Home > Newspaper Articles > 1975 > December 31, 1975 (8:30 pm). Pontiac, MI.

CONCERT DATE: December 31, 1975 (8:30 pm). Pontiac, MI. Pontiac Stadium

Elvis Still Shakes 'Em Up
by Mike Maza
Detroit News
January 1, 1976

New York City can keep Guy Lombardo and Times Square. with Elvis at Pontiac Stadium, Detroit has the beginning of a really wild New Year's Eve tradition. ask Nancy Fluegge

the time was 10 pm, New Year's Eve, as Lombardo and his Royal Canadians were warming up for their 45th annual New Year's toot at the Waldorf. Nancy Fluegge was waiting for Elvis - and for the other 27 women ahead of her in line outside a ladies room at the stadium.

The 47-year-old West Bloomfield mother of three pulled a lacy shawl tighter around her backless chartreuse dress. She shivered, and said: "I love it. I love every minute of it. I love Elvis. I love all these people here - how many, 60,000? I just wish they all weren't in line in front of me."

That's the way it went all night. A generally good-humored crowd waiting to see the son of a banana truck driver from Tupelo, Miss, perform for them - Elvis's biggest live audience ever, he says.

There was, of course, the usual traffic jam coming and going to the stadium. It wasn't as bad as some of the football games, or last month's Who concert, Pontiac police said. But inconvenient just the same.

Inside the stadium, there were some hassles over tickets. a few fans complained of duplicated seat numbers. others, most of them$15 stadium floor seat ticket holders who were unprepared for the booming acoustics of the arena, complained about the sound.

Others weren't happy about their distance from the stage, but many Elvis fans seemed content to watch 1976 come in through a pair of binoculars

An unseen announcer said, "A limited number of Elvis souvenirs are set aside for tonight's show, don't be disappointed.." and every 100 feet people lined up at Elvis-item concession booths. they paid $3 for 12-picture programs. Autographed scarves ("available in baby-blue and Southern mansion white," the announcer points out.) went for $5. But the hottest item seemed to be three-inch Elvis picture buttons at $1. Women pinned them everywhere, including on the front of mink jackets.

Presley will be 41 a week from today. but his appeal still appears to transcend age.

Several white-haired women and a 11 year-old boy were among the Elvis fans who shoved programs at John Mole and begged, "Elvis, I love you," or "Please sign this."

Mole, 26, of Brighton, works as a polisher at the Ford Wixom plant. He looks a little bit like the star. So he copied the Elvis outfit and strolled around the stadium in his white jumpsuit dotted with hundreds of gold doodads (it cost him $500, he said) "I've been following Elvis for 20 years - he's my idol," Mole explained "I hope maybe this will get me enough attention so I can get to meet the man"

Wreatha Shook Of Chesterhill, Ohio, said she and her husband, Claude, drove "through really bad fog from Columbus" to see Elvis. "I've been listening to him since I was making mud pies and I'm not about to miss my chance to see him," she said.

George Anson drove in with his wife and two teen-aged children from Evansville, Ind. Randolph Harter and his wife paid $35 each for a bus charter package from London, Ontario.

Presley brought his whole Las Vegas crew along. Starting at 8:45 pm, just 15 minutes late, a comic and contingents of bluegrass, rock, gospel jazz and soul musicians took the stage in succession to warm up the audience.

Presley hit the 50-yard line stage - a platform 10 feet off the stadium floor, surrounded by speakers and connected to his dressing room by a 70-yard tunnel - at 11:10 pm. Women in glittery dresses and billowing pantsuits joined kids in a rush toward the stage. Lots of screaming. Everything flickered as a generation of flashcubes meets oblivion.

Tossing scarves to the fans between songs. Presley ran through more than a dozen numbers. His oldies got the biggest reaction - "All Shook Up," "Don't Be Cruel," "Heartbreak Hotel," "Love Me Tender" and of course "(You Ain't Nothing But a ) Hound Dog."

Almost midnight: A 10-second countdown ends to cheers ... spotlights swirl and balloons float down from the empty upper tier as Elvis and his fans sing, "Auld Lang Syne"

Courtesy of Ron Theisen