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Elvis Presley : Vancouver, Canada. Empire Stadium : August 31, 1957

On August 31, 1957, Elvis, Scotty Moore, Bill Black, D.J. Fontana and the Jordanaires went to Vancouver by train to perform at Empire Stadium. It was the second stop of a tour of the Northwest that had started the day before in Spokane. By this time Elvis had recorded eight No. 1 singles in two years, had made three movies and was about to release 'Jailhouse Rock' as his latest single. Having performed in Toronto and Ottawa in April, this was only the third time they ever performed outside of the U.S. and for Elvis it would be the last.Vancouver's first rock-and-roll show had taken place barely a year before, when Bill Haley and the Comets drew 6,000 people to the Kerrisdale Arena. Now Elvis had drawn a crowd over four times larger.

Elvis Presley MP3 Audio Vancouver Press Conference Pop Up Window August 31, 1957 (20:04)

Above, audio interview of Elvis at 22 meeting informally with the press and radio in Empire Stadium, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Attendance 26000 August 31st 1957.

Canada was the only country outside the United States to experience an Elvis Presley Concert.

Elvis, Bruno Cimmoll, Mark Raines, RCA Rep. Ernie Henn, Tom Diskin
Elvis, Bruno Cimmoll, Mark Raines, RCA Rep. Ernie Henn, Tom Diskin and Norm Pringle of CDKA Radio
at the Press conference in the Stadium locker room

Red Robinson, Elvis and Bruno Cimmoll of CKNW
Red Robinson, Elvis and Bruno Cimmoll of CKNW

20 year old Red Robinson, the DeeJay for CKWX who had emceed the Bill Haley show and emceed Elvis' show said, 'That was the first time there was ever a performer in front of 26,000 people in a rented stadium. Sinatra, Crosby, no one ever rented stadiums before him'. According to records given to Red by the promoter Hugh Pickett shortly before he died, there were 25,898 paid admissions and at ticket prices of $1.50, $2.50 and $3.50, the gross receipts came to $61,099.86 of which Elvis probably earned $21,936.32.2

Elvis Presley Vancouver, Canada. Empire Stadium August 31, 1957

Elvis Presley Vancouver, Canada. Empire Stadium August 31, 1957

Elvis Presley Vancouver, Canada. Empire Stadium August 31, 1957

Elvis Presley Vancouver, Canada. Empire Stadium August 31, 1957

Norm Pringle of CDKA Radio, Elvis and Elsie Pringle
Norm Pringle of CDKA Radio, Elvis and Elsie Pringle

Elvis Presley Vancouver, Canada. Empire Stadium August 31, 1957

Elvis Presley Vancouver, Canada. Empire Stadium August 31, 1957

Elvis Presley Vancouver, Canada. Empire Stadium August 31, 1957

Red Robinson said, 'With the press conference over, the reporters were ushered out. As Emcee of the show, I remained with Elvis. Let me tell you about an incident that happened while we killed the hour or so remaining until show time. It taught me that, while Elvis was always polite, he also had a wild streak of fun in him. After we’d been chatting for some time, Elvis opened the dressing room door at the stadium and invited one of the policemen outside to come in. He asked to borrow the cop’s handcuffs… then casually handcuffed me to a shower rod. Then he hid the key and laughed wildly at the joke'.

George Corrie (chauffeur) drives Elvis and fan club contest winner around Empire Stadium prior to start of the show
George Corrie (chauffeur) drives Elvis and fan club contest winner around Empire Stadium prior to start of the show

The crowd was seated in the stadium's stands on either side of the football field, and the stage was set up in the north end zone. It was constructed on the back of two flatbed trucks with a fence put up around it and between the stage and the audience was nearly 100 yards of empty football field with air cadets and police lined up as security. The opening band played for about 45 minutes before Elvis and the band went on. When the music began, more or less drowned out by the screams of the crowd, the crowd surged past the 'security' onto the field and sat down in front of the stage. Scotty said, 'We must have looked like ants to them back where they were sitting. All they wanted to do was to get closer. They didn't care if they had seats or not'.

Stadium officials stopped the show and told the crowd it would not continue until they got back off the field. D.J. Fontana remembers how defiant the crowd was. Stadium officials couldn't budge them. D.J. said, 'They tried and they tried, and they wouldn't move, so we finally started the show'.

