RCA recorded multiple shows during the season, all during the latter part of it – the recordings started on August 21st midnight show and continued up until August 26th (MS) with eleven full shows captured. A ‘best of’ type LP was compiled of the live performances and released on October 1969 titled From Memphis To Vegas – From Vegas To Memphis containing live performances from August ’69 (Elvis In Person) on the first record, and recordings from the American Sound sessions from January/February ’69 on the second (Back In Memphis). Later both LP’s were also released separately.
The LP was a good release for its time but it also has the typical-for-the-time annoyance of over-dubbed applause littered throughout the songs. It took years until the live recordings started to appear in their full, unedited form for fans to hear, but luckily in the last decade they have been steadily popping up under the collectors label ‘FTD’ (Follow That Dream) records – to date, five of them has been released under ‘FTD’, plus an additional two through the mainstream label.
The shows are very similar in general but there are essentially no weak ones – the effort Elvis put on his shows during this particular engagement can make the listener as exhausted as Elvis himself at parts, but excited at the same time. Each performance is a powerhouse and as wild as the next one, which was a remarkable feat considering Elvis gave two shows a day for a month straight. The shows also feature many songs Elvis only ever did during this engagement, as well as a rare ‘life story’ monologue in the middle of each show where Elvis goes through his life and career from his side.
Below is a listing of the complete multi-track sourced shows released on CD so far, with some of the more rare and interesting tracks highlighted;
Title; Viva Las Vegas
Date; August 21st Midnight Show
Track List; Blue Suede Shoes/ I Got A Woman/ All Shook Up/ Love Me Tender/ Jailhouse Rock- Don’t Be Cruel/ Heartbreak Hotel/ Hound Dog/ Memories/ Tiger Man/ monologue/ Baby, What You Want Me To Do/ Runaway/ Are You Lonesome Tonight?/ Yesterday- Hey Jude/ introductions/ In The Ghetto/ Suspicious Minds/ What’d I Say/ Can’t Help Falling In Love
Source; SONY(/RCA), 2007
–> 2CD set – the second CD features a full show from 1969; the first show other RCA recorded material from Vegas.
Title; Elvis In Person at the International Hotel
Date; August 22nd Dinner Show
Track List; Blue Suede Shoes/I Got A Woman/All Shook Up/Love Me Tender/Jailhouse Rock-Don’t Be Cruel/Heartbreak Hotel/Hound Dog/Memories/Mystery Train-Tiger Man/monologue/Baby What You Want Me To Do/Runaway/Are You Lonesome Tonight/Yesterday-Hey Jude/introductions/In The Ghetto/Suspicious Minds/What’d I Say/Can’t Help Falling In Love
Source; Follow That Dream (FTD), 2008
–> 2CD set – the second CD features the full show from 1969; the first one features the original “Elvis In Person” album.
Title; Elvis at the International
Date; August 23rd Midnight Show
Track List; Blue Suede Shoes/I Got A Woman/All Shook Up/”welcome”/Love Me Tender/Jailhouse Rock-Don’t Be Cruel/Heartbreak Hotel/Hound Dog/Memories/Mystery Train-Tiger Man/monologue/Baby What Do You Want Me To Do/Runaway/Reconsider Baby/Are You Lonesome Tonight?/Yesterday-Hey Jude/introductions/In The Ghetto/Suspicious Minds/What I’d Say/Can’t Help Falling In Love
Source; Follow That Dream (FTD), 2002
Title; Live In Las Vegas
Date; August 24th Dinner Show
Track List; Blue Suede Shoes/I Got A Woman/All Shook Up/Elvis “welcome”/Love Me Tender/Jailhouse Rock-Don’t Be Cruel/Heartbreak Hotel/Hound Dog/I Can’t Stop Loving You/Johnny B. Goode/Baby What You Want Me To Do/Runaway/Are You Lonesome Tonight?/Yesterday-Hey Jude/introductions/In The Ghetto/Suspicious Minds/What’d I Say/Can’t Help Falling In Love
Source; SONY(/RCA), 2001
–> 4CD set – the first CD has a complete show from 1969; other CD’s cover other RCA recorded material from Vegas, spanning Elvis whole career.
