February Was "Elvis Month" at the International Hotel
When Elvis returned to live performing starting in 1969, February was one of the two months (August was the other) each year that found him on stage in Las Vegas at the International Hotel (later the Hilton). Variety covered nearly all of his Vegas appearances through the years. On February 3, 1971, the show biz magazine reviewed Elvis's fourth engagement at the International.
"All the principal arteries leading into and around Vegas are dotted with 'Elvis' billboards," Variety noted. "Bus benches everywhere contain the same message and radio is busily putting out the word many times an hour. This, a favorite Col. Tom Parker promo, will continue throughout the month as the Presley mystique continues to grow and grow in this aleatory sand pit."
The reviewer declared that Elvis came on even stronger than in his three previous sold-out engagements. "The programming is better with amounts of the goodies along the past years spaced out well, interspliced with contemp fare and—stroke of master planner—a couple of his gospel hits. Amazingly, his trump tune brings down the curtain with a roaring surge of applause … after more than an hour of belting and much physical exertion, that wins the surprise sweepstakes of the year for a Vegas performer."
The writer was particularly impressed by Elvis's ability to integrate karate moves into his act. "Presley has also designed his karate chops for better frequency, so that when he does give the moves, the effect is dynamite in topping off a rhythm tune."
Of Elvis's customary stage-side kisses, Variety noted, "The usual ringside tour in 'Love Me Tender,' with the bussing of femmes, is also gotten out of the way early in order that the principal game be played to enthrall the greater majority of votaries."
Variety's entire review of Elvis's show was over-the-top positive, concluding with, "The entire scheme this trip is a model of the most highly effective showmanship touches, blended with very good sounds."