ONE NIGHT IN VEGAS - BMG 74321 81234 2
||Another "complete" live concert...
...Elvis fans had to wait for 30 years to get a complete live concert from 1970. Ad it took us the same 30 years to get two complete live concerts!
One Night In Vegas contains the August 10 opening concert. Several of the songs performed are first (live) versions: 'The Next Step Is Love', 'I Just Can't Help Believing', 'Something', 'You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling', 'You Don't Have To Say You Love Me', 'I've Lost You', 'Bridge Over Troubled Water', 'Patch It Up'. An impressive list!
The sound quality is in general marvelous. And listen.... the artwork is tasty (though still lacking some information).
Anything negative? Hmm, the title (One Night In Vegas) is boring, there are some drop-outs and other minor sound errors and the bandintroduction is left out!
1. Review by Oven Egeland
2. Review by Andy Urias
3. Review by Marco Lofino
|1. Review by Oven Egeland
This is Elvis at his very best. It is not easy to find suitable words for this concert. It simply is Elvis at his very best! And that says about everything!
The disc starts exactly like disc 2 on That's The Way It Is (30th). Snippets of the warm-up music, before Ronnie Tutt starts to roll the drums. This leads into Elvis first version of 'That's All Right' as an opening number. You can tell that Elvis is a bit nervous, but not more than he should be (IMO Elvis sung several songs best when he was nervous).
Without any break Elvis jumps into 'Mystery Train/Tiger Man'. This version is a bit reserved, but I think that could have something to do with feedback problems. Several times during this song, you can hear the feedback creeping up on him (just like the cameras...) 'I Can't Stop Loving You' was released on the mentioned 30th anniversary box this summer.
Thankfully 'Love Me Tender' begins without the "false start" Elvis would soon start to make a habit of. Pretty concentrated version and this time with a normal duration (On several occasions in this period 'Love Me Tender' would last and last and last...)
'The Next Step Is Love' was also released summer 2000. As said then, I find this version to be a disappointment. 'Words', however is a magnificent version, performed a bit slower this day than it would be later. Even here there are some feedback problem, but not much.
And then finally, a new version of 'Just Can't Help Believing'. In my opinion this is one of Elvis' best live songs of all times. Imagine, this song is actually removed from the revised version of That's The Way It Is (VHS and DVD)! The version here is not as mesmerizing as the master take, but not far from it. A shame about the sound errors in the beginning, though! Even 'Something' suffers from a bad wired guitar (?), but it is good all the same.
I have never heard a better version of 'Sweet Caroline' than this one! Brilliant!
'You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling' is masterly performed (as always). So is 'You Don't Have To Say You Love Me'. Not my favorite song, however. Also this last mentioned songs was released earlier this year on TTWII (30th). 'Polk Salad Annie' is a mixture of the "dead serious" February versions and the more relaxed version that would come later in August.
After 'Polk Salad Annie' BMG has removed the band introduction. Personally I would go for the complete concert!
The first live version of 'I've Lost You' is not a winner! Elvis apologizes afterwards, and even throws in some funny southern talking to "repair". 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' is among the best versions I have ever heard. It is quite interesting to listen to Elvis' versions of this song, as he phrase and times it differently almost on every occasion.
Nice to finally have an alternate version of 'Patch It Up' too. Elvis wouldn't sing this song very often. A very demanding song, both for the entertainer and the audience, indeed!
Elvis closes the show in a hurry after 'Patch It Up', and with 'Can't Help Falling In Love' he ends one of the better life concert ever released by BMG. All considered it is not as good as the August 12 (MS) show released on TTWII (30th), but it is definitely among the very best!
As more and more common by BMG the CD also contains rehearsal material. From August 4 we get five tracks. Fun to listen to Elvis yodeling, and how he "nails" 'Twenty Days And Twenty Nights'. However, I'm getting a bit tired of such recordings. I wonder why BMG does not release some stage rehearsal instead. There's a lot from August 6 and 7 of such kind. Perhaps something for the forthcoming "Las Vegas Box"?
This release is a winner in almost every meaning of the word. Get it soon!
