The Last Vegas Opening Night

By KeesMay 28, 2009
The Last Vegas Opening Night

The Straight Arrow label released Elvis last Las Vegas opening night on a double CD set.


The design is very modern and consequently used throughout the entire release. The liner-notes are well written – an eyewitness report by the person who recorded the concert - and the images and memorabilia complete the package; unfortunately Elvis doesn’t match this “beauty”. Personally I would have put the picture used on the back of the booklet on the front.

Pictured below is the preliminary "black" cover art which was replaced by the "white" design.



The two discs hold a recording of Elvis Presley’s performance from December 2, 1976 as recorded from the audience. Looking back it was his last Opening Night.

The producers originally started work on an 1978 first generation copy for this release, simply because they figured that the original tape was no longer around … but it did pop up from the person who recorded the concert and owns the complete original 120-minute audience recorded master tape. Does this result in a great concert experience? Unfortunately it does not.

Perhaps this sounds a bit harsh, but compared to the recent release “Stranger In The Crowd” I played this afternoon I can’t help but loosing interest in audience recordings. I listen to these releases as a fan, trying to “experience” as many concerts as possible or to write a review. But when I want to enjoy a concert I don’t play that many audience recordings especially when soundboard recordings covering the same years and pretty much the same material are widely available. That said, if you enjoy audience recordings, this is a nice one. Especially on “That’s All Right” and “Bridge Over Troubled Water”, both performed pretty much acoustically you really hear Elvis. Otherwise he sounds a bit in the distance.

As for the show; it is a pretty good show. Elvis, wearing his “King Of Spades” suit, is in a good mood, making the effort and the rounds with the audience. Probably annoying the Hilton because he kept the gamblers away from the slot machines for almost two hours.

Songs that I liked on this release were “And I Love You So”, “Softly As I Leave You”, “Polk Salad Annie” and James Burton on “Johnny B. Goode”. Nice to hear Elvis sing “Hawaiian Wedding Song” but it simply isn’t up to the versions I have in my head. Nice to hear the audience reaction from the audience on the song that started it all, “That’s All Right”.



Straight Arrow delivered probably the definitive release of this concert; that is if no soundboard recording surfaces. A well-designed - pretty different looking - package with an eyewitness report from the show. It does not get any better than this ... unfortunately


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.


Elvis Presley on: eBay, Amazon


You Dont Know Me (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 3, 2009report abuse
A great release and i can hear the show properly for the first time. long and good show and sound is better than i expected-cannot possably be compared to either 20 day and nights or something as this is an audience recording. good booklet liner notes as well.
Greg Nolan (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 6, 2009report abuse
Just got this excellent CD and once again it's a true "experience" when a label like Straight Arrow is involved! This label has almost single-handedly made people re-think the historical value of audience-recordings ( for too long dismissed out of hand by a juvenile desire for best-quality tapes even when they don't exist) coupled with their always interesting and generous booklets. I don't know about some of my fellow fans but I'd like to think I'm becoming part of the "Straight Arrow" completists club. Line up their titles side-by-side and you have a lot of quality work staring back at you. It's not Elvis at his best but it's a very decent and interesting show. Nice work,'Arrow!
Tony C (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 5, 2009report abuse
I believe the mics were hung over the balcony.
Ciscoking (profilecontact) wrote on May 31, 2009report abuse
Where exactly were the mikes placed..?
mature_elvis_fan75 (profilecontact) wrote on May 30, 2009report abuse
I completely agree!
Tony C (profilecontact) wrote on May 30, 2009report abuse
The so-named "soundbooth recordings" were taped using decent microphones and tape machines, unlike the majority of audience recordings. These tapes did manage to capture the audience response and the ambience of the room more than most of the soundboard tapes. The microphones were also placed at a distance from the audience so that they did not dominate the recording or pick up chatter. It is a shame more shows were not taped in this manner, in my opinion the are second only to the multi-track recordings made by RCA.
Ciscoking (profilecontact) wrote on May 30, 2009report abuse
Soundbooth recording ..a middle thing between SBand AR and not bad..
mature_elvis_fan75 (profilecontact) wrote on May 30, 2009report abuse
Ok how about the Aug 20th show on cd 1 of the profile box set vol.1 how was that recorded,its not a soundboard but has great sound!
benny scott (profilecontact) wrote on May 30, 2009report abuse
Lefty, good remark you made about Elvis saying " Thank you..." and one doesn't hear the audience although it's there. Weird indeed. Didn't cross my mind until I read your comment. Always El.
Lefty (profilecontact) wrote on May 30, 2009report abuse
What a fascinating discussion! There are some SB recordings that do capture the audience reactions, and they're all the more exciting for it. A good example is Madison's "A New Kind Of Rhythm!" The crowd goes nuts, and you can clearly hear it throughout. AR's in my opinion, only fill in where a professional or semi-professional recording does not exist. On a SB, it's weird to hear Elvis saying "thankyouverymuch" to an audience response that you cannot hear, even though you know it's there. But it's also weird to hear on an AR all the ongoing gibberish from people in the audience when Elvis is singing a show stopper like Trilogy. Can't say which I'd rather have, but if I had to choose, give me a clean sounding SB any day.
benny scott (profilecontact) wrote on May 29, 2009report abuse
Hi Ciscoking, I see what you mean ! Have to admit what you state makes sense. Always El.
Ciscoking (profilecontact) wrote on May 29, 2009report abuse
Benny you cannot compare a studio disc with a live show a studio recording don`t need a roaring audience. it needs silence. A SB is missing the spirit of a live show, the audience. this is what I meant, the spirit, the life is missing there, the life is the crowd. I prefer a good sounding sounding AR like Royal Gamit in Richfiled or The Final Farewell over a SB like Hurt at any time. Kees, I do know that you heard hundreds of shows, but me too over 650 in any format...;-)
benny scott (profilecontact) wrote on May 29, 2009report abuse
Ciscoking : have to agree with you concerning a good AR and it's "live atmosphere". But stating that a SB-recording is sterile and somehow without life is, in a way, saying that studio-recordings are sterile and without life too, they also miss the 'live atmosphere", don't they ? Would be glad to read your reaction and opinion on that. Always El.
ElvisDayByDay (profilecontact) wrote on May 29, 2009report abuse
Ciscoking, I partly agree with you, therefor I wrote what I wrote. After listening to most of the releases that came out the past ten years doing I can say I heard pretty much heard what's available. Based on that I developed my preferences; soundboard recordings. I did not put off AR, I listen to them, but don't enjoy most of them (anymore). As for Elvis in 1970 or 1976 ... is there any discussion? :-)
elvistruth (profilecontact) wrote on May 29, 2009report abuse
Ciscoking: You're absolutely right!!
Ciscoking (profilecontact) wrote on May 29, 2009report abuse
Kees, obviously you are a SB fan. And that`s o.k., of course. But I think you cannot compare SB to AR., like in this case. this one with Stranger In The Crowd doesn`t work. these are two different things. A SB only features the voice of our man and the musicians in clear sound. the loss in this case is the feeling of a live atmosphere, the audience reactions, the screems, the inreaction with the crowd, all the things which make a live concert. a SB is sterile and somehow without life. I do prefer a good sounding AR over an average SB show at any case. In this case you compared a powerhouse SB performance from 1970 with an audience recorded show from 1976 in not top notch sound (although the sound isn`t bad) and this doesn`t work..

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