An Elvis Bootleg CD I Really Want

A while back I checked in with Darwin Lamm, Publisher of Elvis…The Magazine, to see what the theme would be for the next issue.  Although it gets mailed to subscribers in December, it will be the January 2009 Birthday Issue.  For his themes, Darwin likes to commemorate the anniversaries of important events in Elvis’ history, such as Elvis’ first recording, first hit, going into the Army, ’68 Comeback Special, Aloha From Hawaii, and so on.  This time, it is going to be “Back To Vegas” – the 40th anniversary of Elvis’ return to live performances in 1969.  Elvis had a four-week run from July 31 to August 26 at the very new International Hotel (now called The Las Vegas Hilton).

So, I needed to come up with an angle to write about.  Then it came to me.  I could write about the songs that Elvis chose for this milestone event.  The playlist had to be an important concern for him, because he wanted this to be a special show.  He had not performed in front of a live audience for nine years, and his only previous appearance in Las Vegas in 1956 was mostly a bust.

I started checking out references to find the playlist for Elvis’ first night concert on July 31, 1969.  My books were no help, so I turned to the internet.  I knew the FTD label had released CDs of many Elvis concerts in Las Vegas, so that seemed promising.  I found two from shows in 1969: Elvis All Shook Up and Elvis Live at the International.  Unfortunately, the first covered his concert on August 23, and the latter featured his August 26 show.  Because Elvis frequently changed his playlists, these wouldn’t do.  I wanted to find out what he sang at the start of his run, not at the end.

Next, I checked out original RCA albums and found In Person At The International Hotel, released three months after the finish of Elvis’ run in 1969.  That didn’t suit my needs either, because it was a selection of songs from the last three nights, August 24, 25, and 26.

The final option I could think of was bootleg albums and CDs, and a quick Google search brought up a wealth of resources.  I found soundboard recordings from August 14, August 12, August 6, and best of all, a CD titled Opening Night 1969.  The title was something of a misnomer, because it is not a recording of Elvis’ July 31 performance.  However, it was either August 1 or August 3, according to different reviews I uncovered. Close enough.  I had found the reference I needed for my magazine article.


However, my research had an unexpected result.  After reading several extremely positive reviews, I decided that Opening Night 1969 was a CD I needed to own.  I had to hear these great performances that the reviewers raved about.  Keep in mind that years ago I decided I had enough Elvis music and wasn’t going to spend money on any more.  Also, my least favorite period for Elvis music is what is generally called the Las Vegas Years.  Most important, I don’t like all the pretentious sound of the overblown orchestration in the later Vegas concerts, and there are too many ballads.  So, it took a lot for me to want to own this CD.

Here are some highlights from the review at that convinced me:  “This is the jewel of all Elvis’ CDs and recordings… his incredible voice was more richer and vibrant than it had ever been.  This CD is a must for everyone.”

Equally positive remarks on included: “…powerful and dynamic… an unbelievably good concert… excellent sound quality”

Of course, these praises could me made about other recorded live concert performances by Elvis.  What made Opening Night 1969 so appealing to me was the fact that Elvis was still thinking like a rock & roller, not an accomplished Vegas showman, as he would later.  He loaded up the show with nine of his biggest rock hits of the fifties.  They were all fresh to him and he put maximum soul and energy in them.  Look at this list songs followed by the appraisals by

Blue Suede Shoes                           Very good 

I Got A Woman                                 Superb

All Shook Up                                     Pure rock 

Jailhouse Rock                                Just great

Don’t Be Cruel                                 Excellent 

Heartbreak Hotel                              Incredible

Hound Dog                                      Wild

Mystery Train                                   Superb

Baby What You Want Me To Do     Great

What’d I Say                                    Full of energy

Of course, the concert wasn’t just these terrific fast songs. It also included several ballads to slow down the pace, plus “Suspicious Minds” and two Beatles songs.  But, it was all those classic rockers performed by Elvis at his peak that made me decide I need to own Opening Night 1969.

I must admit that fulfilling this desire has proven to be something of a challenge.  It’s not like you can go to to buy bootleg albums.  I looked it up on eBay, and found three completed auctions.  The CDs sold for $18, $20 and 10 Euros (whatever that is in American money).  But I’ll keep looking.  It will either show up on eBay again, or I’ll find it somewhere else on the web.  And when I get it, the first thing I will do is burn my own CD with just those above songs on it.  Now that is going to be a really great CD.

