Here are my first impressions of the new BMG "Live In Las Vegas" 4 CD's box-set ... TOTALLY AWESOME!!!
Indeed BMG has produced a great set and although there are a few gaps like no tracks from 1971, 1973 and 1976 this is still a great buy. The packaging is the same as "Platinum" and contains a lot of rare pictures (not so rare for me excepted for a few) and most people will appreciate this. Several of these photographs were taken by fans back then and includes the work of Judy Palmer and Sue McCasland among others. There's a few mistakes on certain dates like photos from September '74 are being labeled as being from 1973 while a few from August 1972 are being mentioned as from 1973.
The music itself is excellent too of course. The first CD starts with the complete show from August 24th 1969 D.S. (the "Here I Go Again" concert on DAE is the midnight show from the same date) and as all the ones we've heard so far...pure dynamite. The second CD contains the complete August 11th 1970 m.s. and is also kickin' a**......"That's All Right" is a good indication of what is coming and Elvis was definitely in control... so nice to finally get another alternative live version of "I Just Can't Help Believin" and an excellent version too. This is interesting to note that "When The Snow Is On The Roses" is from an audience recording tape and sounded to my ears the same as the famed LP "Hillbilly Cat Live", perhaps a bit cleaned up but nonetheless the same. Still a nice add to the set though.
A nice surprise was the third CD, indeed the sound was improved on many songs or should I say instead better remixed ... several tracks benefit from this, especially "Long Tall Sally" and Little Sister/Get Back" among others. A lot of those tracks sounded flat on "Burning Love" CD and the "revamped On Stage" version, but not anymore with the excellent work of BMG sound engineers. I thought I wouldn't play that CD too often...well I was wrong as I'll play it as much as the others ... BMG really did a nice job on those tracks.
The last CD contains the May '56 tracks and of course the soundboard recordings. Overall the soundboard recordings are quite nice to hear but noticed some didn't really sound much better than some we've got into the "import world", for instance I thought the tracks from the opening show of August 1974 sound similar that the DAE release and better when compared to the Baxter outing "If You Talk In Your Sleep". The latter song from August 21st 1974 is very very good...perhaps one of the best I've heard and "I'm Leavin" from the same date is equally a strong version after the humerous introduction by Elvis. "Green Green Grass Of Home" and most of all the ones from March & December '75 are excellent and a nice proof that Elvis was still able to sing well and rock beyond 1973.
Somehow I was afraid to be a bit disappointed with this set ... well I'm not and in fact quite pleased so keep up the good work. Hey BMG...how about a similar set in a few years with materials recorded during Elvis' numerous tours?