Home > Newspaper Articles > 1977 > April 25, 1977 (8:30 pm) Saginaw, MI.



CONCERT DATE: April 25, 1977 (8:30 pm) Saginaw, MI.

Elvis Heats Up Saginaw Crowd
By Anthony A. Rocha And Janet I. Martineau
The Saginaw News
April 27, 1977?

Falling scarves, embattled police, screaming women, popping flash bulbs and a sneering singer an Elvis Presley concert make. And such was the case Monday night at Wendler Arena as the legendary "King" paid his first of two visits to Saginaw

An Elvis concert makes for an interesting time of people watching - not only watching this pulsating superstar sing and work his magic but watching the legions of fans carry on. It appears they'd kill just to snatch one of the sweaty scarves he flings at them like golden coins.

Elvis, despite being in his 40s and carrying extra pounds, still turns 'em on. He still has that animal magic, that power that with a single swivel or smirk or glare can elicit screams of "Oh Elllllllll-vis. We love you!"

He looks tired and a bit the worse for wear. He doesn't girate nearly as much as he used to. His singing time amounts to less than an hour of the 2 1/2 hour concert.

But despite that, he sings as well as ever. His sense of humor sparkles. In fact, he seemed in rare form Monday - he didn't forget any words to any songs as he has in the past, he didn't get as winded as he did at the Pontiac concert in 1976, and he seemed to be having as good a time as his fans.

One gets the impression he views this as a big put-on, surveying his adoring fans like a conquering hero.

Among the songs he tossed out were "C. C. Rider," "I Got A Woman," "Amen," "Treat Me Like A Fool," "This Time," "Jsilhouse Rock," "It's Now Or Never," "Heartbreak Hotel," "Little Sister," "Teddy Bear," "What'd I Say," "Hound Dog," "Hawaiian Wedding Song," and his new "Hurt".

He also did a very effective, and highly appreciated, "My Way."

He mumbled to his band and back-up singers, teased with the audience by saying "What did you say, honey? to women who shouted endearments and once said "Is that me?" when surprised by a low note he hit.

When he wiped his furrowed brow with one of the colorful scarves and then threw it into the crowd, he smirked at the commotion it caused. When a fan on top of someone's shoulders threw him a bunch of flowers he bantered with her a bit, gave the flowers back at her request and kissed her. The arena went mad.

Police on duty, trying to keep fans from rushing the stage, fought a never ending battle, but for the most part seemed to keep a sense of humor about all the hoopia.

When one girl pleaded with a female officer to try to grab a scarf for her, the officer retorted, "And get killed? No way!!! Toward the end, as the frenzy reached its peak, the battle was a losing one.

Presley does everything he can to continue his mystique. There are the slow built-up entrance and quick exit, the white outfits bedecked with glitter, the fingers full of sparkling rings. He still enters to the tune of Strauss' "Also Sprach Zarathustra" (best known as the theme song from the movie "2001. A Space Odyssey") which is geared to point excitement.

And there still is the constant hawking of "super Elvis momentoes, a reminder of your night with Elvis." For prices ranging from $2 to $5 you can get big color posters of a younger Elvis, belt buckles and big buttons, pennants and necklaces. Business was booming.

The only thing he didn't do in Saginaw which he usually does elsewhere was rip his pants. (Which brings us to other stories people have written about how terribly fat Elvis has become. OK, he's not the hulking mass many writers would have us believe he is).

Fans of Presley are loyal, dedicated and devoted to a point or near-reverence for the semi-deity of popular music. Form matters more than substance and content to them.

"I have always liked him since he first started singing," said a bank clerk who admitted to being in her mid-40s, "My mother, who is 69, is here and she's just tickled. My brother thinks he is the best singer ever. My 36-year-old married daughter is really crazy about him. and my youngest son and his girlfriend are sitting there really enjoying him.

Such remarks typified the mood of the audience.

"I like him better now than when he was younger," said Mrs. Delphine Isquierdo, 2204 Phelon. "I came here with my youngest girl, who is a student at Central Michigan University, who sent in for the tickets then dragged us along."

Did the front row seats go to special people?"

"As soon as we heard about the Presley concert I went right to the post office, got a money order and mailed it out," said Mrs. Bonnie Blower, 1605 N. Carolina. She said she nearly fainted when she got the tickets back for front-row seats. "I mean they were center section and I Could hardly believe it."

Mrs. James Campau of 1563 Treanor said not even her recent operation could keep her away. "Just to be there in the front section and see him was worth it all.

Said Mrs. Sharon Hanson, 31 and a Social Services supervisor, "it's his voice, I like his voice. He's such a good singer.

One 50ish man, asked on the side if it was his wife who dragged him here, nodded and said, "Yes. But you know, he is pretty good, even yet."

Entertaining before the show was a Gospel group with a bass who vibrated the rafters with his slow notes (and later heckled Elvis with those low notes); a trio of black soul singers and comedian Jackie Culhane who complained, "Elvis was met by Mayor Tortora, I was met by sister Ardeth."

Courtesy of Ron Theisen