Home > Newspaper Articles > 1977 > April 28 1977 (8:30 pm). Green Bay WI.

CONCERT DATE: April 28 1977 (8:30 pm). Green Bay WI.

The King in Green Bay: Catching a Falling Star
by Ellen Tufts
Green Bay News-Chronicle
April 29, 1977

After six weeks of waiting for what they believed to be the world's greatest entertainment act, 6534 Elvis Presley loyalists caught a falling star Thursday night at the Brown County Arena. But even dying legends have their own eerie magnetism, and probably not one of the gathered fans who paid from $12.50-$85 a ticket to watch the 42-year-old Mississippi-born singer felt cheated.

The sellout crowd started gathering in the arena lobby around 7PM, and for am hour and a half they streamed past ticket scalpers and souvenir hawkers, teased and baited until showtime. As a matter of fact, the tease element is just about all that's left at the kernel of both Presley's mystique and actual performance.

Would the guitar strummer arrive, as rumored, by plane at 9PM and be whisked to the arena in time for the second half of the show? Would the screaming, clawing, near-hysterical women and teenage girls bearing roses and teddy bears and love notes get seated close enough to fling them at the King of Rock 'N' Roll? Would cameras and flashbulb picture taking be permitted by the Col. Parker promoters even though motion picture, TV cameras and tape recorders were forbidden? Would the interminable first half of the show, including a gospel quartet, a standup comedian and a trio "The Sweet Temptations," ever finish their grim task of preceding a superstar?

All this came to pass, and at approximately 9.30PM the house lights darkened. After a hyper-dramatic drum roll, the Presley backup band soared into the theme from "2001: Space Odyssey." Just like you heard it was out at his fabulous pyrotechnics at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. Not quite, though; time plays tricks, even sapping the talent of superstars. There stood the King all of a sudden, not jowly, pudgy, or flabby - but pale and unsteady, a rather slender common man wearing a white and gold-encrusted jumpsuit just a size too large.

And although his old delivery never quite deserted him through his repertoire, Presley had a rough time of it during most of the evening. Right after his first two songs, C.C. Rider and I Got a Woman, he announced, not quite coherently, that he was limping slightly from a twisted ankle due to "bright lights from last night." A few numbers later, just after You Gave Me a Mountain of Love - he slurred the lyrics a bit, Presley told the house that "we have two sound systems here, one on stage and one out where you are, and it takes a while to get them adjusted."

Some of the rockers in a medley were attempted with the old Presley emotional drive, such as Jailhouse Rock and Hound Dog, but they carried the exhumed style of a tired performer past his time on the circuit. And he seemed to have trouble communicating with the audience past the first few rows of fans who were always about to leap on stage. Presley relied on the scarf routine to bail him out of rough waters. After a court aide appeared with a handful of first white, the blue, scarves, the King out them around his neck and then flung them gratuitously to the ladies.

This, along with a few pelvis gyrations and a splendid delivery of If You Love Me Let Me Know, kept most fans happy - until he committed the unprofessional gaucherie of bringing on sheet music to help him with the lyrics of Paul Anka's My Way. At one point, in one of those mail-drop topical jokes that performers make when playing Green Bay, he said he wanted to thank Bart Starr "for his helmet and jersey."

After about 75 minutes, the show was over, without encores, bows or grace notes. Until he was out of sight, though, hundreds of camera flashbulbs exploded almost continuously and all the loyalists kept reacting with proper frenzy to their king.

Courtesy of Scott Hayward