Opening Night, 1969
Blue Suede Shoes
I Got A Woman
All Shook Up
Love Me Tender
Jailhouse Rock/ Don't Be Cruel
Mystery Train/ Tiger Man
Life story (dialogue)
Baby What You Want Me To Do
Are You Lonesome Tonight
Yesterday/ Hey Jude
In The Ghetto
What'd I Say
Can't Help Falling In Love
"I watched the audience as he walked out on Stage, and so many had their faces in their hands. They'd sit there and cry. It was almost Biblical, as if the clouds had parted and down a Shaft of Light came the Angels." - Bill Jost, Assistant Maitre d', Showroom of International Hotel, Las Vegas.
After spending Nine Years in front of the Hollywood Cameras, Elvis returned to live performing again. His style and Power remained undiminished and his voice…oh yes his incredible voice was more richer and vibrant than it had ever been. This CD is a Must for everyone, not just any Elvis fan or music lover. This show is not the Opening Night show. That event took place the night before on July 31. In the audience for the opening show were soundtrack composer Henry Mancini, Cary Grant, Sammy Davis Jr., Tom Jones, Juliet Prowse, Fats Domino, Pat Boone, numerous other stars of stage and screen and, of course, Vernon, Priscilla, Colonel Parker, the Memphis Mafia, and even Sam Phillips. During these shows Elvis moved all over the stage, but his early hip-swinging gyrations had been replaced with more precise, graceful, equally exciting body movements based on his karate exercises. The audience was Ecstatic and the critics raved. "Supernatural," said Rolling Stone. "Incredible," said Newsweek. This featured concert is his first in front of the General Public in nearly nine years, and it is just as incredible. This is the Jewel of all of Elvis' CD's and Recordings. The sound is really great and the show is one of the best out there.
Elvis Opens with a really great, almost bluesy sounding version of "Blue Suede Shoes". As opposed to the version on the RCA Album Elvis in Person, this version seems to be looser and more rocking. "I Got a Woman" is next and is pure rock and roll. Elvis did not yet have J.D. Sumner and the Stamps as a backup group. He had the Sweet Inspirations, along with the Great Imperials, whose voice combined adds a fresh feel to the concert for all of us used to J.D. and the Stamps' style. Every song in this concert rocks folks, and especially so because all the songs are being performed by Elvis for the first time in front of an audience in nine years. To the listener, and the Elvis fan, this concert is obviously going to be special. We all know how good Elvis' opening shows were, even in the later years, so u can imagine this show after all the years he was making movies in Hollywood and could not perform. Performing live was something which Elvis clearly missed doing in the 60's. His energy and charisma was at a high peak during this time, and this can be seen in his Comeback Special a year earlier.
After several Great Rock and Roll Numbers, Elvis performs "Memories". Memories is performed so well that it can reduce the listener to tears. Elvis also does a lengthy talk about his life, and how he got involved in performing. "I had just gotten out of high school and I was studying to be an electrician…And I guess I got wired the wrong way or something". His monologues and his manner of speaking are so different than they would be a few short years later. Here he is funny and charming, yet so full of life. It is ironic that he had so much energy and life and charm, yet in the Later years he took various medications to produce the same effects. His charisma and energy here is so far beyond what any kind of drug could produce. Another highlight of this show is "Yesterday", which is so beautifully sung. All the strings and voices can be heard so clear and the way Elvis sings it puts his whole life into perspective for the listener. "Hey Jude" is next and it really rocks. The ending is great, and I can picture Elvis doing some Karate moves while Ronnie Tutt beats on his drums.
"Suspicious Minds" has some great guitar work by James Burton, and Elvis does an outstanding number, clocking it in at over eight minutes, just as his version the night before. A really great version of "What I'd Say" is next and it also rocks. It is so different from the versions that Elvis did later on. Compare this version to the Burning in Birmingham concert and you'll know what I mean. Here Elvis' voice shows the passion he has deep down in his soul for singing, something that dwindled in the later years. Elvis closes with "Can't Help Falling in Love". This song is not rushed, and Elvis puts as much energy and emotion into it as he did with all the songs for the evening. This concert was clearly a treat for the 3500 in attendance that night.
As I said before, every song on this CD is a highlight! RCA should be ashamed of themselves for not releasing this to the public. It is clearly Elvis at his best on stage; it ranks right up there with his Comeback. This concert, when compared to the RCA album Elvis in Person, is far superior. On the RCA album, Elvis was already starting to become used to the songs. Elvis lived for live performing, but here it is all new to Elvis, and the songs are performed with a lot more soul. That's what Elvis was all about, singing deep from his soul and that's why we love him. Any fan that likes Elvis will surely treasure this CD. Thank-you Elvis for the Great Music you gave us, your Memory will surely live on in all of our hearts.
Reviewed by Patrick Charland, Canada