I'm sorry to say, but I guess that Las Vegas is deadly for anyone with real musical and/or artistic talent. It's easier for clowns, illusionists and glamour-chickens to survive there than it is for someone who really wants to do something new and different.
According to my information, Elvis got sick at the end of '74 and had a very difficult time in the first few months of '75. The tabloids were spreading a lot of lies and rumors about him, and he was having trouble with the image of him being 'fat and forty'.
Well, to be honest, I think that if you compare Elvis at his heaviest with Pavarotti, our man would appear a bit skinny, frankly said. And some people just turn 40, isn't that obvious? Of course, our highly competitive and superficial society demands us to be young and if we aren't, they want their money back. My best guess is that if Elvis would have lived, he would have turned old very gracefully, just like Leslie Nielsen did - he's also still very handsome for a man of that age!
Elvis was already having a lot of trouble in Vegas in '73 - throat problems, illness.. And if you listen to some of his shows from this period, he can be heard laughing hysterically and be plain angry just a few minutes later. There's a FTD release which portrays this quite well, I think it was 'Closing Night'.
In '74, he started out the Vegas season quite well in January, but when he made his return in August the crowd didn't seem to appreciate his renewed set list, with a lot of more recent, serious and emotional songs. The crowd only seemed to respond to songs like Hound Dog and Love Me Tender and of course we all know that Elvis at that time had matured a lot and these oldies weren't that important to him anymore.
His physical and emotional condition seemed to worsen in August, September and October and I guess this definitely had something to do with him not being recognized as an intellectual singer. People expected him to be a '50's rock'n roll singer' and while he was busy entertaining the crowd, the Colonel just seemed to waste this hard-earned money on cards, dice, poker and the casino..
According to my information, Elvis did get sick of Las Vegas. I don't why there are so few soundboards from this period, I haven't got an idea. I, for instance, would love to hear a soundboard from '76 because he was in fine shape vocally and these shows are definitely not so bad as the majority seems to be thinking. Elvis also appeared to be moving away from the overloaded Vegas sound and tried once more to go back to his roots, playing the guitar on That's Allright Mama, Blue Christmas, Are You Lonesome Tonight.. And of course he also showed the crowd he was a fine singer with operatic songs like Hurt. I guess this one fitted his voice and mood at this time!
I guess that if Elvis had lived maybe people would have gotten a more realistic perspective on how the man was/is - now folks just seem to concentrate on the lies spread in cheap books like 'Elvis, What Happened' with made-up stories about the drugs, the women and all that jazz.
Of course, Elvis wasn't like the hippies at all in the sense that he did need his medication, but he definitely stayed away from street drugs like crack or heroin. Most often people who are addicted to this shit are skinny to the bone and Elvis was a good looking man with a liquid problem in his body due to the medication, that's why he appeared chubbier than he really was.
Just my opinion folks, that's all