An Elvis Sighting In Cambridge, 1987

I was a limo driver in the 80’s and easily my favorite assignment was Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe, who played a show at Harvard’s Bright-Landry Hockey Center. I had driven Elvis earlier that year for his “Spin the Wheel” tour, 3 nights at the Orpheum of a 5 day stay. I spent every show backstage with his then-wife Cait O’Riordan and others. When he came back to town with Nick, the dispatcher made sure to give the job to me, as much because I’m a huge fan as for client continuity. They were each to play an acoustic set, Nick opening. Nick had his then-girlfriend Margot Kidder and her very pregnant sister with him. I lost count of how many trips I took between the Four Seasons and the rink, as Elvis and Nick went first, then Nick would apologetically ask me if I could go back and get Margot, then again to get her sister. Each time I told him, “Hey, no problem; that’s my job.” What an amazing gentleman. Then Elvis pulls me aside and says he needs a HUGE favor: would I take his room key, go to his hotel room and get his leather jacket from the closet. Would I?? U2 was in town to play the Centrum so they were backstage, as was Aimee Mann and a Til Tuesday bandmate (I offered and made the incredibly shy Aimee a cup of tea). Elvis, remembering me from the Orpheum gigs made it a point to show me the craft table, loaded with cheeses and such, telling me this is what it’s supposed to look like, not that crap that Don Law put out. I was shooting the breeze with Bono and The Edge when their road manager asked me if I should be outside, where their drivers were. “I’m with Elvis,” I replied. Nick played an awesome set, as did Elvis (in said leather sports coat), then they came out together for an encore of “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding.” We had to hang out a while for the arena to empty so we could get out of the parking lot, and I asked one of the Harvard students working security if I could get one of the shirts they had printed for the show. He took it off and handed it to me. Still have it…

(by Edw​ard Onessimo)

Published on April 22, 2019