Dig deep into 70`s Elvis: the concerts, jumpsuits and all available live tapes.

Opening night 1969 - reviews

Sun Feb 16, 2014 9:10 pm

While (again) reading the fabulous "The Concert Years" book by Stein Erik Skar where a fine review of the opening night can be found I was wondering..is there more ? You have any links to more reviews or stories about this historical show ?

Re: Opening night 1969 - reviews

Sun Feb 16, 2014 9:17 pm

I don't know any.

But I have always wanted to see the review that says he performed One Night in the opening show.

Re: Opening night 1969 - reviews

Sun Feb 16, 2014 9:42 pm

This is the review of Elvis' first concert at the International Hotel on July 31, 1969.
It was written by Ray Connelly and originally published in the London Evening Standard August 2, 1969. Included with the review is an exciting interview with The King, again by Ray Connelly.

For a reputed fee of £225,000 the god of rock and roll returned to the stage in a blaze of advertising at the brand new International Hotel in this hot and lunatic town of Las Vegas. I've already seen the show three times and I can tell you he is sensational - better than any of us could ever have imagined.
Twice nightly for 28 days he will be appearing for the rich and their womenfolk. 'It is, 'he says, 'the most exciting thing I've done in years'. But it was the first appearance on the first night that had all the drama.
He was out of this world, better by far than I - always the greatest Presley fan in world - could possibly have hoped for, and a lesson in himself to the entertainment media of our generation.
For a full hour he worked and sweated, gyrated and shuddered, warbled and sang, and grunted and groaned his way through 20 songs. It was a sensational comeback.
Looking as slim as a ramrod, and not a day over 23 (he's actually 34 now), he ambled back on to the stage after a nine year absence like a sheepish young lad going to meet his girl friend's parents for the first time. Hardly daring to look or acknowledge the audience,which was composed mainly of over-30's, since young people could never normally afford the price, he went straight into Blue Suede Shoes, and had completed I Got A Women and That's All Right Mama before finding it necessary to begin any chatting.
For over an hour he flogged himself to near exhaustion moving wildly and sexily around the stage all the time, and now and again reaching for a handkerchief or a glove from the ecstatic and many-splendoured ladies in the front row. Although his early fans are grown up and mothers themselves now, Elvis has remained the boy from the South - awkward, shy, full of evil promise and a dynamic performer.
As backing, a group of girl singers, the Sweet Inspirations, joined with the Imperials to add strength to an outstanding six-man group on electric piano, drums, bass and three guitars.
The balancing of combo was perfect, and there was little need for the full 30-piece orchestra which helped out occasionally on some of the ballads like Love Me Tender and Can't Help Falling In Love (With You) and Yesterday.
It is difficult to describe the exact appeal of the man. True he is a great and rhythmic singer, but there's something more. His perfect looks and style add a charisma that is magnetic.
Having seen his show it is easier now to understand how became the legend that he is in pop music.
Surprisingly the biggest applause of the night, and it was generous always, came of a brand-new song called Suspicious Minds - his next record and almost certainly 51st million seller.
While his act is concentrated mainly on a selection of his own many hits he also found time to include some great versions of Ray Charles's I Can't Stop Loving You and Chuck Berry's Johnny B. Goode.
It was indeed a memorable night. The night when Elvis Presley, the founder of much of modern day pop music, discovered that he is still one of greatest performers and went back to doing what he always did best.

See more at: http://www.elvis.com.au/presley/august_the_2_1969.shtml#sthash.3Sn0sMJK.dpuf

