The forthcoming "MEMORY Records" label CD release is entitled "Trouble In Vegas " (audience recording). Elvis' last Las Vegas season was scheduled for the 'pre-holiday' time to close out the Bicentennial year. For one last time, he arrived to the same hotel he took by storm seven years prior when it debuted as the International.
Elvis opened this December 9th 1976 show with a long, strong concert on December 2nd, followed by four very good shows (including the December 3, 1976 Dinner show - as documented by Memory Records' CD release "NOW - OR NEVER!"). However, the performances from the next couple of days suffered from an over-medicated Elvis, who did not pay 100% attention to his singing job.
On December 9th, Elvis gave two shows in row. A dinner show was chosen for this CD release as the more interesting of two. Running for more than 76 minutes, it's a long show for the season and by his "Vegas standard" overall. After the first song, Elvis is mentioning that his "throat is dry like a Mohave desert..." Really, his voice was not the best here. At the beginning of the second song, it is already evident that Elvis is in TROUBLE IN VEGAS. "I Got A Woman" was restarted but after another start he stopped to sing again as he forgot the lyrics. The man who had take the town by storm in 1969 through '72 had, by the '76 stand, grown lax, eccentric, or even unprepared and who knows what else, some surely must have thought.
Nevertheless, as was so often still the case, both "Fairytale" and "You Gave Me A Mountain" received proper treatment from Elvis and his voice became stronger, too. "My Way" was sung for the first time since his May Lake Tahoe gigs and once again it took 3 false starts to Elvis to begin the song. It is a rather messy version, but still welcomed by a wild audience: "Honey, it's a show, not an orgy!" said Elvis to some scarf-hungry, screaming women.
Often-maligned "Softly As I Leave You" is the first REAL HIGHLIGHT of the show - a classic performance. Winding down a year-long nationwide celebration of the Bicentennial, he then sang "America The Beautiful" for very last time here. Again it's a great version and yet another concert highlight. And a thundering "Hurt" with full orchestra backing is highlight No. #3.
His final December on earth began with an erratic but still intriguing final stand. As listeners, we are witness here to Elvis' holding court one last time in this famously soul-crushing desert city.
1976 had been the most ominous year for the King (artistically and physically). Yet fuelled in part by new girlfriend Miss Alden, the month of December surprisingly would end with some of his most acclaimed concerts: Birmingham, Dallas and Pittsburgh, most notably. This Vegas performance is not a classic concert, but still very interesting event, an audio documentary of Elvis being up & down during his very last concerts in the both loved and hated neon "Sin City".
This is previously unreleased recording. The sound was transferred in its original audience-recorded stereo format, and all tracks were digitally restored for best possible sound reproduction.
The CD contains 4-pages booklet with photographs taken during the Las Vegas December '76 season.
01. Also Sprach Zarathustra - 02. C. C. Rider - 03. I Got A Woman (with false start and break) - 04. Love Me - 05. Fairytale - 06. You Gave Me A Mountain - 07. Jailhouse Rock - 08. O Sole Mio (by Sherrill Nielsen)/It's Now Or Never (medley) - 09. My Way (with 3 false starts) - 10. Blue Christmas (Elvis on acoustic guitar, with false start) - 11. That's All Right, Mama (Elvis on acoustic guitar, with false start) - 12. Are You Lonesome Tonight (Elvis on acoustic guitar) - 13. Softly As I Leave You (with Sherrill Nielsen) - 14. Hound Dog - 15. Help Me - 16. America The Beautiful (last live version) - 17. Band Introductions - 18. Early Mornin' Rain - 19. What'd I Say - 20. Drum Solo (by Ronnie Tutt) - 21. Bass Solo (Blues - by Jerry Scheff) - 22. Piano Solo (by Tony Brown) - 23. Electric Piano Solo (by David Briggs) - 24. Love Letters - 25. School Day - 26. Hurt - 27. Hawaiian Wedding Song - 28. Can't Help Falling In Love - 29. Closing Vamp.
Approximate running time: 76:01
Posted: 8th. March 2008