The first thing that draws your attention on holding the Elvis '77 : The Final Curtain
set is the look, the presentation artwork is like never before. It is extremely well made, with high quality binding and workmanship.
Then on opening and sliding out the 400 page hardcover book and the CD 'holder' section from their sturdy case, the excitement of just holding and opening the book is immense. The book would easily sell for $150 on its own and sell very well, it is a superb record of the time.
The book is packed with more than a thousand pictures mostly never before seen with reviews, full text featuring all the tours and rare facts etc and, a layout that made what most people thought impossible to do, a 1977 book finally look worthy of a release. Printed on beautiful silk paper this hard back edition is a must for any true fan of Elvis Presley. Normally one would stop what they are doing and sit down and spend a good deal of time going though the book, but I found my self going for the DVDs quickly.
With this set there is so much more to 'distract' the Elvis fan, on further inspection you will find two DVDs flush on the inside of the front cover and two more on the back cover. And these are the main attraction.
The 6 DVD collection is an absolute must have, this includes 8mm footage with more than 2 hours of unreleased footage with the best sound possible on all footage. The 8mm DVD's are dual layered for maximum length with maximum quality and all have multi angle viewing. Included in this section is 36 minutes of unreleased footage from Indianapolis alone.
The first most will go for is the 1977 CBS TV Special, and that made its way into my DVD player really quickly. And it is a delight to view this in stunning picture quality. The film source is a transfer from a first generation digital copy of a broadcast tape and has been remastered on a 'frame by frame' basis. This is the first time we can genuinely say we as fans can watch the Special on DVD in good quality. Next the two DVDs in the front are the entire concerts filmed to make the above mentioned CBS TV Special.
They are Omaha June 19, 1977 and Rapid City June 21, 1977, the second show being from where much of the Special was taken. Now here on these two DVDs we have an amazing advance in picture quality.
Never before have I seen anything other than complete fuzzy crap, sold as 'best on DVD so far'. This is amazing, completely watchable, not something only for collectors. The Rapid City show is very close quality wise to the CBS Special with Omaha being a couple of notches below that. But both are still in excellent quality when compared to the 5th generation degraded copies that have been inflicted on us fans for too long now.
Words are hard to find to adequately describe my joy in watching these three DVDs, two complete concerts and the famous, elusive CBS TV Special. One long time mystery to me is now two, I have never understood why Unchained Melody, an absolutely brilliant performance by Elvis, was not included in the 'CBS Special', now after, for the first time, watching the Omaha concert I have to ask the question, why did they not use the performance of Are You Lonesome Tonight? from this show rather than the Rapid City version they considered so bad they had to overdub the part where Elvis forgets the words when the Omaha version is not only better, it is out right hilarious with Elvis and Charlie hamming it up at one point (Charlie is holding the microphone), Elvis even restarts the some moments into it as he got the lyric wrong, and then proceeded with a very good version. Great entertainment from the King of music, Elvis Presley and Boxcar
The Six CDs
Now the set also includes six (6) CDs, and they are in the second portion of the set that slides out of the case, (view image below). But are the CDs something that will get much time in the CD player? To my surprise in all but two and a half of the CDs (Disc 6 is is one as it is an audience recording, being Elvis' historic last ever concert) the sound quality ranges from extremely good soundboard (None better ever released sound wise) to dame near perfect stereo with Elvis in fine voice. The concerts come from, February, March, May, April and June 1977 and Elvis sounds fantastic. This will be a matter of opinion but these early '77 shows give us Elvis before he became really unwell. The only other CDs to have what I consider to be unsatisfactory sound quality, are CD 5 and the first 12 tracks of CD 2, this is a previously un issued soundboard so we can excuse it for that reason, in fact Boxcar have gone to extraordinary lengths to restore the tape so when all is considered it is really is in very good sound, just not one that is up to the high standard of the rest of the CDs nor to my high standards, so the first 12 tracks wont get time in my CD player. However it's better than some soundboard's released by FTD, and many fans will enjoy the rare performance of Big Boss Man, and a rather lengthy My Way (6 minutes) and importantly the last 12 tracks on the same disc are back to the high standard of sound quality and they definitely will by played often, they are a combination of different shows, we get good performances of My Way, rare performance of Bosom Of Abraham/You Better Run, Blue Christmas and How Great Thou Art.
Also included on the CD's are highlighted show recordings from 1977 and we have a new version of Elvis' last show in Indianapolis on June 26, 1977, which has had an updated transfer from the original dual audience reel tape and re-mastered to exceptional sound quality than ever before. This box could not be complete without having the last show, the final curtain, being in the final sound quality. All of the audio materials contained in the box are taken from 1st generation copies of original Soundboard / RCA tapes.