Re: Opening night 1969 - reviews

Sun Feb 16, 2014 9:45 pm

Found another:
Dressed in a chic black tunic and bell bottoms that matched his long but neatly combed black-tinted hair. Elvis Presley stepped onstage last week at the International Hotel in Las Vegas and launched into the driving beat of 'Blue Suede Shoes'. The audience of 2,000, most of them over 30, roared and squealed in nostalgic appreciation. I spite of his updated look, Elvis hadn't changed at all in the nearly nine years since his last personal appearance. Shaking, gyrating and quivering, he again proved himself worthy of his nickname, The Pelvis. Through nervousness caused him to sing 'Love my, me tender' for 'Love Me Tender', the pasty-faced enchanter quickly settled down to work his oleaginous charms, backed by a 30-piece orchestra, a five-man combo and a chorus of seven. Oozing the sullen sexuality that threw the America into a state of shock in the 50's, he groaned and swiveled through a medley of 'Jailhouse Rock', 'Don't Be Cruel', 'Heartbreak Hotel', 'All Shook Up' and 'Hound Dog'. It was hard to believe he was 34 and no longer 19 years old. -

See more at: http://www.elvispresleymusic.com.au/pictures/1969_july_31.html#sthash.eWszE0IP.dpuf

Re: Opening night 1969 - reviews

Sun Feb 16, 2014 9:47 pm

and another from the variety magazine:

Elvis’s ’69 Las Vegas Opening
A Pivotal Event in His Career

Elvis historians would be hard pressed to find a more pivotal date in his career than July 31, 1969. Others might argue for the first Sun session in 1954, the Sullivan shows in 1956, or the “Comeback” special in 1968. To me, though, Elvis’s return to live stage work at the International Hotel that mid-summer night in 1969 was the most significant and consequential event of his career.


It was significant because it made him accessible to his millions of fans and jump- started his career again after nearly a decade of self-imposed exile in Hollywood. It was consequential because it also started Elvis down the road to excessive work, drug dependence, ill health, and an early death. The gloomy outcomes of his return to live performing in 1969, however, are fodder for discussion on another day. Now let’s recall the excitement and anticipation triggered when Elvis opened his run at the International Hotel 40 summers ago.

The nation’s entertainment press covered the event en masse. After all, Elvis had not performed live on stage since a 1961 benefit concert in Hawaii. The press, Elvis’s fans, and certainly Presley himself wondered if he could recreate the stage excitement he had produced in the fifties.

• Variety and Billboard covered opening night

Of course, show biz’s two major journals, Variety and Billboard both reviewed opening night at the International. Variety’s review appeared in the magazine’s issue of August 16, 1969. James D. Kingsly wrote Billboard’s analysis for its August 9, 1969, issue.

Variety opened with the following proclamation of Elvis’s return to the Las Vegas stage after a long absence.

“The Elvis Presley who was a freakish kid curiosity when he was third feature on a New Frontier showbill in 1956, is no more. He has become ‘ELVIS,’ not only in huge electric letters on the International’s marquee, but in most publicized and verbalized affirmations of his superstar niche. His month in the International is practically a sellout as he returns to two-a-night (at $100,000 per week) after nine years away from such in-person sorties.”

In Billboard, Kingsly focused on the challenge that Elvis faced that night. “The greatest rocker of them all came and met one of his toughest audiences,” Kingsly noted. “It was probably Elvis’ toughest musical challenge since he rocked out of the South with long sideburns, rotating pelvis and a banged up guitar.”

• Elvis worked hard to reproduce the old magic

Both Kingsly and the Variety reviewer, identified only as Will, watched as Elvis strove to meet the challenge. Variety observed that Elvis had obviously worked hard in preparation for his return to live performing. At age 34, however, he had a little trouble replicating the boundless stage energy he displayed in 1956 at age 21.


“Presley has had to get in shape physically as well as musically for this month,” observed the writer. “Long, grueling rehearsals have put him back into the old groove, with warbling synchronizations emerging from okay to excellent. The typical body turbinations, however, leave him huffing and puffing after several particularly wild onslaughts to recapture the early physical and sexual image.”

Billboard’s review was more generous, however. “It was not the Elvis with the rough edges of the middle 1950s on stage Thursday,” Kingsly concluded. “It was a polished, confident and talented artist, knowing exactly what he was going to do and when … it was the Elvis of the past as he ‘Put the feeling into the songs, and let the vibrations of the music have their say, swinging hips, revolving pelvis and moving shoulders.’”

