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Home > Special Themes > Binghamton, NY
Binghamton, NY by Francesc Lopez
Binghamton is the seat of justice for Broome County. Situated at the junction of the Susquehanna and the Chenango rivers, it was known for a long time simply as Chenango Point. The site of Binghamton presents one of the most picturesque and beautiful landscapes that can easily be imagined. It is a slightly undulating plain, cut by the Susquehanna, running from east to west, and the Chenango, running from north to south, and almost completely surrounded by high hills, which add greatly to the general attractiveness of the scene1.
The Sun Bulletin reported that "Elvis Presley touched down in Broome County at 12:16 this morning. The 42-year-old living legend of rock and roll arrived at the Broome County Airport aboard his privately owned four-engine passenger jet, which airport officials said was one of the largest ever to land in the county. Presley and several members of his 80-man entourage who flew in with him were immediately whisked by waiting limousine to the Binghamton Treadway Inn. As a security measure, Binghamton police blocked off several blocks around the hotel."
Elvis performed twice in this small town close to the Pennsylvania border and three hours northwest of New York City. On May 26 and 27, 1977 Elvis debuted in Binghamton in the middle of his long 31st tour. Binghamton was a convenient stop for Elvis who was coming from Rochester where he performed the day before on May 25, 1977, and was going to Philadelphia, PA for a concert on May 28, 1977. That could be the reason why Elvis was scheduled to perform in this little town.
The Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena is a small arena that can host 6,925 (4,679 for hockey) people. The Arena has been home to the Binghamton Senators, who are affiliated with the Ottawa Senators of the National Hockey League.
Besides Elvis Presley concerts, the Arena has hosted some notable names in entertainment -AC/DC "SOLDOUT", Bob Dylan, B.B. King, the Dave Matthews Band, Kenny Rogers, Aerosmith, Fleetwood Mac, Van Halen, Elton John, Keith Sweat, Cher, Dolly Parton, Phish, Green Day, and Carrie Underwood, to name but a few.2
Elvis' first concert in Binghamton was not as bad as some of the other concerts from this tour, and it contained a rare version of Why Me Lord. This was the last time Elvis performed this song on stage.
The concert reviews were focused on the first night and came from the two newspapers. The evening one was more critical, with articles titled "Presley Makes A Spectacle Of Himself," and "Big E' Leaves His Fans 'Paunchy'." On the other hand, the Sun Bulletin titled Elvis' performance as "Presley Thrills Crowd At Arena"
After the first concert was over, Elvis returned to the hotel to find the back entrance door closed. Len Leech was able to witness the incident: "In between beating on the door, Elvis smiled and posed for pictures. The bodyguards got nervous after a girl leaped up on the platform so Elvis said " OK boys, calm down. Let's get back in the car."
"They all piled in the car, backed it up and turned around, and drove slowly out into the thick coliseum traffic, as the hotel was just across the street from the arena...ten minutes later they came back the same way and almost flew from the car to the back door (which was open by this time) as there were hundreds of fans there by then wondering what was causing all the commotion."3
The second concert had some rarities such as Heartbreak Hotel and Bridge Over Troubled Water. The real highlight, though, was a fantastic version of Unchained Melody just before closing.
After the second show, Elvis flew to Philadelphia.