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Opening Night - January 1970

By ElvisNews.com/ Lex, May 17, 2008 | Music

A couple of months ago we got Closing Night in a much better quality than before, does the same goes for Opening Night? 


It’s a Madison release, so what can I say without repeating myself over and over again? Madison is a synonym for superior quality, and once again they underlined that with this release. A beautiful package that is combining nicely with their Closing Night outing. The liner notes are to the point and nicely written.


The content is for me out of discussion, the 1970 Elvis is from another planet and always outstanding. What I cared about is the quality, is it indeed better than before? I can only answer that with YES at the top of my lungs. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still far from perfect, the balance of the recording is not better than it is: unbalanced with Elvis very upfront. At least there is hardly distortion and you can just listen, without trying to pull your head between your shoulders. A bit further on the sound gets better and better, or am I just getting used to it? No, it actually does!
For those who are not that familiar with this engagement:
Elvis, Las Vegas 1970Elvis opens with a frantic All Shook Up and goes on in high speed with That’s All Right and Proud Mary before calming down with Don’t Cry Daddy. Although we get the Teddy Bear/ Don’t Be Cruel medley already in January 1970, it is nothing compared to the later boring throwaway version. This medley actually rocks, even the Teddy Bear part. Long Tall Sally is one of the highlights to me; this is rock’n’roll like it ought to be. Let It Be Me is in one word extraordinaire and although I really love Tom Jones’ bluesy version of I Can’t Stop Loving You, Elvis’ powerhouse version is not much less (if at all).
Next up is the premiere of Walk a Mile in My Shoes, a song that gives me mixed feelings I love the song, but I hate the fans that misuse the lyrics when they are out of arguments. In this version the violins add a special touch, more than on other versions. The song goes flawlessly into In the Ghetto, which is followed by another song of the famous ’69 sessions: True Love Travels on a Gravel Road. It is great in its rarity and one of my favourite songs of the session, but honestly I have to admit I understand why it was dropped from the set list pretty quickly. It is just not it.
Another premiere is Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline. Another performance that doesn’t go without an error, but this one survived. A song that was new and just fell into place is Tony Joe White’s Polk Salad Annie. This is why Elvis it the king, the way he embraced this song and lived it… WOW!
Gladly during this part of his career the introductions were short without boring solos and used to get his breath back before going into a perfect outing of Kentucky Rain, although the finale by the orchestra is a bit over the top. Suspicious Minds still had the extended treatment it got in August ’69 and the show is closed with my favourite lullaby Can’t Help Falling In Love. Well, I don’t like lullabies at all and I can’t get sleep anyway right after enjoying this latest Madison escape. 


Next to the completeness of the show, the quality has improved big time over earlier outings of this show. A must have for music lovers!
P.S. for the wise noses who might point to my remark of last week about having TTWII in my player for a long, long time: I used my DVD player this time ;-).


1- Opening /All Shook Up 2:22
2- That's All Right 2:51
3- Proud Mary 2:55
4- Don't Cry Daddy 3:00
5- Medley: Teddy Bear / Don't Be Cruel 2:24
6- Long Tall Sally 1:50
7- Let It Be Me 3:53
8- I Can't Stop Loving You 2:50
9- Medley: Walk A Mile In My Shoes 2:56
10- In The Ghetto 3:23
11- True Love Travels On A Gravel Road (with false start) 3:44
12- Sweet Caroline 4:02
13- Polk Salad Annie 5:27
14- Introduction of vocalists, band, orchestra 2:16
15- Kentucky Rain 3:18
16- Suspicious Minds 6:27
17- Can't Help Falling In Love 2:02