Though pop music morals had changed (and no one was more responsible for sending popular music down that road than Elvis) in the 13 years since his last Vegas engagement, Variety remarked as follows that Presley’s early rock classics were still well received by his audience at the International.

“The early siren strains that elevated him into leadership of the 1950s’ vanguard (who converted black rhythm & blues into white rock & roll) seem rather quaint in relation to some of the open permissiveness in lyrics and gestures now in vogue. Each one is accorded huge acclaim as he opens with ‘Blue Suede Shoes.’

“Similar paeans of approval accompany gyratory, thrusting motions during ‘Jailhouse Rock,’ ‘Don’t Be Cruel,’ ‘Heartbreak Hotel,’ ‘All Shook Up’ and ‘Hound Dog,’ which latter he dedicates to the International engagement in a tossaway put-on.”

• Presley delivered “throaty purrs” on ballads

Recalling that in the early years of his popularity, Elvis had received some “serious accolades” for his ballad singing from critics who disapproved of his wilder numbers, Variety praised the older Elvis’s ability to deliver the softer tunes. “He proves his mastery,” the reviewer wrote, “of this more sensitive element of his oeuvre in some throaty purrs of ‘Love Me Tender,’ ‘Memories,’ ‘In the Ghetto’ and ‘Yesterday.’”

Variety offered special praise for Elvis’s performance of the soon-to-be-released “Suspicious Minds.” “It is driving, sensuous medium rock that whips the audience into a frenzy,” read the review of the tune destined to become Presley’s first #1 single in seven years.

Colonel Parker had his say in the Billboard review. “Elvis has worked extremely hard for this show,” Kingsley quoted the Colonel. “But then he is one of the most dedicated entertainers I have ever been associated with.” Kingsley added that Parker “enjoyed his stay working over the roulette tables, and putting everything together for the show.”

Apparently a technical problem interrupted the flow of Elvis’s opening night performance, with “severe feedback oscillations causing discomfort on both sides of the stage,” according toVariety.

• Presley engagement broke Vegas $ and crowd records

That historic, initial performance at the International on July 31, 1969, was a star-studded event on both sides of the stage, as well. In the last paragraph of its review, Variety declared as follows that Elvis proved to the audience, and himself, that he was back where he belonged.

“Presley took all things in fine stride throughout the invitational VIP preview, with most star acts on the Strip in attendance and a total of about 2,000 comped. No verbal hurrah or musical fanfare accompanied his slouching, grinning amble from the wings, dressed in open-neck black blouse and bell trousers. He was immediately affable and, although nervous, very much in command of the entire scene as he went on to prove himself as one of the more potent Vegas lures.”

Elvis closed at the International on August 28, 1969. Two weeks later Variety reported the record numbers. During the engagement’s 29 shows, Elvis set Las Vegas attendance and gross records. With the minimum charge set at $15 per customer, the 101,509 attendees paid a total of $1,522,635 to see Elvis. Average attendance in the 2,000-seat capacity show room was 1,750. Weekends were standing room only. Following Elvis at the International were his recent movie costar, Nancy Sinatra, along with the Osmond Brothers.

Taken from: http://www.elvis-history-blog.com/elvis-las-vegas-69.html

Re: Opening night 1969 - reviews

Sun Feb 16, 2014 9:53 pm

Ciscoking wrote:While (again) reading the fabulous "The Concert Years" book by Stein Erik Skar where a fine review of the opening night can be found I was wondering..is there more ? You have any links to more reviews or stories about this historical show ?


"Presley Faces Toughest Challenge" (1969)
http://www.elvis-collectors.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=54775
http://www.elvis-collectors.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=69&t=76459



From that posting, one learns -->

Songs:
Hound Dog
Don't Be Cruel
One Night
In The Ghetto

Celebrities:
Vernon Presley
Dee Presley
Sam Phillips
Felton Jarvis
Knox and Jerry Phillips (Sam's sons)
Ira Sachs
Harry Jenkins (RCA vice president, erroneously listed as "Harry Kingsley")

Notes:
The other songs in the article are references to what Elvis did on stage in 1954-57.
The reviewer's surname is misspelled as "Kingsly," bass player's as "Scher."

