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Home > Newspaper Articles > 1957 > April 1, 1957. Buffalo, NY.
CONCERT DATE: April 1, 1957. Buffalo, NY.
Elvis Sings, Swings, Leaves Thousands In Teens Hoarse
By Sylvan Fox
Buffalo Evening News
April 2, 1957
Elvis Presley - the stuff of which some teen-age dreams are made - swept Buffalo like a whirlwind Monday evening. Behind him he left more than 10,000 hoarse throats and about the same number of emotionally wrong-out psyches.
For 30 minutes, the gyrating, grimacing guitarist singer slumped and wave his way about the small stage in Memorial Auditorium, bringing his predominantly feminine audience to a fever pitch of excitement that expressed itself in incredibly ear-spitting screams and a fervor of arm-waving.
The turnstile court of crowd was 10,375. They were mostly teen-agers, screaming at the limit of their physical power. Elvis could barely be heard as he went through his repertoire of inimitable numbers: Heartbreak Hotel, I Was The One, I've Got A Woman, Don't Be Cruel, That's Where Heartaches Begin, and for a climatic close "You Ain't Nothing But A Hound Dog"
An Emotional Catharsis
But whether he could be heard or not didn't make too much difference. The thousands of young girls, and a scattering of boys and adults had come not to hear a singer. They had come to see Elvis to touch him if possible and to get his signature on a piece of paper to cherish always - or at least until another idol comes along.
Elvis is not just "a good showman" as his manager Col. Tom Parker asserts. People don't act they way they did over a show, no matter how good a show they are seeing and they paid from $2 to $3.50 to see Elvis.
Rather, Elvis' performance is a vast of emotional catharsis for thousands of teen-agers who have found in this 22-year-old former truck driver something that answers in a vague and ephemeral way, their longings and strivings.
And much of their reaction, it might be added, is not toward Elvis directly, but toward each other. As they stand screaming and waving their arms in adoration of this unreal figure in outlandish clothing, they are together. They belong.
Din Lasts 3 Minutes
The crowd for the most part neatly dressed in typical teen age grab - skirt, sweater, bobby sox and sport shoes - was relatively quiet and patient while waiting for a string of tap dancers, singers and banjo players to complete the first portion of the program. Only an occasional "We want Elvis" interrupted the otherwise routine acts.
But the moment came when Elvis made his appearance on the spotlight stage. The darkened auditorium became a sea of jumping figures emitting a sound that pierced the ears with unbearable shrillness and volume.
He was before them. He wore a $2,500 gold lame jacket, dark trousers and $100 gold shoes. He gripped the microphone, held up his left hand and waited, smiling for the impenetrable din to let up. It lasted more than three minutes without abating.
Hundreds Crowd Exits
When it finally ended, he began his act. Through it all, the outbursts continued gaining in emotionally to reach a climax as Elvis singing "You Ain't Nothing But a Hound Dog," moved violently about the stage, clasped the hand of excited Montez Bellquist, 15, of Jamestown, threw himself to his knees in an impassioned gesture, ended the song and dashed from the stage. He ran full stride down the ramp into a waiting auto and was gone.
Hundreds of disappointed fans, many wearing "Elvis" buttons and shirts with his name on them crowded the exits for more than an hour in a downpour hoping for another look at their idol
Some of the more than 175 police and auxiliaries managed to hold back the screaming girls who would not reconcile themselves to his disappearance. One shouted to another: "Did you touch him ?" Another pointed out to a conference room and said, her voice tremulous: "He was in that room"
Screams With the Others
But not everybody shared the overriding enthusiasm. Attractive Joyce March, 17, of 38 Brinkman St, said she came out of curiosity." She wasn't overly impressed. "He should comb his hair once in a while and wear regular clothes," she commented, adding: "My boy friend is a lot cuter, anyway."
She admitted, however, that she was screaming during the performance. Why? "Because everybody else was."
Katherine Carlo, 18, of 269 Wolz Ave, shyly conceded she was crying during Elvis' display "I love him" the girl asserted "He's terrific"
Little Michelle Ingrado, 10, of 449 Ashland Ave, sat alone and enthralled in a front row seat. Her comment on his performance was: "I think he's the coolest cat on earth."
Before Elvis went on, he held a press conference in a small, crowded room backstage. He is quiet-spoken with aquiline boyish features, dark eyes and the tousled hair and long side burns that have become trademarks.
He answers questions with "yes, sir" and "no, sir".
He entered the crowded room confidently, dressed in street "clothes" - a red jacket, frilly silver shirt, dark pants and the gold shoes he wore later.
Posing with girls who left traces of lipstick on his cheeks where they kissed him. Elvis said he has a new picture, "Loving You" coming out in August.
He admitted it feels "great" to be the idol of the teen-agers and said he likes traveling and crowds. Asked by a News reporter what he will do when the rock and roll fad dies, he said: "I'll try to change, if I can't. I'll just figure I've had my day."
Elvis said he doesn't smoke or drink, that he travels by auto - and that he came here from Detroit and is bound for Toronto.
Sitting on a table with one leg dangling casually, he said, in aanswer to another News reporter's question, that he doesn't think he has an adverse effect on his fans.
"They ... Have Fun"
"I don't think I'm causing them to do anything wrong," he asserted: "They scream and yell and have fun"
For little Barbara Lewis, 11, Niagara Falls, the memory of the performance was obliterated by what happened afterward. She became separated from her sister and some friends couldn't find their car.
The crying girl was taken in tow by Civil Defense Patrolmen Joseph Bryszewski and Roy Schukraft. After a search of parking lots, the found a neighbor, Mr. and Mrs. Roy Williamson who volunteered to drive the frightened girl home.
The crowd was exuberant but orderly and dispersed without incident after the performance. Police said that they arrested John Jerry, 16, of 228 Pratt St., on a charge of malicious mischief. They said he was stoning Auditorium windows from a nearby parking lot.
Police also found two small suspicious looking sealed cardboard boxes on the Scott St. side of the auditorium as the show began. They rushed them to Frankin Station, opened them and found they contained trash.
Courtesy of Francesc Lopez