There’s been a lot of buzz around the new Elvis biopic and we’re betting this piece of trivia will leave you “all shook up” — Elvis performed his last concert in Indianapolis.
45 years ago, the king of rock and roll took the stage at Market Square Arena, now demolished. Tickets were upwards of $15 apiece — a price that would equal about $63 today. The line was quite long to get them, with people waiting 12+ hours before they went on sale in April 1977.
The 42-year-old legendary performer played the hits, ranging from “Jailhouse Rock,” to “Hound Dog,” to his closing song, “Can’t Help Falling in Love with You.” It was the last show on his tour and he died just a couple of months later.
If you haven’t noticed the plaque outside Whole Foods downtown, you might not know that the area at 320 E. Market St. used to be a venue called the Market Square Arena. It was torn down with a loud explosion in July 2001 because it couldn’t meet the demands for the up-and-coming “luxury box.” It has since been replaced by what we now know as Gainbridge Fieldhouse.
The music + sports arena was built in the 1970s under the leadership of Mayor Lugar, who wanted to revitalize Indy’s image as “India-no-place.” It became the fifth largest sports arena in the US at the time with 19,000 seats and a flying saucer-like dome. It not only hosted concerts and basketball games, but also boxing matches, hockey games, circuses + rodeos.
In case you were wondering, many other music icons took the stage at Market Square, including Led Zeppelin, Paul McCartney, and Prince. Plus, all-star athletes like Michael Jordan and George McGinnis performed their magic at the venue, as well.
Have we sparked your interest in the King of Rock & Roll? You can learn more about his life + legacy in the new movie “Elvis,” directed by Baz Luhrmann. The film journeys through his early career until its end (but unfortunately doesn’t cover his iconic Indy performance). You can catch it in local theaters like Kan-Kan Cinema, the Living Room, and Tibb’s Drive-In.