Re: Opening night 1969 - reviews

Sun Feb 16, 2014 10:56 pm

That`s great information..thank you, guys.. ::rocks

Is there a review out which describes the history of the show with the order of songs..I want to find out whether Skar is right in his book or not..at least there is a difference with That`s All Right...

Re: Opening night 1969 - reviews

Mon Feb 17, 2014 4:36 am

It appears that Elvis sang That's All Right between I Got A Woman and Love Me Tender and he sang All Shook Up later on.

Because he sang more of his hits on opening night, he must have not performed some other songs. (Perhaps Runaway and Yesterday/Hey Jude weren't performed on opening night?)

Re: Opening night 1969 - reviews

Mon Feb 17, 2014 5:48 am

charro1971 wrote:It appears that Elvis sang That's All Right between I Got A Woman and Love Me Tender and he sang All Shook Up later on.


Opening night on July 31? There is no tape that verifies this, and probably not so, unless you can tell us why you make this statement. One suspects you take your view from a publication that has been misrepresented all over the internet, namely British journalist Ray Connolly's 1969 report on the engagement.

Connolly had been slated to attend the 7-31-1969 OS, but plane troubles prevented him from arriving in time. He apparently attended the general public "first night" (8-01-1969 DS) and his review is of this show. He also saw another two performances, probably the 8-01-1969 MS and 8-02-1969 DS. Then he had to jet off to New York to interview Bob Dylan's manager, Albert Grossman.

In his review, he makes note of "That's All Right" in the set, but it is NOT from the opening show, no matter what you read on other (lesser) websites that feature his 1969 review.

Hardly daring to look or acknowledge the audience,which was composed mainly of over-30's, since young people could never normally afford the price, he went straight into Blue Suede Shoes, and had completed I Got A Women and That's All Right, Mama before finding it necessary to begin any chatting.

For over an hour he flogged himself to near exhaustion moving wildly and sexily around the stage all the time, and now and again reaching for a handkerchief or a glove from the ecstatic and many-splendoured ladies in the front row.

Although his early fans are grown up and mothers themselves now, Elvis has remained the boy from the South - awkward, shy, full of evil promise and a dynamic performer. As backing, a group of girl singers, the Sweet Inspirations, joined with the Imperials to add strength to an outstanding six-man group on electric piano, drums, bass and three guitars.

The balancing of combo was perfect, and there was little need for the full 30-piece orchestra which helped out occasionally on some of the ballads like Love Me Tender and Can't Help Falling In Love (With You) and Yesterday.

It is difficult to describe the exact appeal of the man. True he is a great and rhythmic singer, but there's something more. His perfect looks and style add a charisma that is magnetic.

Having seen his show it is easier now to understand how became the legend that he is in pop music.

Surprisingly the biggest applause of the night, and it was generous always, came of a brand-new song called Suspicious Minds - his next record and almost certainly 51st million seller.

While his act is concentrated mainly on a selection of his own many hits he also found time to include some great versions of Ray Charles's I Can't Stop Loving You and Chuck Berry's Johnny B. Goode.

Ray Connolly, Evening Standard
Saturday, August 2, 1969
Last edited by drjohncarpenter on Mon Feb 17, 2014 8:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Opening night 1969 - reviews

Mon Feb 17, 2014 5:52 am

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=59524&p=882571#p882571

I transcribed what was written by Maria Columbus and Jeannie Tessum, submitted to Elvis Mail, the magazine of the official elvis presley fan club of great britain, issue october/november 1983 in that topic.

Then he did "I Got A Woman" , followed by "Thats All Right Mama"
Written by someone who was there.

