maneuver around. The first disc will, naturally, be the one that gets the most use, as it's the most self-contained and, in essence, consists of finished material, whereas the other two platters contain extended unedited, uncompleted segments. The full-screen (1.33-to-1) image is gorgeous throughout, with more (and deeper) color and detail than this reviewer thought possible to achieve from a '60s television source.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:39
2 1:48
3 0:38
4
1:23
5 3:46
6 2:18
7 2:01
8
0:25
9 3:12
10 0:19
11
1:00
12 7:50
13 1:48
14 2:44
15
1:05
16 2:48
17 3:15
18 12:43
19 3:11
20
1:09
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
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64

Track Listing - Disc 2

Title/Composer Performer Time
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44

Track Listing - Disc 3

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