Elvis Live 1969
Review by David Bowling
After appearing in 33 films, Elvis returned to the concert stage in 1968. This led him to an 11 concert stay at the International Hotel in Las Vegas during August of 1969. The RCA label professionally recorded each performance and now, a half century later, have released all 11 complete performances on a massive 11 CD box set titled Elvis Live 1969.
As with most box sets of this type, there is good news and bad news.
First, this set is for the serious Elvis collector. There is a lot of song repetition. Does a person really need 11 similar versions of “Hound Dog,” “All Shook Up,” and “Blue Suede Shoes?” On the other hand, songs such as “Suspicious Minds” have a running time from 5:56 tp 7:42, so there are some interesting differences here and there.
There is a lot of unnecessary conversation, especially in the earlier shows. As his stay at the hotel continued, his talking between songs is significantly reduced. It may have been the shows were running too long, and this was Vegas, where time is money. The early performances had a running time of close to 80 minutes, which gradually were shortened to an hour. It all adds up to over 13 hours of music included in the set.
Most Of Elvis’ music has been released a number of times and in multiple forms. Contained here is some previously unreleased material. It is the first time all 11 concerts have appeared together, complete, and in order.
As mentioned, there is a lot of repetition, as some songs appear in every concert but the gems are “Reconsider Baby,” “Inherit The Wind,” and “Rubberneckin'” which only appear in one concert and were never performed live again.
The original tapes have been remastered and the sound is crisp and clear, especially for the technology of a half-century ago. The bonus is the booklet with a number of pictures of the day.
Elvis Live 1969 is one of the most successful modern day Elvis box sets. It may have some limitations for the casual listener, but provides a nice glimpse into the pre-1970 Elvis performing career.