Re: Opening night 1969 - reviews

Mon Feb 17, 2014 8:22 am

voldto wrote:http://www.elvis-collectors.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=59524

I transcribed what was written by Maria Columbus and Jeannie Tessum, submitted to Elvis Mail, the magazine of the official elvis presley fan club of great britain, issue october/november 1983 in that topic.

Then he did "I Got A Woman" , followed by "Thats All Right Mama"
Written by someone who was there.


Thanks for the reminder about Maria Columbus and Jeannie Tessum. In reading their article, it states their first reservation is for the next day, probably the 8-01-1969 DS. They only got access to the 7-31-1969 OS at the last second, not to mention the post-show press conference, which NME correspondent Ann Moses states was set up at the 11th hour, and almost no one in the media knew about it beforehand. So to pull it together and make such copious notes might be considered amazing indeed.

Is it possible that the highly-detailed set list they provided in 1983, over 14 years after the fact, is actually from that show? It neatly matches what journalist Ray Connolly details in his 1969 newspaper report.

Re: Opening night 1969 - reviews

Mon Feb 17, 2014 12:10 pm

that was THE night to give your arm in exchange for a ticket 8) 8) ....well, nearly :smt003

Re: Opening night 1969 - reviews

Mon Feb 17, 2014 8:02 pm

Can we assume that this set list is correct ? Taken from "The Concert Years" -book review.

Opening Theme/
Blue Suede Shoes
I Got A Woman
Love Me Tender
Jailhouse Rock / Don't Be Cruel
Heartbreak Hotel
All Shook Up
Hound Dog
Memories
My Babe
I Can`t Stop Loving You
In The Ghetto
Suspicious Minds
Yesterday / Hey Jude
Introductions By Elvis (?)
Johnny B. Goode
Mystery Train / Tiger Man
What’d I Say
Can't Help Falling In Love

Re: Opening night 1969 - reviews

Mon Feb 17, 2014 8:14 pm

Ciscoking wrote:Can we assume that this set list is correct ? Taken from "The Concert Years" -book review.

Opening Theme/
Blue Suede Shoes
I Got A Woman
Love Me Tender
Jailhouse Rock / Don't Be Cruel
Heartbreak Hotel
All Shook Up
Hound Dog
Memories
My Babe
I Can`t Stop Loving You
In The Ghetto
Suspicious Minds
Yesterday / Hey Jude
Introductions By Elvis (?)
Johnny B. Goode
Mystery Train / Tiger Man
What’d I Say
Can't Help Falling In Love

The Kingsley article claims One Night was performed at the July 31, 1969 "by invitation only" performance.

Re: Opening night 1969 - reviews

Mon Feb 17, 2014 10:12 pm

Ciscoking wrote:Can we assume that this set list is correct ? Taken from "The Concert Years" -book review.

Opening Theme/
Blue Suede Shoes
I Got A Woman
Love Me Tender
Jailhouse Rock / Don't Be Cruel
Heartbreak Hotel
All Shook Up
Hound Dog
Memories
My Babe
I Can`t Stop Loving You
In The Ghetto
Suspicious Minds
Yesterday / Hey Jude
Introductions By Elvis (?)
Johnny B. Goode
Mystery Train / Tiger Man
What’d I Say
Can't Help Falling In Love


No.

Besides the posted reports on this topic from James Kingsley, and Maria Columbus and Jeannie Tessum -- did you not read them? -- I just uncovered another review, from L.A. DJ Rodney Bingenheimer, who saw both the show and press conference, and notes "That's All Right" in the set.

Maybe someone can post it here.

Re: Opening night 1969 - reviews

Mon Feb 17, 2014 10:20 pm

Didn`t you say it wasn`t sung..?

drjohncarpenter wrote:In his review, he makes note of "That's All Right" in the set, but it is NOT from the opening show, no matter what you read on other (lesser) websites that feature his 1969 review.

Re: Opening night 1969 - reviews

Mon Feb 17, 2014 10:32 pm

Ciscoking wrote:Didn`t you say it wasn`t sung..?

drjohncarpenter wrote:In his review, he makes note of "That's All Right" in the set, but it is NOT from the opening show, no matter what you read on other (lesser) websites that feature his 1969 review.


