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Opening night '72

Label 2001-03 (Released 1997)

See see rider
Proud Mary
Never been to Spain
You gave me a mountain
Until it's time for you to go
Polk salad Annie
Love me
Little sister/ get back
All shook up
Teddy bear/ don't be cruel
One night
Hound dog
A big hunk o' love
Bridge over troubled water
Lawdy miss Clawdy
An American trilogy
Band introductions
I'll remember you
Suspicious minds
Can't help falling in love
Closing Vamp

(Live, January 26, 1972, Las Vegas, opening night)

Bonus Tracks
Mystery train/ tiger man
Help me make it through the night
Softly as I leave you (Rare solo version)

This 3rd CD on the 2001-label presents us the nearly complete opening show from Elvis' 6th engagement at the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel, Jan. 26th - Febr. 23th, 1972; (57 shows). It's the very first time that a show from this engagement is released on CD or LP (only a few audience recordings on MC do exist). The sound on this mixing-desk-recording is not as good as the fans expect, but it's a better quality as Baxters „Walk A Mile In My Shoes" or DAE's „All Things Are Possible". According to Tunzi's book „Elvis Sessions II" this is the only existing complete mono-tape from the first 1972 Las Vegas engagement. Later this engagement RCA recorded various songs from several shows on 16track tapes but no complete shows.

Unfortunately the recording begins in the middle of „C.C. Rider" (the first part of the song and „Also Sprach Zarathustra" are missing). It was the first time that this song substituted „That's Allright Mama" as the opening song. It's a beautiful mixture of his live-versions from February 1970 and the fast versions that he did later in 1972. A typical version of „Proud Mary" is followed by the first première for the evening, „Never Been To Spain", written by Hoyt Axton (Hoyt's mother Mae Born co-wrote „Heartbreak Hotel" for Elvis). Second new song is „You Gave Me A Mountain", which is introduced by Elvis as a song from Frankie Laine. The song is perfect but it's the slowest version I've heard Elvis doing. Song No. 5 is also a highlight, „Until It's Time For You To Go". To my knowledge it's the first live version of this beautiful song and the longest too (3'48''!). It's very similar to his hit-single.

A usual power-version of „Polk Salad Annie" is followed by some oldies. „Love Me" is slower than the usual '72 live-version, while „Litte Sister/Get Back" has a guitar-solo between the two songs. This version is not to compare to his well-known live-recording from 1970 (Aug. 13th, DS). After „All Shook Up", „Teddy Bear/Don't Be Cruel" and „One Night" follows the message song for the night, „Hound Dog". Elvis begins slow („...it's an old hound dog....") and continues fast. Just like the '69 live-versions there is a guitar solo by James Burton right in the middle of the song. The most famous Elvis song is followed by the first live-version of „A Big Hunk O'Love", which is great and perhaps better than the officially released two different live-tunes from this season. „Bridge Over Troubled Water" and „Lawdy Miss Clawdy" are also great versions but not as great as the third new song for the evening „An American Trilogy". Although the first time that Elvis did this song live on stage it's really perfect. Even the Stamps-part („...oh I wish I was in Dixie...") is sung by Elvis. Really a great version for which he gets the biggest applause of the evening. During the following introduction of the musicians James Burton and co. plays an instrumental version of „Never Been To Spain". „I'll Remember You" (after „Until It's Time For You To Go" and „A Big Hunk O'Love" the third well known Elvis song for the first time live) follows and after „Suspicious Minds" Elvis closes with his traditional closing-song „Can't Help Falling In Love".

The bonus tracks 22-24 are taken from Elvis closing-show from Sept. 3rd, 1973. The complete show was released years ago on a CD called „The Funny Side of Elvis" (audience recording). The sound quality of these soundboard-recorded songs is a little bit better than the show from Febr. 26th, 1972. „Mystery Train/Tiger Man" is a very good version. While singing the medley Elvis dedicates „Tiger Man" to the staff of the Hilton Hotel. „Help Me Make It Through The Night" is longer than other '73 live-versions. Last song on this CD is another première, a very special version of „Softly As I Leave You". Elvis gives only the introduction and speaks the words without vocal accompaniment by Shaun Nielsen and without music. It's a very soft version. It would take one year till Elvis insert this song with a different arrangement in his stage shows.

This CD contains the whole opening-show and some additional songs from another show in an acceptable sound quality. It should not miss in an Elvis collection, even if some fans are tired to listen to Elvis perfect (but sterile - compared to his later concerts in 1974 and 1975) 1972 performances.

Thomas D. Weiß, Mannheim (Germany)

Sound quality **** -