Named after a review headline in the New York Times, a more modest version of this live album was originally released in 1972 under the title As Recorded At Madison Square Garden. With hindsight, it emerges as a pivotal collection, sandwiched between the career resuscitation of the lean and hungry Memphis recordings that followed the iconic ’68 TV special and the diminishing returns of Presley’s last few years as a tired and bloated stage performer.
This new package brings together the two full shows from which the original release was put together, and it’s a very wonderful thing indeed. Elvis is in phenomenal voice, rich and commanding on the towering balladry of Until It’s Time For You To Go, electrifying when touching base with his R&B roots on Reconsider Baby, and positively on fire during Suspicious Minds.
Seeing as its contents comprise the afternoon and evening shows from the same day there’s a fair amount of repetition, but we should be OK with that. Subtle differences between the two performances are detectable, while Presley’s stage banter (not included on the original release) reinforce the sensation of the listener actually being in the auditorium, witness to a legend effortlessly showing us how he earned the soubriquet in the first place.