No.

Read again, with care.

The point I emphasize is that Connolly's review is almost certainly from 8-01-1969 DS. Other, lesser Presley sites frame the review as his look at 7-31-1969 OS which is erroneous.

But we do have three reports from 7-31-1969 OS you need to analyze (Kingsley - Columbus/Tessum - Bingenheimer).

Re: Opening night 1969 - reviews

Mon Feb 17, 2014 10:42 pm

John,...please post the links all together..I missed the plot a bit..thank you..

Re: Opening night 1969 - reviews

Tue Feb 18, 2014 7:47 pm

drjohncarpenter wrote:
But we do have three reports from 7-31-1969 OS you need to analyze (Kingsley - Columbus/Tessum - Bingenheimer).


Can someone lead me to the Bingenheimer review..I cannot find it..thank you.. :wink:

Re: Opening night 1969 - reviews

Tue Feb 18, 2014 8:10 pm

:sosorry:
Last edited by Francesc on Sun Feb 23, 2014 2:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Opening night 1969 - reviews

Tue Feb 18, 2014 8:18 pm

Francesc wrote:Another one from Earl Wilson

"Celebrities Applaud Presley's Retun To Las Vegas" by Earl Wilson

The Lima News (August 7, 1969)

http://www.elvisconcerts.com/newspapers/press176.htm


Another review saying that's allright mama was performed
i did have to laugh about jai1house bock
and now we also know a bit of the dialogue elvis has said ''welcome to the new frontier, i mean te new international.. i guess i blew the job!''

thank you for posting this review!

Re: Opening night 1969 - reviews

Tue Feb 18, 2014 8:24 pm

Yeah I noticed Jai1house Bock, I should fix it but then it is cool to see sometimes who's copying and pasting ... right Final Curtain ?

Re: Opening night 1969 - reviews

Wed Feb 19, 2014 12:59 am

This is from the Elvis Insiders.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

Re: Opening night 1969 - reviews

Wed Feb 19, 2014 1:44 am

Opening night review by Ann Moses.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

Re: Opening night 1969 - reviews

Wed Feb 19, 2014 5:11 am

Johnny2523 wrote:and another from the variety magazine:

Elvis’s ’69 Las Vegas Opening
A Pivotal Event in His Career

Elvis historians would be hard pressed to find a more pivotal date in his career than July 31, 1969. Others might argue for the first Sun session in 1954, the Sullivan shows in 1956, or the “Comeback” special in 1968. To me, though, Elvis’s return to live stage work at the International Hotel that mid-summer night in 1969 was the most significant and consequential event of his career.


It was significant because it made him accessible to his millions of fans and jump- started his career again after nearly a decade of self-imposed exile in Hollywood. It was consequential because it also started Elvis down the road to excessive work, drug dependence, ill health, and an early death. The gloomy outcomes of his return to live performing in 1969, however, are fodder for discussion on another day. Now let’s recall the excitement and anticipation triggered when Elvis opened his run at the International Hotel 40 summers ago.

The nation’s entertainment press covered the event en masse. After all, Elvis had not performed live on stage since a 1961 benefit concert in Hawaii. The press, Elvis’s fans, and certainly Presley himself wondered if he could recreate the stage excitement he had produced in the fifties.

• Variety and Billboard covered opening night

Of course, show biz’s two major journals, Variety and Billboard both reviewed opening night at the International. Variety’s review appeared in the magazine’s issue of August 16, 1969. James D. Kingsly wrote Billboard’s analysis for its August 9, 1969, issue.

Variety opened with the following proclamation of Elvis’s return to the Las Vegas stage after a long absence.

“The Elvis Presley who was a freakish kid curiosity when he was third feature on a New Frontier showbill in 1956, is no more. He has become ‘ELVIS,’ not only in huge electric letters on the International’s marquee, but in most publicized and verbalized affirmations of his superstar niche. His month in the International is practically a sellout as he returns to two-a-night (at $100,000 per week) after nine years away from such in-person sorties.”

