The King Has Returned (Godfather Records GR494)
Las Vegas International, Las Vegas, NV – August 3rd, 1969 dinner show
(75:45): Opening Theme / Blue Suede Shoes, I Got A Woman, All Shook Up, Love Me Tender, Jailhouse Rock / Dont Be Cruel, Heartbreak Hotel, Hound Dog, Memories, Mystery Train / Tiger Man, monologue, Baby What You Want Me To Do, Are You Lonesome Tonight?, Yesterday, Hey Jude, introductions, In The Ghetto, Suspicious Minds, What’d I Say, Can’t Help Falling In Love. Bonus tracks Las Vegas International, Las Vegas, NV – August 24th, 1969 dinner show: I Can’t Stop Loving You, Johnny B Goode, Runway, Words
Elvis’ big comeback in December 1968 and his decision to return to live concert performance brought him to sign a contract with the Las Vegas International hotel. Performing before 2,000 per concert, the engagement lasted from July 31 to August 28 with two shows per evening and each show lasting just over an hour.
The earliest tape from this return is the dinner show on August 3, a very good and clear soundboard recording with a nice balance between the music, vocals and audience reactions to the event. It first was pressed on two titles in the nineties, Opening Night 1969 (Fort Baxter A.S. CD 731-69) in 1993 and Elvis Meets The Beatles (Teddy Bear Records TB 69) in 1995.
It is natural they would attribute this to the July 31st show, not only because of its historic significance, but also since Elvis mentions this is the first show he’s done in eight years. Last year The Return Of A Prodigy (Gravel Road GR CD 6901-2) was issued with the corrected date.
The show doesn’t open with the Richard Strauss “Also Spracht Zarathustra” music, but with a very short, big band era style music right before “Blue Suede Shoes.” After “I Got A Woman” Elvis says off-mic: “Nonsense, bleep nonsense. To the audience he confesses, “It’s hard to get going on these dinner shows, man. The spirit is willing but the body is doing it’s own thing, boy.” Elvis jokes that his guitar playing could be “any song in the world” before leading them into “All Shook Up.”
The show is spiced with Elvis’ quick wit and humorous stories about beginnign in the business, his career in the movies appearances on television singing to a dog on the Steve Allan show. The show is dominated at the beginning with the old classics including a medley based around “Jailhouse Rock” and a rare, complete version of “What I’d Say.”
But the latter half of the show contains some of covers including his cover of the Beatles’ “Yesterday” and a short reference to “Hey Jude.” The ending of the set are his more contpory songs like “In The Ghetto” and a dramatic version of “Suspicious Minds” played as it was on the Elvis That’s The Way It Is album and film with the dramatic fade and build up.
The four bonus tracks are taken from by ending of the first engagement in Las Vegas. Godfather list the tracks as August 24th dinner show, but they really come from the midnight show that day (“Words” wasn’t preformed at the dinner show). This comes from a very good soundboard recording and includes songs that were not played on August 3rd including a hot version of “Johnny B. Goode” and “Words” which is truly haunting.
The King Has Returned is another quality Elvis release on Godfather. Packaged in a trifold cardboard gatefold sleeve, it has a concise summary of his career in the sixties and the circumstances surrounding his return to lvie performance. Also listed are the other acts on the bill and his backing band. This is a very vivid document of an important period in American pop history.