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Greg Nolan wrote on May 17, 2008
Great, up-beat review, Lex. Anyone who doesn't put each and every "Madison" on their short-list of automatic buys had better have a genuine case of being short of funds! I know this concert but look forward to the upgrade. I get your point but Elvis' "Teddy Bear / Don't Be Cruel" medley was probably never boring for those who'd never seen Elvis come to their town. For those who are not that familiar with this engagement: Also, who and what points are being made by people who reference Elvis' cover of "Walk A Mile in My Shoes"? As a good rule of thumb, it's a pretty true sentiment no matter the issue. I disagree about " True Love Travels on a Gravel Road"- I actually wish it hadn't been dropped. I think it works fine live. Arbitrarily, however, it got the "heave ho." I don't have a major problem with his use of introductions and soloing later in the decade, although I agree it too often represented padding. Arguably few people could keep going at the lean and mean level he had in 1970. Sometimes I see shots of him in TTWII and I think he looks *too* thin, as in "give that boy a sandwich..or get him off diet pills!" You're so right about Polk Salad Annie: he totally took over that song and made it his - in all versions right up to '76 -'77 even. All in all, you are right : a must-have release! I 'll be picking it up.
GeertFromNl wrote on May 17, 2008
The best Madison CD,no doubt about it!
Lefty wrote on May 18, 2008
Lex, I'm with you regarding the quality of Madison's releases. My favorite thus far is A New Kind Of Rythym. One Night is also another keeper, and it looks like Opening Night will join the ranks of "must have CD's." Although I love Elvis live all the way to the last concert, I do agree that the introductions/solos became a crutch for Elvis to lean on starting in '75 through '77. At times, Elvis seemed to be a guest star at his own show! Gratefully, we have a lot of Elvis from every era to keep it all interesting.
Miguel28 wrote on May 23, 2008
I'm listening to this CD now, the sound is great, but just have to point out, like Lex said, that Elvis voice is too much loud comparing to the band sound.
Greg Nolan wrote on May 23, 2008
I've just received this fantastic companion to Madison's "Closing Night, Februrary 1970" - what a "must-have"! These tracks are finally all together where they belong and our hero is hitting on all cylinders throughout! From the punk-style opening "All Shook Up" to the Sun-flavored opening of "That's All Right" and plethora of contempory songs like "True Love Travels on A Gravel Road," it's all killer, no filler. I was so pleased at the fresh, quality audio of the latter rare live version. And yes, the sound overall settles down and truly improves as you go along. Liner note scribe "Baldo Peter" returns in fine fashion from "Closing Night" to put this set in perspective in a noteworthy cracking, informative style, along with truly arresting photos and graphics. They seem to have chosen some of the most dynamic contemporary shots of the King, along with striking pull-quotes and insertions like that fine picture of Elvis' original Sun record of "That's All Right" along with a modern photo of him in action. The folks who issue this stuff again have knocked themselves out and again redeemed the power of Vegas Elvis all over again. This is immediately one of my all-time favorite live shows.
Steve V wrote on May 24, 2008
You folks all played this cd once & loved it. I did the same with Madison's Closing Night! But upon subsequent plays I tend to be bothered by the sound and thus reach for another show instead. So I must ask you, is this a cd you can play over & over again? The Elvis too much up front comments tend to bother me.
Jim says hello wrote on May 24, 2008
Elvis can never be too upfront for me... strip the band right back and give me him a cappella... the sample of 'True Love Travels on a Gravel Road' sounds pretty good and eminently replayable- can't wait for this one to arrive.
Ciscoking wrote on May 26, 2008
It`s the ultimate release of this show,..no matter what ..and complete for the first time..I checked with the AR I have of this concert....Can`t Help Falling In Love matches..!
Greg Nolan wrote on May 28, 2008
Cisco is right : this is the *ultimate* version of this great show and that's all that counts. Steve V: if we had top-class "official" multi-track stereo original master tapes furnished by RCA, don't you think we'd be hearing them? There are limits to what can be done to the tapes we have (be it Elvis "upfront", just right or "lost in the mix") but surely this is the very version of this great show (best sound, best package) from the definitive Elvis year of 1970! I"m ditching the two CDs that previously covered this show! Bravo, Madison! What a banner year!
the colonel wrote on June 11, 2008
wasn't that impressed with the sound here the claims of improved sound is a little misleading , loved the booklet as always a great job.
You Dont Know Me wrote on June 12, 2008
I was glad to have this release.Being a completeist i liked getting the show in full and the sound improvement was obvious soon into the show.Booklet also was great making this simply THE version of the January 1970 opening show to get and no need of anything else.QUALITY
Jesse Garon Presley wrote on June 13, 2008
you should get your ears checked " the colonel". the sound is absolute an improvement beyond words. why can we hear the diffrence..and u don't? the package is AWESOME and the sound is MAGIC
Jesse Garon Presley wrote on June 13, 2008
goes for you too Steve v
Jesse Garon Presley wrote on June 13, 2008
i mean what the sound quality is concerned..
Greg Nolan wrote on June 17, 2008
I agree with you, Henk. What's to complain about with this release!
Jesse Garon Presley wrote on June 17, 2008
thnx Greg Nolan for your support!! : ) this cd is without a doubt a truly AWESOME addition to my collection
Steve V wrote on June 17, 2008
So how does the sound compare with Madison's Closing Night CD? Better, worse or comparable?
I Saw the Light wrote on June 18, 2008
To answer your question Steve V: IMO this two cd's are comparable soundwise. There are some differences, of course: on Opening Night most of the tracks sound really good ( especially True Love Travels on The Gravel Road), deep and clear, but some imperfections (the sound is pretty unbalanced, with Elvis really up front or orchestra is tooo loud and sounds strange on I Can't Stop Loving You or Suspicious minds) are more audible; i found Closing Night more fun to listen to, and the sound is more enjoyable in my opinion comparing with Opening Night. Only thing I really hate on Closing Night are HORRIBLE Sweet Inspirations on C.C. Rider - they are destroying that particular song, they are pretty annoying and so fxxxxxx loud.
Steve V wrote on June 19, 2008
i saw the light - thanks. Much obliged.