Thursday, January 28, 2021

“Elvis had thrown a scarf towards us”


Not having blogged since August 16, 2017, there were over 15,000 comments awaiting moderation when I logged in to write my first post in over three years. As it turned out all of them except a few were spam, so why they had not been spotted as such I have no idea. Anyway, one of the real ones was a comment to one of the first posts I wrote, back in 2007, called “Where did the scarves go?” It went like this:

“I was five years old at the June 21, 1974 Cleveland concert in the front row with my mother and sister. After about 100 women broke through the police line my legs were folded up in one of the folding chairs on the floor. Just prior to that Elvis had thrown a scarf toward us. Once the crowd was contained when the police officers handed me a piece of that scarf it's only about 2 inches long but I'll never forget that. I keep that with the full-size program our tickets stubs and will be mounting it in my basement in a shadowbox.”


Reading this, I realized the show in question was one of the two concerts featured on the 7” FTD CD Sold Out! (On Tour 1974) released in 2013. Digging it out, I looked through the booklet, spotting an essay describing the Cleveland June 21 concert, a Friday show near the middle of Elvis’ third tour in 1974. Towards the end of the text, this is what I found:

“The show itself was as wild as in the old days but the security wasn't prepared for that. The stage was very low with a lot of policemen standing in front. At the end of the show, a hundred or so fans rushed to the stage from the left and overwhelmed the guards. While everyone was trying to keep the fans off the stage on that side, several people climbed on stage at the other side with one of them crossing the stage towards Elvis, only being stopped at the last moment by the bodyguards. It must have been frightening for Elvis when the bodyguard grabbed the woman and threw her off the stage. But throughout, Elvis was still bowing and throwing scarves and, for a brief moment, he was surrounded by fans on the edge of the stage. In a flash, his bodyguards grabbed him and he simply disappeared from view. Shades of the '50s: exciting, but also very dangerous.”

Confirmation, if needed, that this was the same event described by the person who had written the comment. I then played the CD and found myself enjoying a fine concert. Listening extra carefully towards the end when Elvis bids the audience “an affectionate farewell”, I heard some serious screaming taking place. Elvis actually stopped singing for a short while during the second verse of “Can’t Help Falling In Love.” Maybe he got distracted by a policeman tossing a fan off the stage. In my head I got a picture of Elvis catching a glimpse of what was happening and shaking his head in amazement.

Unfortunately the comment was posted anonymously (on August 16, 2017, no less), so I have no way to contact the person who wrote it. But I am grateful for him or her taking the time to share a very special Elvis memory, one that in turn led me to revisit Elvis on tour in 1974. And the comment did answer, at least partially, the question I posted back in 2007: Where did the scarves go? A person who at the age of five saw Elvis live on stage keeps a piece of one of them safe. What a treasure.

Further reading:

2 comments:

TY - The Mystery Train Blog said...

I love how you searched out the relevant concert and brought an extra layer of depth to the story. He must have been something to see in person.

Thomas said...

Thank you Ty! It was a great coincidence that the concert the person mentioned was available through FTD. And I agree, it must have been incredible to see him in in concert.