Originally released back in November 1970 That's The Way It Is combined eight studio tracks from the June sessions and four live concert performances from his August 1970 Las Vegas 'Summer Festival' to create what many critics have since called 'one of his best albums.' Despite being released to coincide with the movie it could never be considered as a soundtrack album with only the four live recordings but that didn't stop it selling by the truckload. Highlights on the album included live versions of You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin', Patch It Up and I Just Can't Help Believing.
The rehearsals show an artist and his band working tirelessly trying out new songs and showing his desire to share the music that he loved with his audience. The previous two Las Vegas engagements (August 1969 and February 1970) had seen him concentrate mainly on his hits but for his third appearance in the 'Bright Light City' he worked up a wider selection of material and rather than concentrate on the twenty or so songs he had performed previously, this time he worked on over sixty, many of which would, unfortunately, be dropped by the time opening night arrived. However, there would still be enough new material to keep the thousands of fans who filled the International Hotel Showroom each night. Sanders captured the end result magnificently giving fans all over the world a glimpse of Elvis at the peak of his vocal prowess during rehearsals and on-stage.
In 2000 the 3-CD set That's The Way It Is Special Edition was issued with the original album and tracks from the 1970 Nashville sessions on disc one, the complete previously unreleased 12 August Midnight Show on the second disc and a third with a mix of live and rehearsal material, most of which had never been issued previously. A good choice of material was only let down by a poor cover design.
The following year saw the release of the Live In Las Vegas 4-CD box set that, among other live recordings, gave us the complete 11 August Midnight show. Presented in a long-form book style package with a comprehensive booklet it was a much more pleasing package to hold than the previous release.
Follow That Dream, the Elvis collectors label, continued to mine the 1970 studio and live recordings with One Night In Vegas featuring the complete 10 August Dinner Show, That's The Way It Is (in their classic album series with a second disc of outtakes from the June 1970 Nashville sessions) and also The Way It was, a CD/Book combo that featured scores of photographs in colour and B&W along with a CD of performances from each and every recorded event with many making their first appearance.
The new Deluxe Edition puts the original RCA album and the 1970 MGM documentary feature together in a single package for the first time but, in what has to be the most ambitious Elvis Presley restoration package ever created, the set offers much, much more. Spread across eight discs are the expanded version of the original album, the six complete shows with two (the 11 and 12 August Dinner Shows) making their first appearance in their entirety, rare rehearsals along with two DVDs featuring the original 1970 theatrical movie and the re-edited 2001 Special Edition. All the rehearsals have been out before and it is a shame that, with the wealth of unreleased tracks still known to exist, that a few more couldn't have been included.
Presented in a 12 x 12 box which houses the CDs and DVDs on individual card sleeves and a comprehensive booklet full of photos, memorabilia, informative liner notes and full recording data this is a classy package.
The 2-CD Legacy Edition, which is basically a cut-down version of the deluxe edition, give us the original album, with bonus tracks and the complete 12 August Dinner Show, a 24-page booklet with full recording information, liner notes, photos and rare memorabilia is also included. Those who have purchased previous Legacy Editions will know what to expect in the way of quality, sound and packaging.
The Deluxe edition and Legacy Editions are highly recommended so pick up a copy today and enjoy… The Way It Was!