Scotty, Elvis and the Jordanaires onstage at Empire Stadium - Aug. 31, 1957
Scotty, Elvis and the Jordanaires onstage at Empire Stadium - Aug. 31, 1957

The concert had lasted all of 22 minutes. Frightened by the surging fans, Parker told Elvis to cut the show short. When Elvis abruptly left the stage Scotty and the others were left onstage to face the fans alone. Unknown to the audience, Elvis had gone into an alcove aside the stairs behind the curtain, gave his Gold jacket to one of his entourage (possibly Gene Smith) who then ran to the car to be whisked away pursued by the fans. Vancouver Sun photographer Ralph Bower said, 'they knocked the fence over and chased him, and that's when he got away. They came like a herd of cattle. I was standing there and they run right over the top of me'. Elvis walked across the field to the dressing rooms unnoticed in his black shirt.

D.J. Fontana said, 'The kids all ran up there and the platform kind of tilted to one side'. By the time they got their instruments loaded into their car, they were surrounded by fans. All they could do was sit and wait it out. 'They shook the car a little bit thinking Elvis was in there with us', said D.J., 'but finally they let us go. It took about two hours for us to get out. It usually took us about two hours to get out of all the buildings'.

Scotty and Elvis onstage at Empire Stadium - Aug. 31, 1957
Scotty and Elvis onstage at Empire Stadium - Aug. 31, 1957

Bower snapped a shot of the crowd just before they trampled him, and the paper ran it on the front page, accompanied by a scathing review by John Kirkwood. 'It was like watching a demented army swarm down the hillside to do battle in the plain when those frenzied teenagers stormed the field," Kirkwood wrote. "Elvis and his music played a small part in the dizzy circus. The big show was provided by Vancouver teenagers, transformed into writhing, frenzied idiots of delight by the savage jungle beat music. A hard, bitter core of teenage troublemakers turned Elvis Presley's one-night stand at Empire Stadium into the most disgusting exhibition of mass hysteria and lunacy this city has ever witnessed'.

The kids who were at the show, of course, felt differently and they loved Kirkwood's hysterical condemnation of the show. Colonel Parker also enjoyed reading the accounts of the riot the next day. Scotty said, 'It really wasn't a riot, the fans were just trying to get closer to the stage to see, that's all'.

Audience rushing Elvis' stage at Empire Stadium
Audience rushing Elvis' stage at Empire Stadium

Red Robinson recalls that at the show they played 'Money Honey', 'That's Where Your Heartaches Begin',  'Hound Dog' and 'Jailhouse Rock'. Red said the 'biggest single goof' of his long career was when he went on the radio the day following the show and divulged Elvis' room number. 'I went on the air the next day and said 'Wasn't that wonderful, Elvis stayed at the Hotel Georgia, room 1226. The kids went up and ripped up the carpet, tore pieces out of the bed. It cost CKWX about $5,000 to repair the room'.

Articles about Elvis Presley Red Robinson Reflects on Rock & Elvis Presley

January 1957

Elvis Presley Photos Elvis Presley : Kennedy Veterans Hospital : January 4, 1957
Elvis Presley Photos Elvis Presley : January 6, 1957 : Warwick Hotel, New York
Elvis Presley Photos Elvis Presley: The Ed Sullivan Show : His third and final Appearance : January 6, 1957 TV Appearance
Elvis Presley Photos Elvis, Monday evening, January 7, 1957 following his last appearance on the Ed Sullivan show
Elvis Presley Photos Elvis Presley : Elvis may move into Graceland Newspaper article : 1957

March

Elvis Presley Photos Elvis Presley displays the toy pistol that caused him some trouble : March 22, 1957
Elvis Presley Photos Pfc. Hershel Nixon and Elvis Presley shake hands : March 26, 1957

April

Elvis Presley Photos Elvis Presley : Buffalo, NY. Memorial Coliseum : April 1, 1957
Elvis Presley Photos Elvis Presley : Maple Leaf Gardens Canada : April 2, 1957
Elvis Presley Photos Elvis Presley : Ottawa Canada : April 3, 1957
Elvis Presley Photos Elvis Presley : Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Sports Arena : April 5, 1957
Elvis Presley Photos Elvis Presley and Knox Phillips : Memphis, TN : Tuesday April 9, 1957
Elvis Presley Photos Elvis Presley with Yvonne Lime : April 19, 1957
Elvis Presley Photos Elvis Presley : New Music Gates at Graceland in 1957 : April 22, 1957
Elvis Presley Photos April 30, 1957 : Bill for Stone Wall Built at the front of Graceland

May

Elvis Presley Photos The Dog House That Frank Helped Build : May 17-19, 1957
Elvis Presley Photos May 1957 : The Jailhouse Rock Recording Sessions New page link

