Las Vegas,NV. January 26th 1972 opening show
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' Llove / Bridge Over Troubled Water / Lawdy Miss Clawdy / An American Trilogy / Band
Iintroductions / I'll Remember You / Suspicious Minds / Can't Help Falling Iin Llove
/ Closing Vamp.
Bonus Tracks (September 3rd 1973 closing show) :Mystery Ttrain- Ttiger Man / Help Me Make It Through The Night / Softly As I Leave You (solo version).
When Elvis returned to live performing in 1969 he laid waste
to the Nevada desert with what could be called one of the great moments in Rock and Roll
As the 1970's dawned it was Elvis' desire, according to Ernst Jorgensen, to present a show that showcased the full musical spectrum. From Rock and Pop to Country and Gospel. The engagements and tours of 1970 saw a lot of tinkering in the set lists that Elvis chose and by 1971 it was a pretty standard formula.
But, by 1972 Elvis chose once again to radically change his show again, incorporating many new songs plus new arrangements of the older material. This is what makes Opening Night '72 such a treat as several songs are performed for the first time. As with any engagement, songs would enter and retreat the lineup nightly but some would remain a consistent showpiece thru the years.
This CD contains the opening show of January 26, 1972. It begins after "See See Rider" has begun, this new arrangement of this classic would be worked into perfection by the end of the Vegas run and would remain as Elvis' opening number for the rest of his life (with a few notable exceptions).
After a gospel tinged workout on CCR's "Proud Mary" Elvis showcases two new numbers, "You Gave Me A Mountain" and "Until it's Time For You To Go". The studio version of the latter would be released as a single with moderate success. While "....Mountain" would be performed regularly until the last shows in June of 1977. The depth of feeling that Elvis displays proves once again what a master of song interpretation Elvis really was.
After a rousing, reworked version of "Polk Salad Annie" (The spoken intro has been dropped) the show turns to the oldies. This part of the show would suffer thru the years as Elvis grew tired of Vegas and the road but in 1972 he was still committed to the material and it shows in a reworked slow version of "Hound Dog" and a big, brass sounding "Big Hunk O' Love".
The second half begins with Elvis' heartfelt rendition of Simon and Garfunkels' "Bridge Over Troubled Water" followed by an orchestra laden "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" .
The one drawback to Elvis' live shows is the increasing intrusion of the orchestra arrangements on his music. In the 1969 and early 1970's shows the orchestra was used sparingly, but as Elvis song selection expanded to include songs like "Bridge Over Troubled Water" and "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin" (Not performed at this show) big arrangements were needed to present the songs in their proper context. But the 1950's and 1960's era rockers should have been left alone with just the rhythm section. Comparing Elvis' 1968 TV Special performance of "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" to the one performed here and in the film "ELVIS ON TOUR" it seems the fire has been drained out by the overabundance of voices and horns.
As the performance winds down two more new songs are performed. "An American Trilogy" and "I'll Remember You". Both these wonderful songs are presented well but there are a few mistakes here and there, these would be fixed as the engagement wore on and both tunes become staples of the show for years.
The show ends with a charged "Suspicious Minds" and the closer "Can't Help Falling In Love" (Elvis hardly sings the lyrics at all, focusing more on thanking Red Skelton and Sammy Davis Jr. for seeing the show).
Now as for the sound quality of this CD. It is not one of the best soundboards, unfortunately, the vocals are way up front and the rhythm section seems muffled as if they are far away. The orchestra sounds like they are in another room. The best soundboards I have heard from 1972 are "ELVIS AT FULL BLAST" and "BLAZING INTO THE DARKNESS", these CD's are vastly superior in sound. That's not to say this CD is bad, it's pretty good. Much better than the sound quality on "TRUE LOVE TRAVELS ON A GRAVEL ROAD "
As a bonus three songs have been added from September 1973, "Mystery Train/Tiger Man', "Help Me make It Through The Night" and the first appearence of "Softly As I leave You" . Does that mean that a soundboard of that show is in the future, I hope so.
As for Opening Night '72, it is a must have for the collector, for historical purposes, but if you require excellent sound quality this CD has drawbacks.As for the performance, it is Elvis at his best.
by John Carpenter
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