The CD was announced late last year, but now we received more information on the upcoming Straight Arrow release of the opening night of Elvis' last Vegas gig on December 2, 1976:
The Press release
I JUST CAN'T HELP BELIEVIN' / THE LAST OPENING NIGHT
As recorded at the Hilton Hotel showroom in Las Vegas, Nevada, December 2nd, 1976, Opening show.
Straight Arrow label announced its 12th release near the end of December; a double CD with the famous December 2nd, 1976 Opening Night. Some fans are asking, “Why is this release delayed and will it ever see the daylight?”. The answer is very simple: Straight Arrow is here to give you the best possible quality. We originally intended to use a 1978 first generation copy for this release, simply because we figured that the original tape was no longer around or could no longer be traced. But then, as the project was almost near completion, our search for the original tape finally paid off, and we got in touch with the person who recorded the concert and owns the original 120-minute mastertape. The sound fidelity and overall quality of this tape is FAR superior to any copy in circulation, and unlike these copies is also 100% complete!
The negotiations took some time, but we came to an agreement, and the Straight Arrow team is now working its magic on the original tape. We can assure you that you will be impressed when you hear this; one of the King’s finest ’76 concerts in a remarkably clear and dynamic sound. The person who recorded the show also wrote the liner notes, a unique eye-witness perspective from a person who was THERE and describes the show in fascinating detail.
Excerpts from the sleeve notes:
"There was a surprise then, as Elvis decided to sing "I Just Can't Help Believin'", creating pure magic and getting well-deserved applause. The mood changed completely: "Fever" was as sexy as ever, as Elvis, did exaggerated leg movements in the red spotlight. Charlie brought out a blue chair, but Elvis refused it, and began to tell the poignant story that led into "Softly As I Leave You". A pulsating intro could only mean one thing - "Polk Salad Annie". Elvis moved to the funky new arrangement and the heavy rock beat, raising excitement levels in the showroom."
"The show - probably the second longest of Elvis's career - was drawing to a close. Elvis treated the audience to a fine "Bridge Over Troubled Water", introduced his father, thanked the crowd "for making this opening night really fantastic", and, ignoring requests for yet more songs, began "Can't Help Falling In Love". The-usual scarf-and-kiss routine drew many fans to the edge of the stage. Two tiny girls in blue dresses were put up onto the stage. Elvis acknowledged the crowd's ovation before disappearing under the descending gold curtain. He'd never be quite as dynamic again during the 12-day season, but it had been an opening night to remember - over 100 Magic Minutes."
CD1: 01. Also Sprach Zarathustra - 02. C. C. Rider - 03. I Got A Woman / Amen - 04. Love Me - 05. If You Love Me (Let Me Know) - 06. You Gave Me A Mountain - 07. Jailhouse Rock - 08. It's Now Or Never / Are You Sincere (excerpt) - 09. All Shook Up - 10. (Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear / Don't Be Cruel - 11. Dialogue / Don't Be Cruel (excerpt) - 12. And I Love You So - 13. I Just Can't Help Believin' (by request / last live version) - 14. Fever - 15. Softly As I Leave You - 16. Polk Salad Annie.
CD2: 01. Band Introductions - 02. Early Mornin' Rain - 03. What'd I Say - 04. Johnny B. Goode - 05. Drum Solo (Ronnie Tutt) - 06. Bass Solo (Blues - Jerry Scheff) - 07. Piano Solo (Tony Brown) - 08. Electric Piano & Clavinet Solo (David Briggs) - 09. Love Letters - 10. School Day - 11. Celebrity Introductions (Vikki Carr, Glen Campbell) - 12. Hurt #1 - 13. Hurt #2 - 14. Hound Dog (with false start) - 15. Hawaiian Wedding Song (with false start) - 16. Dialogue - 17. Blue Christmas - 18. That's All Right, Mama - 19. Bridge Over Troubled Water - 20. Introduction of Vernon Presley - 21. Can't Help Falling In Love - 22. Closing Vamp.
Approx. runing time: 101 minutes