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Home > Newspaper Articles > 1956 > April 15, 1956. San Antonio, TX.
CONCERT DATE: April 15, 1956. San Antonio, TX.
3,000 Fans Storm Elvis Presley's Dressing Room Here.
by Gerald Ashford
San Antonio Express
April 16, 1956
Elvis Presley, the 21-year-old Memphis boy who has become the hottest thing in show business since Frank Sinatra's best days, narrowly escaped being torn to pieces - unintentionally of course - by a mob of some 3,000 fans who laid siege to the stage door of the Municipal Auditorium Sunday afternoon.
This occurred after a matinee which was the first of two performances given here Sunday by Presley and a group of other entertainers, whose names don't matter. The total audience at the afternoon performance was around 6,000.
In the melee, one girl fainted and was taken to Presley's dressing room, where Presley and others, properly chaperoned, applied ice packs and comforting words. After a few minutes of this, Presley looked into her eyes and asked her how she felt.
"I feel wonderful!" was the inevitable reply.
The near-riot started when Presley's managers placed a table across the stage door and asked the young people in the crowd to line up for autographs. But the entire crowd then pressed against the door and the attempt had to be given up. Others were swarming through all parts of the Auditorium in a fruitless hunt for their idol.
When Presley made an appearance in a mezzanine window above the stage door, one young man climbed up the wall and succeeded in getting his autograph. A few other autographs were handed out through a small, barred window in the dressing room.
Presley, aware from previous experience that it would be impossible for him to leave the Auditorium just yet, then retired to the keyboard of the big pipe organ. He had never played any type organ before, but after picking out a few notes at random he launched into possible renditions of "Silent Night," " Harbor Nights" and other tunes.
"These things fascinate me," he said of the pipe organ. He sang in a church choir, not so long ago, in his home town of Tupelo, Miss., where he lived until he was 13.
Pointing to the mob outside, a reporter asked, "Do you get this everywhere you go?"
"Well," Presley replied thoughtfully, "if I said yes I'd be braggin', but if I said no I'd be lyin'."
His manager chimed in to report, "In Amarillo they broke the windows.
Hordes of impatient teenagers - Sunday night stood their ground at the Auditorium, with growing cries of "We Want Elvis" as the singer finished his second performance here.
Presley brought in more than 6,000 fans at Sunday night's show, a few hundred more than at the afternoon performance. A few managed to get backstage after the show to get autographs from the star, and hundreds of others ganged outside his dressing room.
Presley a young man who seems rather ordinary until he launches into his act on the stage, made his first commercial recording in Memphis only IS months ago. As recently as January of this year he attracted comparatively little - attention here as a supporting member of the Hank Snow hillbilly troup.
His stage acts consists in equal parts of singing, guitar playing and dancing, the whole being classified, if, it can be classified at all, in the rock and roll category.
To an adult ear, all his songs sound pretty much alike, but he puts them over with tremendous verve and vitality, and keeps it up steadily for nearly an hour without visible signs of fatigue, even after he leaves the stage. Perhaps because of his youth, he shows no signs of the nervous tension or need for rest that is common to older performers who put forth even half as much energy.
Most of hiss songs and and announcements were half drowned out by a continuous sound, something between a roar and a squeal, from the largely teenage audience. This sound and the popping of flash bulbs in the hands of amateur cameramen - and camera girls - created a convincing replica of a thunderstorm in the Auditorium.
Just what produced the roars, squeals and other evidences of almost hysterical joy at Presley's performance will probably forever remain a closed book to this reviewer, who is over 2!. Probably Freud would have some explanation.
One girl, when asked why she liked Presley, replied matter-of factly, "I like him because he looks so mean."
This can hardly be the real reason. Presley doesn't actually look very mean, and his attitude toward the over-eager autograph hunters was kindness itself
Courtesy of Francesc Lopez