Opening Show, August 10 1970:
1: Opening Theme
2: That's All Right
3: Mystery Train/Tiger Man
4: Elvis talks
5: I Can't Stop Loving You*
6: Love Me Tender
7: The Next Step Is Love*
9: I Just Can't Help Believing
11: Sweet Caroline
12: You've Lost That Loving Feeling
13: You Don't Have To Say You
14: Polk Salad Annie
15: I've Lost You
16: Bridge Over Troubled Water
17: Patch It Up
18: Can't Help Falling In Love
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
20: Cattle Call/(Yodel)**
21: Twenty Days And Twenty
22: You Don't Have To Say You
23: Brigde Over Troubled Water
* Previously released
** Rehearsal, August 4 1970
***Edited out of disc
Running time: 72:06
|2. Review by Andy Urias
This must have been one exciting evening in Las Vegas on August 10, 1970. Elvis Presley, one of the most sensational performers of all time, starting his summer Vegas run for 1970. His 1969 return to live performing was a milestone in his career and he delivered the goods. By the time he returned the Las Vegas stage in February 1970, he not only was still at the top of his game, but his set-list had evolved to arguably a more impressive level.
His show now consisted of newly recorded contemporary ballads and upbeat adult-contemporary rock songs in addition to some of his classic songs from the 50s. It was this sort of versatile set-list that he took to Vegas 6 months later and one that he basically stuck with for the remainder of his career. So when he started his third run in Las Vegas during the summer of 1970, it seems that he had found a formula that he was comfortable with and one that the fans enthusiastically supported.
One thing that was very different from his shows 6 months before was that this time his performances would be filmed by a MGM film crew for an upcoming documentary of his Vegas return (strangely enough, his true return occurred one year earlier, so the upcoming documentary was really more of a representation of what his live performances currently were and the film also was more of a marketing tool than anything else). Elvis knew that there was a lot riding on the success of these shows as they would be permanently preserved and archived for eternity. Without a doubt, Elvis came through.
As Elvis enters the stage on 'One Night In Vegas,' he explodes right into 'That's All Right Mama' which immediately segues into a blazing version of 'Mystery Train/Tiger Man'. These versions are pretty standard for 1970, filled with explosive energy.
Next he cranks into a real strong version of ‘I Can't Stop Loving You'. At this point, it has to be apparent to everyone including Elvis that this is going to be a smoking show. After walking through 'Love Me Tender', Elvis finally attempts to tackle one of his recently recorded songs, 'The Next Step Is Love'. It is hard to find the right words for this song. His performance of it is adequate, but it is lacking something. Most likely, it is lacking substance, as the song is really quite weak. "...Made some faces at some people in the park and didn't bother to explain..." and "...Fun fun look at us run..." Pretty ridiculous lyrics for a ballad. His studio version is a lot better as the studio production saves it a little.
Next up is 'Words' and this is an excellent version of this song, but not too different than any other versions from this period as he usually performed it brilliantly. The first real challenge of the evening comes next with 'I Just Can't Help Believing'. It starts off a little shaky, but comes together quite quickly. It is a very strong ballad and Elvis performs a wonderful version of it, however, the master version has a slight edge over this one.
'Something' is performed very nicely. There have been a few different versions of this song performed over the years, but in my opinion, no one including The Beatles themselves ever performed this song anywhere near the level Elvis did. It is almost as if this is the way it is supposed to sound and be performed.
Next Elvis jumps in 'Sweet Caroline.' Once again, another stunning performance occurs during this concert. This is definitely one of his greatest performances of this song. The newer material continues with Elvis' incredible rendition of the classic 'You've Lost That Loving Feeling'. It would be hard to imagine Elvis ever performing this song poorly in 1970.
Elvis then jumps into his 7th ballad in a row with his newly recorded 'You Don't Have To Say You Love Me'. This isn't the most stunning version of this song, but at the same time, it probably wasn't the easiest song to perform live. First of all, I do believe the studio production of the song enhanced it and the fact that Elvis seems to be rushing through this particular version a little bit doesn't help matters.
Suddenly the concert takes a different turn. The love songs and ballads have come to an end and Elvis segues into his romping version of 'Polk Salad Annie.' The kind of sound Elvis produced on stage in 1970 with versions of songs like 'Polk Salad Annie' is pretty unique. So many different elements and styles of music were intertwined which created a unique musical extravaganza.
