Home > Newspaper Articles > 1971 > November 6, 1971 (2:30 pm). Cleveland, OH.

CONCERT DATE: November 6, 1971 (2:30 pm). Cleveland, OH.

The Way It Was at the Cleveland Public Hall
by Joanne Galleta
Titusville Herald
November 12, 1971

I've never been really crazy about Elvis Presley.

The reason for that might be that by the time I was old enough to appreciate music, Elvis had already been on the scene for about six or seven years and was becoming a movie star.

I saw all of his movies and liked, but wasn't crazy about, his music.

Then along came The Beatles and my hysteria and devotion was given entirely to the four Liverpool long-hairs. 1 forgot about Elvis.

One thing amazed me about Elvis freaks throughout the years. They were almost always sure about themselves when they calmly told anyone present that Elvis was the king and nobody would ever replace him.

"He started the whole thing," they'd say.

Actually, without Elvis where would rock be today?

Appeared in Cleveland

Elvis appeared at the Cleveland Public Hall last Saturday for two shows. At the afternoon show he played to a full house and it was unlike anything I have ever seen before.

First of all. I had never seen so many people crammed together in one building before. I could not even begin to estimate the size of the crowd, but I could safely say that there was not one vacant seat to be had and that included the balcony. Persons seated in the back of the balcony were probably able to see a tiny dot on the stage which they identified as Elvis Presley.

I am rarely impressed but one could not help but be impressed by the show Mr. Presley put on.

Before his appearance, the crowd was treated to the Sweet Inspirations, a trio similar to The Supremes who were good but who wanted to listen to a girls trio with Elvis lurking backstage?

Mass Hysteria

When the girls left the stage, hysteria gripped the crowd again and we were sure that it would be Elvis this time. Wrong again. A very amateur comedian timidly forced himself on stage and began at-allright-but-sometimes-dull act about how weird people can be. His name was Jack Something and I was glad to see him go.

Once again the stage was empty and as we waited for Elvis to appear I found myself feeling sorry for the people who had to perform before him. Nobody really cared about seeing or hearing anything but Elvis at this point and they made the fact very obvious.

At this time, an official masculine voice informed the audience that there would be a short intermission and that the concession stands would be open for our convenience. Up until that time, he had been informing us that the fire department had requested that there be no smoking and that if we hurried now, we could still buy a souvenir book of pictures of Elvis, or a poster of Elvis or even "opera glasses" to view Elvis if we didn't have a good sent. He also kept saying over and over that if people crowded the aisles during the show, the performance would be stopped and how's that for a threat?

Police Appear

As the intermission dragged on, I began to notice Cleveland cops appearing from nowhere jamming themselves near the stage trying to but looking like front of the appear calm they wished they could be somewhere busting a few potheads instead of at a silly Elvis Presley concert.

Being rather intelligent, I rapidly figured out that if the cops were lining themselves up in front of the stage that Elvis would be the next guy out on stage.

I guess everybody else in the auditorium was as intelligent as I am because tension reached a peak and everyone was sitting on the edge of their seats with eyes wide and a blank expression on their faces.

Once again the official voice came over the public address system only this time it carried the message that everybody wanted to hear. "Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Elvis Presley." Shouts, shrieks, groans, total hysteria.

He calmly walked out on stage seemingly totally oblivious of the thousands screaming and yelling and trying to force their bodies to move closer to him.

Thousands of Flash Bulbs

Once he did appear the crowd was unbelievable. From the teeny-boppers to the matronly old woman, all that could be heard was wailing female voices shrieking undying love for Elvis. People stood on their scats to get a belter look and yours truly and her fellow travelers were not above this. We were so far gone at this time that even when the big Cleveland policemen told us to sit down we did until their backs were turned and once again we stood on our chairs like little kids at the children's matinee.

Up until this time, whenever anything good would appear on stage, thousands of flash bulbs would explode taking pictures of heaven-knows-what. We decided that one fool probably thought he had seen Elvis and had taken a picture and the rest of the idiots decided that he must have seen something, so they were rapidly taking pictures of an empty stage.

When he did arrive, it was though the whole building was under the influence of a giant strobe light due to the many flashbulbs exploding in rapid succession

Long Black Hair

He was fantastic. He was dressed in black bells with gold trim and a black shirt also with gold trim. He wore a red scar around his neck and also had a black and gold cape which was taken off by some lucky stagehand. His long black hair appeared thick and well cared for and his total self was in excellent form.

He began to sing and once again it was hysteria time. People began to pour forth to the stage from nowhere and the cops began to move in to action. Their lack of tact at handling a crowd left much to be desired. One youth merely tried to shake hands with Elvis and was punched in the stomach for his efforts. The cops kept yelling, "Move back, I said move back," and the people paid absolutely no heed. They would move back more or less to keep the cop quiet but as soon as he would move elsewhere they would surge forth again.

I found myself thinking of what an ego trip it would be to come on stage and have thousands of people scream and yell and almost fight each other to get your attention.

Values His Life

Of course he must be used to this kind of attention by now. At times he would joke with the crowd. One time he asked for someone to turn on houselights so he could look at the crowd. Maybe he was counting people at $10 a head, but I think he just wanted to see what age group was most represented. He said that he would like to come down and walk up and down the aisle but the crowd began screaming again so he quickly changed his mind. I guess he values his life.

It's weird, but I can't remember the exact songs he sang. He must have been on stage for about 45 minutes and he was singing the entire time. He slopped only once when he went off to the side, drank something and wiped the perspiration from his forehead.

He took the red scarf off from around his neck and gave it to a girl in the front row who must have died shortly thereafter. His voice was as powerful as it is on record and he gave his all while performing. For a 35-year-old guy, he's really got it all. He sang his oldies with a touch of sarcasm and handled newer songs with great case. He was just great.

Left the Building?

At the end of his performance, he smiled and said that he would see us tonight. And then he was gone as quickly as he had come. People just kind of sat there as if in shock and the official voice crammed itself into our thoughts with, "Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Presley has left the building."

Sure he has, we thought. He's really Superman and just flew off into the sunset. The guy must have thought we were awfully dumb to believe that in a matter of five seconds Elvis could have escaped the Cleveland Public Hall.

We all knew he was still in the building and we all knew that we wanted to see him and tell him how great he was. But there were those Cleveland cops and what could they do if we all decided to tear the place down and demand to see Elvis? Probably use tear gas or worse.

So we abandoned the idea of running up the stairs and finding Elvis alone in his room probably sipping a drink and waiting for his dinner before his next performance.

Still The King

There is feeling of being let down that follows anything good and we all experienced that feeling as we trooped back to the bus station. One out of three people at the bus station had been present at the concert and were still in state, of semi-hysteria. We all boarded the bus and at times we found ourselves wondering what Elvis was doing now.

Well it's all over now and liked what I saw. I'm not about to run out and buy every Elvis record I've missed over the years, but I do know one thing and that is that he picked up another fan in Cleveland.

He's still the king and he's still number one. And we wouldn't have it any other way.

Courtesy of Mr. Archie Bald