Five years before he achieved broadcast history with his legendary 1973 global satellite telecast, Elvis: Aloha from Hawaii, Elvis Presley brought a less grandiose but far more urgent mission to this Christmas season netwo... more »rk special: isolated from his original audience after a long sojourn on Hollywood soundstages, and threatened by the vibrancy and social gravity of rock, the King sought nothing less than to reclaim his throne. More than three decades later, what has since become known as Elvis: '68 Comeback Special looms as the Memphis icon's most substantial achievement as a stage performer. If the candy-colored sets and hyperactive choreography of its larger production numbers smack of its network packagers' desperation to be hip, Elvis himself rises to a riveting, assured performance at the peak of his powers. Looking fit and relaxed, and sheathed in black leather, he covers a shrewd song list encompassing early rockabilly hits, gospel (albeit rendered unintentionally hilarious by its florid dance routines), and comparatively restrained ballads. Standout performances include two intimate stage sets that put him literally within his fans' reach, most strikingly in a brief reunion with four of his earliest bandmates (including guitarist Scotty Moore and drummer D.J. Fontana). The latter segment is only a brief sample of a session posthumously released on video as One Night with You, which is, if anything, even better than this terrific portrait of a towering American artist. --Sam Sutherland« less
"Okay, this is a 5 star special. Any Elvis Presley fans will want to own Elvis' 1968 TV special, and most probably already have it on VHS. The question is....is the DVD worth purchasing?To start, the DVD is not complete. Evidently, there was some issue about the rights to "Are you lonesome tonight?" so this song is NOT to be found on the DVD. Other from that, I didn't find anything missing from the DVD. The picture quality is a little soft, a little grainy, and looks like the show was recorded on videotape. Of course, all of this is how the special looked in the first place, so it's not a big deal. In fact, given the limitations of TV broadcasts back in the 60s, the picture quality is acceptable. The soundtrack has the original mono soundtrack. There is also a 5.1 dolby digital remix which sounds good but is maybe a little bass-heavy. Young fans weaned on ultra-glossy DVDs of recent films may be disappointed with the picture/sound quality, but those of us who grew up on Elvis will absolutely love the DVD, which is pretty much the best the special has looked and sounded. The main issue is whether or not to purchase this particular edition....or wait and hope that a future second edition will contain the deleted song. It's a toss-up. Personally, I am happy I bought the DVD and I will probably listen to it quite often!Other than the special itself, there is little else on the DVD. There is a website link-up and a small slide show. That's it. I would have liked a subtitles option (who wouldn't want to sing along with Elvis?). Or how about some outtakes? So, given the incompleteness of the DVD, I can only rate the DVD 4 stars, although the special itself is 5 stars.One last thing - this is obviously a 1960s product. The production numbers have a surreal, almost psychedelic quality to them. Elvis himself is in superb voice, and he delivers a performance that cements his image as the king of rock and roll. But Elvis fans already know this. To the uninitiated, there is probably no better way to see the King at the height of his powers as in this special! Recommended!"
Elvis at his Finest
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I remember back in 1968 anxiously waiting for this special to air on December 3rd. I knew from reading articles about the special that Elvis was going to perform some of his classic songs like "All Shook Up" and "Jailhouse Rock". Judging from his recent movie work, I thought he might not do the classic songs justice. Was I wrong! He did them better! Quoting critic Greil Marcus, "Elvis gave everything he had - more than anyone knew was there."In my opinion, this is Elvis at his peak. He did some great things after this special, but nothing that captures the raw power of his performance on this special.The audio and video on this DVD are good; as good as one might expect considering the television recording and video technology of 1968. In closing, I have been an Elvis fan since 1960. This special is how I want to remember him."
A must have for any rock collection - an absolute classic
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Elvis at his best looking, arguably best sounding, and most creative, plays with his original drummer and guitarist, often in the first "unplugged" format, surrounded by fans on all four sides. Elvis is so close to the audience that it has a surreal quality to it. His voice is impeccable, raw, thick, and tough, at turns sweet and gentle for the ballads, and the skill with which he effortlessly and naturally moves between the two is amazing. This is a one of a kind experience showcasing arguably the best of the best of a brilliant career. Those who don't even think they like Elvis will be converts - incredible."
Elvis' Historic Comeback
Scott T. Rivers | Los Angeles, CA USA | 01/06/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
""The 1968 Comeback Special" was the culmination of Elvis Presley's artistic resurrection. He never looked or sounded better, as he sang some of the rawest rock and blues ever recorded. Listening to these classic performances is a transcendent experience. However, to fully appreciate Presley's talents, one must see this revelatory DVD set, which is guaranteed to rock your socks off. The deluxe edition finally includes the unedited, red-hot mini-concerts that comprised much of the original NBC special. If some of the production numbers seem a bit dated by today's standards, Presley certainly does not. This was the performance of Elvis' life and it surpassed everyone's expectations. More than 35 years later, "The 1968 Comeback Special" remains a landmark in the history of rock music."
"The PGA, YMCA, or somebody, they thought I was...something"
hardertheyfall | Ohio | 11/30/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of the greatest music DVDs of all time. It chronicles Elvis Presley's 1968 NBC special with beautiful picture and sound to compliment what are the best performances of his life.
The first disc is my favorite of the three. The first thing on the disc is the orignal 1968 special, which despite it's somewhat dated editing cannot be forgotten. For the special itself was what the public saw in 1968 and what revitalized his career.
The second things on disc one are the two sit-down shows. During both of these shows (and both of the stand-up shows on disc 2), Elvis wears a black leather suit which has since became his trademark. The music consisted of an electric guitar, two acoustic guitarsm two guitar cases used as drums, and a tambourine. These shows were also the first time Elvis played electric guitar in public. During these two shows Elvis made the best music of his career. He performed his already classics such as Heartbreak Hotel, One Night, and That's All Right. He performed his lesser known songs such as When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold Again and Trying To Get To You. He performed songs he had never done such as Baby What You Want Me To Do and Tiger Man. He performed like there was no tommorow.
Disc two is my second favorite of all of the discs. The two stand-up shows begin the disc. In these shows, Elvis occasionly would play guitar, but he was also backed by an offstage band and horn section. In these two shows he performed classics such as Hound Dog, Love Me Tender, and Jailhouse Rock, which were not found on the sit-down shows. He also performed the criminally unknown peace anthem, If I Can Dream, the best song he ever recorded.
The remaining contents of the second disc include a special 2004 video of If I Can Dream, an session for an intended promotion for the special, and all the takes of the Trouble/Guitar Man opener of the special, which provided the tone for the special perfectly.
The third disc is last as well as least. It is mostly the same things over and over, but it does give an interesting look at the real Elvis. It contains all of the takes for both of the production numbers in the show. The first of these us the gospel production number which contains Where Could I Go But To The Lord, Up Above My Head, and Saved. The second is the Guitar Man production number, which has the song Guitar Man as a running theme, but also includes the funky-country Nothingville, the too hot for TV (back in 1968) Let Yourself Go, the blues classic Big Boss Man, the ballad It Hurts Me (with a visual showing Elvis' karate skill), the Egyptian-flavored pop Little Egypt, and the 1958 Elvis classic Trouble.
My final word on the DVD set is buy it. Whether you are an Elvis fan or not, buy it. If you like music, buy it."