©   2005   Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister   All Rights reserved


9 responses to “An Elvis Bootleg CD I Really Want

  1. Mr Kamran Imanian

    Sorry to confuse you Phil Arnold! God Evening to you! The CD I was raving about was the ‘May 16th, 1956’ concert titled :
    “Elvis Rocks Little Rock”
    This is the original CD-Album, by the “BILKO Records” Label. It’s NEW & MINT and never played at all and the Italian Printed insert and back-side art work are also “NEW”!!
    Have I now cleared you up?
    Don’t be confused at let me know if you still want it!
    Kind Regards to you Phil. Kamran Imanian

  2. Mr Kamran Imanian

    Phil, where do I know you from? Please refresh my memory, I can not recall where and how we got together, and when I offered you the Original 1st Press Opening Night 1969? Any way let me know when you get a chance!
    Anyhow I am surely happy to hear you bought a copy!

    Also, Phil Arnold, I have one copy of the 1st pressing original CD-Album “LITTLE ROCK”, which I have never played at all withe the CD-Disc, the Front Insert & the Back Artwork ALL in a Really “NEW” & “MINT” Condition.

    Do you want it? it’s the absolute 1st Press and not this cheap NEWLY PRINTED 2nd Edition !!………………..If you still need one copy of the Original Print, write and offer a reasonable & logical price, and I’ll send it
    along immediately!

    Phil, that goes for any CD from the ’80s, ’90s and 2000s.
    Just e-Mail with the title and particulars and include a picture of the cover of the Front Insert of The Jewel-Case!

    My warmest Regards to you my friend.

    • Hi: I don’t think we have had any contact other than emails concerning Elvis CDs. Sorry, but I don’t have interest in adding any more Elvis CDs to my collection right now.

      Phil Arnold, Original ElvisBlogmeister

  3. Mr Kamran Imanian

    Dear Mr. Phil Arnold, Hello.

    I have one copy of a “NEW” & “MINT” CD-Album, ‘Little Rock’.

    But this CD-Album is the original publication from back then in the ’80s
    when Elvis CDs 1st started to be made! I think it’s one of the 1st-ones published!……..i.e. 28th April, 1956, Afternoon concert in the New Frontier Hotel!

    This is absolutely the 1st issue EXTREMELY RARE & UNPLAYED CD, and not this New Publication, 2nd Issue that’s now being sold!

    If you are interested please let me know on my eMail Address above! That goes for any of the RARE ORIGINAL CDs from the early ’80s, let me know the titles of whatever you are after! They ARE ALL UNPLAYED CD Albums.

    Please, Phil use my eMail Address!
    Kind Regards to you, Phil.
    PS. Phil do we actually know each other from some place? I can’t recall !!

    • Hi: I am confused. I’m not familiar with the “Little Rock” CD. Surely this is not the title for Elvis’ afternoon performance on April 28, 1956. Please clarify. Thanks,

      Phil Arnold, Original ElvisBlogmeister

  4. Mr Kamran Imanian

    Dear Mr. Phil Arnold, Hi!
    I hope you are enjoying the “opening Night 1969 CD” of Elvis Presley!
    I was disappointed that you did not buy mine! However I have many many Original Bootleg CDs of Elvis Presley and ALL are from the beginning of the CD-Publications
    on Elvis since CDs of ALL artists started to come to market back in the early ’80s.
    Would you be still looking for others that you can’t find in a New & Mint Condition?
    e.g. The ORIGINAL LITTLE ROCK CD? (Never Played Copy ! Absolutely NEW & MINT)
    Kind Regards

    • Hi Kamran: Thanks for the offer. As I said in the article, the 70s are my least favorite period for Elvis music, so I’ll pass on the Little Rock CD. However, if you’ve got a CD of Elvis’ afternoon concert on April 28, 1956 at the New Frontier Hotel, please let me know.

      Thanks, Phil Arnold, Original ElvisBlogmeister

  5. Mr Kamran Imanian

    Dear Sir/Madam.
    What an interesting essay!
    However I have one copy of your desired cd that you seem to love and want!
    Mine is in perfect order and NEW & HENCE MINT!
    The CD has never been played and hence it must have a beautiful sound to Listen to!
    Are you still looking for another one?
    If so I am willing to have your offer and the CD is here with me in the UK!
    Best Wishes

    • Hi: Thanks so much for trying to help me find the CD. However, a reader contacted me years ago with a link to a site where I could buy it, and I did.

      Phil Arnold, ElvisBlogmeister

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