Music is like no other art form. For those of us of a certain mentality, it can drive you crazy; manifesting in a love for the form in general and The Golden Road to Unlimited Devotion for a particular artist long after death. And I mean your own, not theirs. Mozart comes to mind. Elvis, of course. I love ‘em both. But it’s Jerry Garcia that “rocks my soul”. “When you’ve heard him on record, really there, that’s nothing until you’ve heard the live performances. I remember the first time I saw him live, with the Grateful Dead on 4/23/77 – Springfield Civic Center. He walked out on stage & that’s all it took for me. Ya know, I was a fan immediately. Before…I had heard a lot about him, said, ‘Ya sure. Nobody, NOBODY is that good!’. Well, he’s that good. He’s…um…the original creator of this style – what people call jam bands, a term I take exception to. Well not the original creator, but blended it & put it together in a way that it stayed. And…when he did this, he created something that nobody [laugh-talking] knew where it was gonna stop. A Jerryhead is more than just a follower. It just…somebody that cares enough that they devote a good part of their life to him. I collect every show I can get on CD. I’ve got 100’s of dollars worth of CD books of these shows, taken up in the house anywhere I can get ‘em. And Jerry was very patient with his fans. He really liked them. He loved them”, just like Elvis did his. And as you watch Elvis: That’s the Way It Is, you’ll see this come thru loud & clear! Jerry, by the way, was a huge fan of Elvis’: He covered Mystery Train
and That’s All Right Mama
with the Grateful Dead and his side projects; Run Tutt, Elvis’ drummer, played in Jerry’s solo bands from ’75-‘77;
and Grateful Dead and Jerry Band backup vocalist, Donna Jean Godchaux (née Thatcher), was on the From Elvis in Memphis LP as well as Suspicious Minds which was originally released as a single.
That’s the Way It Is, which reached #22 on the Variety National Box Office Survey in 1970, documents Elvis’ return to touring after 12 years. In reality, it wasn’t much of a tour. He played the Elvis Summer Festival from 8/10/70 thru 9/7/70 at the International Hotel’s Showroom Internationale in Vegas, then toured for a week. Elvis’ longtime manager, Col. Tom Parker, is credited as Technical Adviser. He wanted the project to be a closed circuit broadcast of one of the shows, but it was not to be. It was an MGM release, and they did all the filming & called the shots. The studio rehearsals are at MGM Studios in Culver City CA and RCA Studios, Hollywood. The live segments are all from Vegas – opening night and Evening & Midnight performances the next 3 nights. During the opening sequence, a live performance of Mystery Train/Tiger Man, there’s a fan-made sign hung indicating the show is from 9/9/70 – AZ Coliseum, Phoenix, but it’s not. That was the only show of the tour in Phoenix & the tune wasn’t played there. It’s masterfully edited to give the impression that the documentary is of the tour. Film Editing is part of post-production, meaning it takes place after filming is completed. It’s the art of sequencing footage according to the director’s instructions. In 1970, editing was done by splicing sections of film together. Now it’s done digitally. Film Editor Henry Berman combines concert footage, interviews, fans comments, the International Hotel’s Press Conference & such brilliantly in this great documentary of The Return of The King, Denis Sanders’ Elvis: That’s the Way It Is. Unfortunately, this is not available for free but can be rented from Amazon Video for $2.99. So watch the trailer below then head over to Amazon to see the full movie. [Elvis] “Thank you. Thank you very much”. 3 Stars!