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Yesterday in La Crosse

They called it your only chance to see Elvis in La Crosse, and they were right

Brad Williams



Never mind the annual “Elvis Explosion” of tribute artists every year in La Crosse. The real Elvis Presley only appeared once in the city, May 14th, 1956, at the Sawyer Auditorium. Two big shows, 7 and 9:30. A newspaper ad listed the other performers on the bill…Presley’s backup singers, the Jordanaires…Irish tenor Frank Connors (spelled “Conners”)…the Flaim Brothers…and Rick Flaim and his orchestra. Highest ticket price, $2.50.

A review by a Monroe County newspaper said the gyrating singer looked like “a man who has swallowed a jackhammer.” It was reported that the district attorney was asked to try to stop the second show on that Monday night, and in the days after the concert, one citizen wrote to the FBI, calling for an investigation and saying Elvis was a security threat to the U.S. J. Edgar Hoover replied that Elvis wasn’t under the jurisdiction of the FBI…in 1956, yesterday in La Crosse.