In Billboard, Kingsly focused on the challenge that Elvis faced that night. “The greatest rocker of them all came and met one of his toughest audiences,” Kingsly noted. “It was probably Elvis’ toughest musical challenge since he rocked out of the South with long sideburns, rotating pelvis and a banged up guitar.”

• Elvis worked hard to reproduce the old magic

Both Kingsly and the Variety reviewer, identified only as Will, watched as Elvis strove to meet the challenge. Variety observed that Elvis had obviously worked hard in preparation for his return to live performing. At age 34, however, he had a little trouble replicating the boundless stage energy he displayed in 1956 at age 21.


“Presley has had to get in shape physically as well as musically for this month,” observed the writer. “Long, grueling rehearsals have put him back into the old groove, with warbling synchronizations emerging from okay to excellent. The typical body turbinations, however, leave him huffing and puffing after several particularly wild onslaughts to recapture the early physical and sexual image.”

Billboard’s review was more generous, however. “It was not the Elvis with the rough edges of the middle 1950s on stage Thursday,” Kingsly concluded. “It was a polished, confident and talented artist, knowing exactly what he was going to do and when … it was the Elvis of the past as he ‘Put the feeling into the songs, and let the vibrations of the music have their say, swinging hips, revolving pelvis and moving shoulders.’”

Though pop music morals had changed (and no one was more responsible for sending popular music down that road than Elvis) in the 13 years since his last Vegas engagement, Variety remarked as follows that Presley’s early rock classics were still well received by his audience at the International.

“The early siren strains that elevated him into leadership of the 1950s’ vanguard (who converted black rhythm & blues into white rock & roll) seem rather quaint in relation to some of the open permissiveness in lyrics and gestures now in vogue. Each one is accorded huge acclaim as he opens with ‘Blue Suede Shoes.’

“Similar paeans of approval accompany gyratory, thrusting motions during ‘Jailhouse Rock,’ ‘Don’t Be Cruel,’ ‘Heartbreak Hotel,’ ‘All Shook Up’ and ‘Hound Dog,’ which latter he dedicates to the International engagement in a tossaway put-on.”

• Presley delivered “throaty purrs” on ballads

Recalling that in the early years of his popularity, Elvis had received some “serious accolades” for his ballad singing from critics who disapproved of his wilder numbers, Variety praised the older Elvis’s ability to deliver the softer tunes. “He proves his mastery,” the reviewer wrote, “of this more sensitive element of his oeuvre in some throaty purrs of ‘Love Me Tender,’ ‘Memories,’ ‘In the Ghetto’ and ‘Yesterday.’”

Variety offered special praise for Elvis’s performance of the soon-to-be-released “Suspicious Minds.” “It is driving, sensuous medium rock that whips the audience into a frenzy,” read the review of the tune destined to become Presley’s first #1 single in seven years.

Colonel Parker had his say in the Billboard review. “Elvis has worked extremely hard for this show,” Kingsley quoted the Colonel. “But then he is one of the most dedicated entertainers I have ever been associated with.” Kingsley added that Parker “enjoyed his stay working over the roulette tables, and putting everything together for the show.”

Apparently a technical problem interrupted the flow of Elvis’s opening night performance, with “severe feedback oscillations causing discomfort on both sides of the stage,” according toVariety.

• Presley engagement broke Vegas $ and crowd records

That historic, initial performance at the International on July 31, 1969, was a star-studded event on both sides of the stage, as well. In the last paragraph of its review, Variety declared as follows that Elvis proved to the audience, and himself, that he was back where he belonged.

“Presley took all things in fine stride throughout the invitational VIP preview, with most star acts on the Strip in attendance and a total of about 2,000 comped. No verbal hurrah or musical fanfare accompanied his slouching, grinning amble from the wings, dressed in open-neck black blouse and bell trousers. He was immediately affable and, although nervous, very much in command of the entire scene as he went on to prove himself as one of the more potent Vegas lures.”