June

Elvis Presley Photos Elvis Presley with comic Lou Costello and actress Jane Russell : Russwood Park : June 28, 1957

August

Elvis Presley Photos Elvis Presley : Vancouver, Canada. Empire Stadium : August 31, 1957

September

Elvis Presley Photos Elvis Presley : Tacoma, WA. Lincoln Bowl (Matinee Show) : September 1, 1957
Elvis Presley Photos Elvis Presley : Seattle, WA. Sick's Stadium (Evening Show) : September 1, 1957
Elvis Presley Photos Elvis Presley : Multnomah Civic Stadium Portland, OR : September 2, 1957

October

Elvis Presley Photos Elvis Presley : October 1, 1957
Elvis Presley Photos Elvis Presley and Joan Adams : Las Vegas, October 1957
Elvis Presley Photos Elvis Presley : October 28 & 29, 1957 : Pan Pacific Auditorium

November

Elvis Presley Photos Elvis Presley : Hawaii : November 9, 1957

December

Elvis Presley Photos Elvis Presley : WDIA Goodwill Revue : December 6, 1957
Elvis Presley Photos
Elvis Presley : December 16, 1957
Elvis Presley Photos Elvis Presley : Graceland : December 20, 1957
Elvis Presley Photos Elvis Presley and Colonel Parker : Isetta Sports Car : Saturday : December 21, 1957
Elvis Presley Photos Elvis Presley : December 21, 1957 : Evening : Ryman Auditorium, Nashville
Elvis Presley Photos Elvis Presley : Hannerl Melcher : December 1957

The Movies Of 1957

Elvis Presleys Movies 1957, Loving You, Paramount
Elvis Presleys Movies 1957, Jailhouse Rock, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

The Movies In Photos

Photos Loving You New page link
Photos Jailhouse Rock New page link

Video

Elvis Presley Video Video : Amazing new Hawaii 1957 footage

DVDs

DVD Elvis : The Ed Sullivan Show : The Classic Performances DVD
DVD The Milton Berle Show DVD
DVD Elvis : The King Of Rock n Roll 30 Hit Performances And More DVD

CDs

CD Greatest Live Hits of the 50’s CD From MRS
CD The Complete Louisiana Hayride Archives 1954-1956
CD Elvis At SUN
CD Elvis Presley : FTD Special Edition 2 CD
CD Elvis
CD The Million Dollar Quartet
CD Loving You : FTD Special Edition Movie Soundtrack 2 CD
CD Jailhouse Rock Volume 1 : FTD Special Edition Movie Soundtrack 2 CD
CD Jailhouse Rock Volume 2 : FTD Special Edition Movie Soundtrack 2 CD
CD 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can't Be Wrong : FTD Special Edition 2 CD
CD The King Of Rock 'N' Roll : The Complete 50's Masters
CD Elvis' Golden Records CD
CD Elvis' Christmas Album CD
CD King Creole CD

Books

Elvis Presley Books Jailhouse Rock : Frame By Frame Hardcover Book
Book Elvis In Gold : 1957
Book King Creole : The Music : FTD Book & CD
Elvis Presley Books The Elvis Files Vol. 2, 1957-1959
Book Jailhouse Rock Hardcover Book : JAT Publishing
Elvis Presley Books
Elvis : Rock, Sex and Roll
Book Elvis : The Hottest Thing That's Cool The '50s inc, Ed Sullivan and Steve Allen Shows
Book Flashback Book + 2 CDs
Book Elvis Presley : The Family Album Book

Elvis Presley Photos

Elvis Presley Photos

Elvis Presley Video Video Preview: Tupelo's Own Elvis Presley DVD

Tupelo's Own Elvis Presley DVD + 16 page booklet. Never before have we seen an Elvis concert from the 50's with sound. Until Now! The DVD Contains recently discovered Unreleased Film of Elvis performing 6 songs, including Heartbreak Hotel and Don’t Be Cruel, live in Tupelo Mississippi 1956. Included we see a live performance of the elusive Long Tall Sally seen here for the first time ever. This is an excellent release no fan should be without it. The 'parade' footage is good to see as it puts you in the right context with color and b&w footage. The interviews of Elvis' Parents are well worth hearing too. The afternoon show footage is wonderful and electrifying : Here is Elvis in his prime rocking and rolling in front of 11.000 people.

We love Elvis Presley !!!!!!!! : So ... Stop, look and listen baby that's our philosophy ... First thing in the morning, last thing at night ... look, stare everywhere and see everything inside ... Stop, look and listen!

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