Title; Hot August Night
Date; August 25th Midnight Show
Track List; Blue Suede Shoes/I Got A Woman/All Shook Up/”welcome”/Love Me Tender/Jailhouse Rock-Don’t Be Cruel/Heartbreak Hotel/Hound Dog/I Can’t Stop Loving You/My Babe/Mystery Train-Tiger Man/monologue/Baby What You Want Me To Do/Runaway/Are You Lonesome Tonight/Words/Yesterday-Hey Jude/introductions/In The Ghetto/Suspicious Minds/What’d I Say/Can’t Help Falling In Love
Source; Follow That Dream (FTD), 2013
Title: Live In Vegas
Date; August 26th Dinner Show
Track Listing; Blue Suede Shoes/I Got A Woman/All Shook Up/Love Me Tender/Jailhouse Rock-Don’t Be Cruel/Heartbreak Hotel/Hound Dog/Memories/My Babe/Mystery Train-Tiger Man/monologue/Baby What You Want Me To Do/Runaway/Inherit The Wind/Yesterday-Hey Jude/introductions/In the Ghetto/Suspicious Minds/Can’t Help Falling In Love.
Source; Follow That Dream (FTD), 2011
Title; All Shook Up
Date; August 26th Midnight Show
Track Listing; Blue Suede Shoes/I Got A Woman/All Shook Up/Love Me Tender/Jailhouse Rock-Don’t Be Cruel/Heartbreak Hotel/Hound Dog/I Can’t Stop Loving You/Mystery Train-Tiger Man/monologue/Baby What You Want Me To Do/Runaway/Are You Lonesome Tonight (“laughing version”)/Rubberneckin’/Yesterday-Hey Jude/introductions/In The Ghetto/This Is The Story/Suspicious Minds/Can’t Help Falling In Love
Source; Follow That Dream (FTD), 2005
–> The final show RCA recorded.
It should also be noted that although more than likely soundboard recordings were made throughout the season, only a couple has surfaced. The most notable of them being what has been dated being from August 3 dinner show – the exact date of the show remains unknown but it’s most likely not too far off, and it is still the earliest known recording from the engagement, and from Elvis’ return in general. It has circulated the Elvis-world as an unofficial (‘bootleg’) CD for years but finally in June 2014 it was released officially under the ‘FTD’ label under the title The Return To Vegas.
Despite the fact that it is not a professional recording and soundboard recordings weren’t meant for us (the general public) to begin with, it is a show well worth tracking down as it’s slightly different compared to other known shows from the season, and the quality is very decent.
The known audience recordings are a completely different matter – they are also making the rounds in the ‘bootleg world’ but to date none have been released officially. The sound quality in practically all of them is far from good but they are an interesting listen to any hardcore fan as some of them cover the mid-engagement. Strictly ‘study material’.
It is a fact that Elvis’ return was quite an event, yet, amazingly enough absolutely no (proper) professional footage of Elvis has surfaced from the entire season. There are clips floating around of some of the celebrities being interviewed near the showroom, as well as few seconds of footage from the end of the show as the curtain was closing.
Two screen captures from the known ‘professional footage’ taken inside the showroom during the July 31st opening show.
Ironically, all that can be seen of Elvis are his feet, and only for a split second.
The clip below contains the known (available) footage of different celebrities being interviewed before the opening show – the lady conducting the interviews is Las Vegas journalist Gloria Greer who was hired by Colonel Tom Parker. She was there to film and interview the celebrities attending the show and the footage was aired on her own TV-news segment Stars On The Desert the following day. So far this only includes Henry Mancini and Shirley Bassey although most likely more was filmed.
The material mentioned above is the closest we can get to Elvis through ‘professional’ footage – however, and despite the strict ‘no photography/filming allowed’ Vegas policy, some fans were brave enough to smuggle even film cameras into the showroom. Super-fan Jean-Marc Gargiulo from France was one of these people and without him, we would have practically no footage at all of Elvis in action in August 1969. The exact date of the footage is not known but it was filmed between 12th and 25th.
Despite the dark setting, the fact that it is without sound, and the unfortunate coincidence that Elvis was wearing a black suit during the show (makes him almost disappear in the footage at times), it is still an excellent piece of film – it shows Elvis wild and untamed. No sign of the conservative Hollywood style, just pure power and most importantly, pure Elvis.
UPDATE –> Another, more obscure and much shorter clip of Elvis performing in August 1969 is also making the rounds – unfortunately it also shows Elvis in a black suit, and on top of that, it looks to be multiple generations down the original film taken from a lousy VHS copy, so the quality is far from good. However, looking at the footage closely it looks to be Elvis wearing a different suit; the black two-piece with long(er) jacket (no chest pockets) – in fact, it could well be from the show listed as “5.1d” on the IN PERSON page; not only does Elvis’ suit/scarf seem to match but so does the bands (Charlie in black, rest in full white).
– If you know who filmed this piece of footage, please contact us.
© unknown / youtube