Elvis closed at the International on August 28, 1969. Two weeks later Variety reported the record numbers. During the engagement’s 29 shows, Elvis set Las Vegas attendance and gross records. With the minimum charge set at $15 per customer, the 101,509 attendees paid a total of $1,522,635 to see Elvis. Average attendance in the 2,000-seat capacity show room was 1,750. Weekends were standing room only. Following Elvis at the International were his recent movie costar, Nancy Sinatra, along with the Osmond Brothers.

Taken from: http://www.elvis-history-blog.com/elvis-las-vegas-69.html


The entire Variety review:

Nitery Reviews


International

($15 Minimum)


Las Vegas, Aug. 4 - The Elvis Presley who was a freakish kid curiousity when he was third-billed on a New Frontier showbill in April 1956 is no more. He has become "ELVIS," not only in huge electric letters on the International 's marquee, but in most publicized and verbalized affirmations of his superstar status. His month in the International is practically a sellout in the return to two-a-night (at $100,000 per week) after nine years away from such in-person sorties.

Presley has had to get in shape physically as well as musically for this month. Long, grueling rehearsals have put him back into the old groove, with warbling synchronizations emerging from okay to excellent. The typical body turbinations, however, leave him huffing and puffing after several particularly wild onslaughts to recapture the early physical and sexual image.

The early siren strains that elevated Presley into leadership of the '50s' vanguard (who converted black rhythm & blues into white rock 'n' roll) seem rather quaint in relation to some of the open permissiveness in lyrics and gestures now in vogue. Each one is accorded huge acclaim as he opens with "Blue Suede Shoes."

Similar paeans of approval accompany gyratory, thrusting motions during "Jailhouse Rock," "Don't Be Cruel," "Heartbreak House" [sic], "All Shook Up" and "Hound Dog."

During his early ascendance, Presley received serious accolades for his ballads from critics who put down his more sensational displays. He proves his mastery of this more sensitive element in some throaty purrs of "Love Me Tender," "Memories," "In The Ghetto" and "Yesterday." A new direction is indicated in the interesting move from Nashville to Memphis sound in a re-creation of current disk, "Suspicious Mind" [sic]. It is driving, sensuous, medium rock that whips the audience into a frenzy. Contributing to the total blend are the four femme Sweet Inspriations and male Imperials quartet. The choir, plus the instrumental rock sextet of James Burton, performing fine lead guitar; John Wilkerson [sic], rhythm guitar; Ronnie Tutt, drums; Jerry Scheff, electric bass; Larry Muhoberac, piano, and Charles Hodge, guitar and combo factotum, are combined upon chart demands with the large brass, reed, and string sections of the Bobby Morris orch for meritorious backing.

Sammy Shore has an exuberant air as he romps into one-liners and various embellishments on yockery dealing with the hotel itself, Vegas mores, a notorious L.A. used car dealer, matador manager in Mexican dialect and a rather prolonged caricature of a Deep South preacher in the heady atmosphere of casinoland. Although Shore's period is filled with ups and downs on the laugh meter, he emerges intact with better than average results.

Sweet Inspirations ' warmup set does not measure up too well. Their gospel style converted to secular tunes is often squalling and off-key and notably hampered by overly high gain on room's sound system. This amplification unit, by the way, also acted up several times during the Presley stanza, with severe feedback oscillations causing discomfort on both sides of the stage. It was out completely for Shore's turn for about three frustrating minutes.

Presley took all things in fine stride at the preem, with most star acts on the Strip in attendance and a total of about 2,000 present. No verbal hurrah or musical fanfare accompanied his slouching, grinning, amble from the wings, dressed in open-neck black blouse and bell trousers. He was immediately affable and, although nervous, very much in command of the entire scene as he went on to prove himself as one of the more potent Vegas lures.

Next, Nancy Sinatra, Osmond Bros. Aug. 29 - Will
Last edited by Daryl on Wed Feb 19, 2014 5:22 am, edited 1 time in total.