Home > Newspaper Articles > 1957 > August 30, 1957 Spokane, WA.

CONCERT DATE: August 30, 1957 Spokane, WA.

Presley Whips 12,000 Into Near-Hysteria
The Spokesman Review
August 31, 1957

Any description of what happened last night at Memorial stadium could be but a pale picture of an event that had to be seen to be believed.

Elvis Presley, his long hair flopping and his sequined gold jacket glittering in the pink footlights, sang 18 songs in the midst of a huge, solid bubble of sound.

It was an unreal atmosphere. On one side of the infield were about as many police officers as appear in new York's St. Patrick's day parade. Behind them in the stands was a near-hysterical sounding crowd of more than 12,000. most girls, a big percentage 14 and younger.

Ushers Helpless

On the other side, spotlighted and vibrating, was a young man who embodies more sheer animal magnetism than many of the "captive" audience - police, reporters, photographers, ushers, first-aid mean - were able to believe had existed.

The crowd jammed the west stands, sitting in the aisles and on rails with a complete disregard for order - many of the standees rue-fully displayed stubs for $3.50 seats to the helpless ushers. The seats had long since been filled and the crowd was so jammed in it was impossible to sort out individual rights.

Attitude Changes

But their attitude changed dramatically after Presley came on, trailing a group of dazed reporters and radio men who were immeasurably impressed with the way he handled himself under their sharp fire.

Presley, who talked with assurance despite giving the impression he was - in the vernacular of his follower - a Rube from Rubeville ("If you wanna see somebody make a idiot outta theirself, you should see me tryin' to stand still...") took the crowd in the palm of his hand.

From the time he rode through a double line of police in a Cadillac until he left after startling rendition of Houn' Dog flash bulbs bloomed like sunflowers in Kansas. White-swetered arms swept in imitative circles and once, when he gave his famous thumb-twirling gesture, the stadium was a waving field of twirling thumbs.

Seemed to Have Fun

And all through it, twisting, bouncing, vibrating and at times sliding back and forth behind a guitar, was Presley. Often his face wore the sneer that his critics find so abhorrent. But mostly, he looked like a 10 year old with the showmanship of a P.T. Barnum.

Presley's last song, "Houn' Dog," added enough sound to the bubble to force grinning police officers to throw their hands over their ears.

The sideburned singer climbed off the stage, dragging the microphone he had cuddled for more than 40 minutes, and crawled toward the crowd on his knees. It was impossible to hear him.

Nothing Out of Line

City juvenile probation officer Robert Brumblay, who was sitting in the infield, had worried a little before Presley came on the stage. He wasn't sure what avenue the exuberance would take.

When it was all over, nothing out of line had happened. there has been an indication that a rush for the stage might be coming as Presley left, but master of ceremonies Hardwood Hardin adroitly parried that.

About all the city could complain of was a few youngsters who were stealing soil from the stadium infield. Presley's feet had touched it.

Courtesy of Francesc Lopez