Friday, 31 July 2009

Every gig I've Ever Seen #35. Elvis Costello.

Elvis Costello Glasgow 1983

By 1983 Elvis was the indie King of sharp song-writing. Emerging from Punk he evolved into a Top 20 act but with schmartz, jah? I’ve tried, I’ve really tried but ultimately, after all this time, I’m not an Elvis Costello fan. The first 3 albums are great fun but it’s his voice. The fact he ended up doing “She” on the “Notting Hill” film soundtrack confounds me.

Anyway, great old ballroom at the far end of Sauciehall Street in the centre of Glasgow. The Attractions are a great band and the crowd were up for it. Glasgow audiences used to chant “Here we go, here we go, here we go!” before bands came on stage. Not like their jaded seen-it-all London brethren.

Elvis was wearing a shiny pink/purple mohair suit and doing his crooner impersonation. The fast ones were tight and rockin’. “Pump It Up, “Oliver’s Army”, “Mystery Dance”, “Radio Radio”. The ballads all seemed to end in extended vamps with Elvis dragging out the words in Tony Bennett style. Emoting. Wringing the songs out. And it got tedious. Even “Ship Building” a great song about the Falklands War was bludgeoned my Elvis’ vocal workout. Which was a real shame as that song is part of the REAL soundtrack to the Eighties, not “Rio” by Duran Duran. 

A minor Legend and obviously a very clever man but…

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