Up to this point, it is hard to imagine a better performance for opening nights concert that is being filmed. The crowd is into it, Elvis is on, and the band is playing tight. Now a strange edit occurs on this FTD release which in a way stops the momentum. Ernst Jorgensen edits out the band intros. Not that the band intros are that interesting, but it is the principle of it. Even worse, it has been noted that Elvis may have very well performed 'Don't Be Cruel' and 'Heartbreak Hotel' immediately after the band intros. There is no excuse to remove these songs. When one looks at the set-list of 'One Night In Vegas' it is obvious that something is missing. It is hard to imagine Elvis not performing some of his big 50's hits. Aside from a lame 'Love Me Tender' and a couple of his Sun tunes, nothing from the 50's are performed. BMG is pushing it if they think they can sell the idea that some of those 50s songs were not performed. Personally, I am not a fan of Elvis' performances of his 50's songs in the 70's, but there was no reason to edit them out of a so-called "complete" concert. Unless there was an actual problem with the recording, the songs and band intro segment should have been left in. With the running time of the CD at 72 minutes, there was certainly enough time to add those two songs that are most likely missing. If BMG is going to release live shows, they shouldn't tamper with them unless there are unavoidable technical problems.
With that said, the concert then moves on with a decent version of 'I've Lost You'. He then moves on to a stunning version of 'Bridge Over Trouble Water'. This is the sort of song, like many of his other ballads from 1970, you could guarantee he would perform with passion and almost flawless execution.
The show is coming to an end and Elvis finishes with a bang. Next he performs a powerful version of 'Patch It Up'. This may have been his hardest rocking song of the 70's. This was definitely a way to get the crowd on its feet and right after the conclusion of the song, he rolled into his consistent show closing number, 'I Can't Help Falling In Love.' It is an average version like it usually was. It is a shame that he usually threw away the last song. However, it seems that 'Can't Help Falling In Love' was more about the ending of an event, the conclusion of an hour with one of the greatest live performers ever, rather than one last breathtaking number anyway.
This is an outstanding show. Something the fans and the music world came to expect out of Elvis at this stage of his career. It is absolutely ridiculous that BMG waited until the year 2000 to finally release a concert in its entirety from 1970 considering it represents truly how amazing Elvis was in concert.
Of course, there is still some more to discuss. There are a few additional songs added to the end of the concert that are from some rehearsals. Some fans may find this as a wonderful bonus. Personally, I think it was a waste of space. Yes, I'm happy to have a few more unreleased rehearsal performances, but they shouldn't have been included on this release, especially if they are what replaced the missing songs from the concert. If BMG wanted to add rehearsal material, they should have added some stage rehearsals, as they would have been more of a representation of a true sound-check rehearsal, which most artists perform before a big concert. The bottom line is that the CD didn't need rehearsals, it needed to be a complete show.
Aside from the inclusion of unnecessary rehearsals and the omitted songs and band intros, this is one fantastic CD. Every Elvis fan and every person out there who wants the live Elvis experience should own a copy of "One Night In Vegas ". The artwork isn't too bad, but as with all FTD releases, the entire release could have been enhanced with some additional information within the packaging about the music. I will conclude by saying that BMG/FTD still has the ability to release a handful of incredible shows such as this from 1969-1970. Let's hope that this is just the beginning. Elvis deserves to be recognised in this way.
Andy Urias, June 30 2001
Other reviews of Andy Urias
|3. Review by Marco Lofino
Last August BMG published the midnight show from August 12, 1970 for the 30th anniversary of TTWII's documentary in a box containing three CDs. According to many fans, that show is the greatest ever performed by Elvis Presley.
It can be true, of course is one of the greatest ever, but I think that if we pick many other shows from the 1970 august season in Vegas, the choice would be really hard.
"One Night In Vegas" features the opening show of that memorable season at the International Hotel. Elvis is Elvis in 1970, magnificent, maybe at the highest point in his career. The show itself is great. It is not a rocking one as the MS O8.12.70. Here Elvis is focused on many ballads like the B. J Thomas hit 'I Just Can't Help Believin' and his new record at the time "I've Lost You". All songs are well performed, above all a marvelous version of 'Sweet Caroline' and 'Polk Salad Annie', a fantastic song improved through the return of Ronnie Tutt on drums, who missed the previous Vegas season. Many songs are performed for the first time on stage, like 'You Don't Have To Say You Love Me'. 'Words' is an elegant rendition, and I find the 1970 versions better than those of 1969.
'Patch It Up' is a song I don't really like, but it is fun to hear the power Elvis puts on it while he sings this song! The concert itself is a fantastic one. What I don't understand is the presence of five bonus songs taken from early august rehearsals. My surprise turned into rage when I knew that two songs from the show were cut in order to add the rehearsal tracks.
Anyway, this CD is great, it is Elvis at his best and I recommend it.
Marco Lofino, July 11 2001
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