The Return Of A Prodigy

By LexSep 25, 2009
The Return Of A Prodigy

After doing nearly nothing miraculous for nearly a decade, Elvis returned to live performances in 1968 after many dull movies. Suddenly he had it again resulting in less dull movies, the fabulous ’69 sessions and a return to the stage. This CD by Gravel Road Music brings us (again) the earliest available show from the 1969 Las Vegas engagement. Is it a prodigy itself?



The design is quite stunning. The booklet is nearly to thick to fit in the cardboard fold out sleeve. The sleeve itself has a fantastic shot on the front, inside more live shots and the presentation of the golden belt after the engagement was over.

The booklet carries many live pictures from the actual show (according to the producers). The interesting report by one of the lucky fans that was at the show is decorated with many of those pictures. After the report the booklet contains some excerpts of the monologues and a presentation of the people that were interviewed before opening night. Furthermore the producers explain the difference between the Fort Baxter outing of this show and why they called their CD opening night. Next to the many pictures there are some memorabilia available too, like the menu and an invitation card. Speaking about those… as an extra surprise Gravel Road added an envelope with a couple of cards printed both sides with some promotion material and a live shot. We were happy to get all four of them, but were told that most people just get two…


Since the FB release was one of my favourite live shows, I first compared the sound of the two discs. This new outing sounds clearer than the Baxter disc, which sounds a bit muffled every now and then. Sometimes the new one sounds a bit too clear, especially when the Sweets are upfront (Hey Jude and What’d I Say sound a bit hard on the ears because of it).

Content wise this is one of my favourites because Elvis is very tight, he has a lot of fun between songs, but he hardly messes up lyrics with jokes or otherwise. Also the arrangements are a bit different from the later shows that were recorded by RCA. The orchestra is not that prominent, and I always liked just Elvis with the band the most.


If not for the sound improvement, the stunning artwork made this purchase worthwhile.. It’s not a real prodigy, but compared to what Sony delivers it is almost a miracle what caring bootleggers can do… hats off for Gravel Road Music!


  1. Opening Theme
  2. Blue Suede Shoes
  3. I Got A Woman
  4. All Shook Up
  5. Love Me Tender
  6. Jailhouse Rock / Don't Be Cruel
  7. Heartbreak Hotel
  8. Hound Dog
  9. Memories
  10. Mystery Train / Tiger Man
  11. Life Story (Monologue 2
  12. Baby What You Want Me To Do
  13. Runaway
  14. Are You Lonesome Tonight?
  15. Yesterday / Hey Jude
  16. Introductions
  17. In The Ghetto
  18. Suspicious Minds
  19. Can't Help Falling In Love
  20. Interviews - Before Opening Night (July 31, 1969
  21. Radio Spots From 1969

Related Links

Elvis Presley on: eBay, Amazon


You Dont Know Me (profilecontact) wrote on Oct 26, 2009report abuse
I have critically listened to this again and the 10% improvement (over the fort baxter release)and CLEAR SOUND makes this THE version to play/listen too our hero at his absolute earthy best(even if after careful listening he makes it clear he's NOT actually working his ass off at this particular dinner show!) despite this fact to listen too its a 10/10 show!~
Jungle Room (profilecontact) wrote on Oct 16, 2009report abuse
A great concert, although the sound is a bit flat. However, this is a fantastic release with one of the best booklets in an Elvis-cd ever!
Erika Freiburger (profilecontact) wrote on Oct 13, 2009report abuse
It's one of the best Elvis-concerts i've ever heard. The design is beautiful. A first-class release. Thank you. Love,Erika
Orion (profilecontact) wrote on Oct 7, 2009report abuse
I'm sure that many will misinterpret what I am about to say - but that's par for the course on a public forum. So, here goes: I have enjoyed all of the releases that Sony / FTD / RCA have put out over the years of Elvis in 1969 in Vegas, but this CD really made me understand the excitement generated by Elvis as he returned to the stage. There is something magical about this show and its music. I have the original Ft. Baxter CD of this show and must admit that I have rarely played it over the years. However, this CD is fantastic. The booklet (with its great narrative and pictures) and the re-mastering work by Gravel road make this a must-have CD. I put my headphones on and for 60 + minutes was lost in the magic that was Elvis live. I'm ready to stop typing and listen again. Thank you Gravel Road.
Sirbalkan (profilecontact) wrote on Oct 1, 2009report abuse
Great cd and package. Buy it before it's too late.That's it... :)
Greg Nolan (profilecontact) wrote on Sep 27, 2009report abuse
Cher, I think the Presley family (including the 32 years -deceased Elvis Presley) is doing pretty well for itself, with the King having sold more than any other artist and being on "60 Minutes" tonight as the center of the "Business" Elvis still does... So the bootleg market has pushed RCA/Sony to make FTD a better label...and it all works out. Get this release with confidence!Thanks for the informative review, Lex! This one is a another Gravel Road triumph.. (Goodbye to my old Fort Baxter...)
theoldscudder (profilecontact) wrote on Sep 27, 2009report abuse
Cher, I saw this on Ebay. Just put in Elvis & the title. I think the auction closes on Sunday. Hope this helps.
Cher (profilecontact) wrote on Sep 26, 2009report abuse
Okay after much searching I cannot find a source to purchase this? Can someone please fill me in? Everybody's talking about it but no one says where you can get it and I feel like I'm the ugly kid in the class being left out. ;-) I'm not really up on bootlegs cause I always thought it was considered uncool to deprive the artist of the royalties but I think I can put aside my objections in this case. I really want to hear this cd so would appreciate it if someone can clue me in?
marco31768 (profilecontact) wrote on Sep 25, 2009report abuse
No great improve sound but a fantastic artwork ! Gravel Road is great !!!
Ciscoking (profilecontact) wrote on Sep 25, 2009report abuse
Excellent review,..nothing more to words exactly...
FJE (profilecontact) wrote on Sep 25, 2009report abuse
I received my copy yesterday and all I can say is WOW! Lex is right about the booklet and packaging being stunning. If someone has an extra one send it to the FTD team to show how things should be done! The show is fantastic as well with great sound and if like me you never had the Fort Baxter release it truly is a must buy. The only downside for me is the extra envelope with two cards included that Lex mentions, cos I got none with my copy. :(

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