Opening Night ' 72 (Label 2001-03) (Released 1997)

1. Review by Thomas Nilsson
Las Vegas, January 26 - 1972

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
American Trilogy (*)
I'll Remember You
Suspicious Minds
Can't Help Falling In Love
Closing Vamp
Mystery Train/Tiger Man (**)
Help Me Make It Through The Night (**)
Softly As I Leave You (spoken version) (**)

(*) First live version
(**) Recorded Las Vegas, Sept 3 1973 (C. S.)

Content: 4+  Sound: 4-  Artwork: 4-

Review by Thomas Nilsson

When I laid my hands on this record last week, I was really surprised. Not because of the sound quality, it isn't the best sounding 1972 bootleg (the recording is a bit low), but of the songs and how they are performed. The record starts in the middle of 'See See Rider' (it was obviously not recorded entirely), which is a bit said, because it was the first time it started the show. 'Proud Mary' follows, nothing sensational, but a good version.

'Never Been To Spain' was a new song and is very good performed, perhaps the best version. 'You Gave Me A Mountain', also new, follows, slower than the versions we are used to, and very beautiful. Next is 'Until It's Time For You To Go' (first live performance), almost as long as the single (that is, about a minute longer than other live versions), also very beautiful.

'Polk Salad Annie' is ok as always and 'Love Me' goes slower than later versions, and is rather nice. 'Little Sister/Get Back' is good; Elvis gives Burton his solo too early, and it sounds a bit strange. He gets it right later, "now you've got it", Elvis says. 'All Shook Up', 'Teddy Bear/Don't Be Cruel' sounds more engaging than later versions, and then follows 'One Night' which is ok too. 'Hound Dog' is the usual slow/fast 1972 version and needs no comments.

'A Big Hunk Of Love' (first live version) is the best live version I have heard. At the opening bars, Elvis voice sounds so raw, that you almost think of 1968! 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' is superb and 'Lawdy Miss Clawdy' is ok, but I wonder why Charlie Hodge always was so audible on that song (from 1972 onwards anyway), it would have sounded better with him lower in the mix, it is not to compare with the 1968 versions.

'An American Trilogy' is also new and a fantastic performance, rather like the version that can be found on the Elvis Aron Presley box set. 'I'll Remember You' is the first live version, and in my opinion, the best. 'Suspicious Minds and Can't Help Falling In Love' are ok, but I prefer the earlier versions. Closing Vamp brings an end to this fantastic show and then we have three bonus tracks from September 3, 1973.

The whole show is available as audience recording on a record called "The Funny Side Of Elvis Presley". Before the first bonus track, you here the end of an infamous Elvis monologue about a fired waiter, you can read the monologue in Peter Guralnick's "Careless Love". Here you only here the end of it, followed by 'Mystery Train/Tiger Man', and Elvis dedicates 'Tiger Man' to the staff and hierarchy of the Hilton Hotel. He really sounds furious when he sings Tiger Man!

Then comes 'Help Me Make It Through The Night' which is unfortunately not taken very serious by Elvis, but it is a rather good version anyway. Last is a spoken version of 'Softly As I Leave You', which the collectors probably want because it is the first version and at the same time a solo version with only Elvis speaking, but I sure prefer the versions with Sherrill Nielsen.

The cover art is nice with some pictures of Elvis live, and playing time is about 63 minutes.

Conclusion: A very good record that I really enjoy, with more energy and freshness than on other 1972 concerts I have heard.

Reviewed by Thomas Nilsson, Sweden

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