Elvis Presley is the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.
Las Vegas is the entertainment capital of the world.
No wonder these two legends go hand in hand.
Elvis was a true Southern gentleman, but he loved the wild West, especially Las Vegas.
He ruled Vegas during his residency there, thrilling more than a million fans with his powerful live performances. And of course, one of his most beloved films is the stylish, colorful and fun “Viva Las Vegas.”
More than 40 years later, the king returns to Vegas with Graceland Presents ELVIS: The Exhibition – The Show – The Experience, a new permanent, expansive exhibition that covers Elvis’ life and career, as well as live, Elvis-themed shows that honor his legacy. It’s all happening at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino, formerly the International Hotel, where Elvis performed more than 600 sold-out concerts.
Graceland Presents ELVIS opens April 23 and includes Elvis Experience, the first show in the newly named and renovated Elvis Presley International Showroom.
Tickets are on sale now, and you can learn more at Graceland.com/Vegas.
Let’s take a look back at Elvis’ wildly successful Vegas shows.
Elvis was originally booked for a four-week, 57-show engagement at the International Hotel in Las Vegas, which had just been built and had the largest showroom in the city. He put together a top-notch group of musicians and vocalists to accompany him, and his show opened on July 31, 1969.
Elvis soon made the International a home of sorts. He toured the country, but he returned to the International hundreds of times and performed for more than a million fans.
Elvis’ Las Vegas shows were a mix of classic hits and new material, as well as covers of songs he liked. He performed two shows a night, one at 8 p.m. and the other at midnight.
The stage was Elvis’ natural habitat, and he gave each performance his very best. In between songs, he entertained the audience with jokes and his charming personality.
A few of the reviews of Elvis’ Las Vegas shows include:
“There are several unbelievable things about Elvis, but the most incredible is his staying power in a world where meteoric careers fade like shooting stars.”
– “Newsweek,” August 11, 1969 issue
“…a style and panache that come close to pure magic. Lithe, raunchy, the sweat pouring down his face, he now moves with the precision of an athlete, the grace of a dancer…flamboyant and flashy, sexy and self-mocking, he works with the instincts of a genius to give poetry to the basic rock performance.”
– W.A. Harbinson, from his 1975 book, “The Illustrated Elvis.”
Elvis had more than a few recognizable faces in his audiences. Sammy Davis Jr. and Tom Jones attended his opening night performance. Davis was in the front row, and Elvis gave him one of his own rings right there from the stage.
Elvis’ shows broke all Vegas attendance records, and the city still honors him.
Today, there’s an Elvis statue at the Westgate. Elvis was inducted into the Las Vegas Walk of Stars in 2008, and his star is in front of the Riviera near the famous Crazy Girls statue.
King of Rock ‘n’ Roll is the King of Las Vegas, too.