Elvis & The Imposters play Eventim Apollo, London, March 13, 2020

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Elvis & The Imposters play Eventim Apollo, London, March 13, 2020

Postby Man out of Time » Mon Sep 16, 2019 1:27 pm

As part of the JustTrust UK 2020 Tour, EC and the Imposters play the Hammersmith Odeon/Hammersmith Apollo/Eventim Apollo on Friday March 13, 2020.

The Evening Standard has published this preview by Harry Fletcher today (September 16):

Elvis Costello & the Imposters announce UK 2020 tour: How to get tickets for Just Trust shows

Elvis Costello & the Imposters have announced a new UK tour for 2020.

The legendary singer-songwriter will perform 13 dates in February and March as part of the Just Trust tour, including a date at London’s Eventim Apollo on March 13.

Tickets for the shows go on sale at 10am on Friday September 20. They can be purchased here.

Costello has been one of the UK’s most critically acclaimed singer songwriters for more than forty years. He first came to prominence with the release of his debut My Aim is True in 1977 – the first of his 30 studio albums.

Costello released his most recent album Look Now with the Imposters last year. The group, who have been collaborating with Costello for over a decade, features Steve Nieve on keyboards, Pete Thomas, Davey Faragher on drums, bass and vocals, as well as singers Kitten Kuroi and Briana Lee.

The full list of upcoming UK tour dates is below.

February 28 – Liverpool, Eventim Olympia
March 1 – Southampton, Mayflower Theatre
March 2 – Nottingham, Royal Concert Hall
March 3 – Sunderland, Empire Theatre
March 5 – Glasgow, SEC Armadillo
March 7 – Sheffield, City Hall
March 9 – Blackpool, Opera House Theatre
March 10 – Edinburgh, The Usher Hall
March 12 – Manchester, Palace Theatre
March 13 – London, Eventim Apollo
March 15 – Oxford, New Theatre Oxford
March 16 – Cardiff, Wales Millenium Centre
March 18 – Birmingham, Symphony Hall."

Who's going?

MOOT

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Re: Elvis & The Imposters play Eventim Apollo, London, March 13, 2020

Postby sulky lad » Mon Sep 16, 2019 3:00 pm

Obviously Elvis knows the outcome of Brexit and won’t visit the subcontinent of Eire and also that by March £1 will be worth about 25 cents or 2% of a Euro ! :cry:

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Re: Elvis & The Imposters play Eventim Apollo, London, March 13, 2020

Postby WindUpWorld » Wed Sep 18, 2019 4:27 pm

Going!

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Re: Elvis & The Imposters play Eventim Apollo, London, March 13, 2020

Postby FrankieJ » Sun Sep 22, 2019 12:35 pm

My ticket arrived in the post already! I wasn't even expecting it until next year!

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Re: Elvis & The Imposters play Eventim Apollo, London, March 13, 2020

Postby sheeptotheslaughter » Tue Sep 24, 2019 1:18 am

Row V see you there

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Re: Elvis & The Imposters play Eventim Apollo, London, March 13, 2020

Postby Neil. » Thu Mar 12, 2020 4:31 am

Hi to anyone who's (hoping) to go the Elvis London gig on Friday 13.

Do you want to meet upstairs at the Lyric theatre bar before the gig? It's quite spacious and if it's a mild evening, there's a roof terrace.

It's in Lyric Square, just round the corner from the tube.

https://goo.gl/maps/TRKXTgtNYt83xeha8

I really hope the gig will go ahead - we seem to be on the verge of a new phase of the virus control measures.

Neil

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Re: Elvis & The Imposters play Eventim Apollo, London, March 13, 2020

Postby sulky lad » Thu Mar 12, 2020 6:57 am

I’ll be there Neil and if I’ve got corona virus I’ll have spread it throughout the north of England and Scotland. I might change my log in name to bubonic !!

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Re: Elvis & The Imposters play Eventim Apollo, London, March 13, 2020

Postby Neil. » Thu Mar 12, 2020 10:35 am

Brilliant, see you tomorrow, Sulky!

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Re: Elvis & The Imposters play Eventim Apollo, London, March 13, 2020

Postby sheeptotheslaughter » Thu Mar 12, 2020 3:19 pm

I am meeting some friends in the Duke of Cornwall x 2 minutes walk away. I’ll be there about 6.30. Hope to see everyone at sometime

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Re: Elvis & The Imposters play Eventim Apollo, London, March 13, 2020

Postby Neil. » Thu Mar 12, 2020 4:55 pm

Here's the map for Duke of Cornwall: https://goo.gl/maps/MQYB1BUcuR2CfLwe9

Hope to see any other fans there, inc Sulky and anyone else reading this!

I'm expecting to get there by 7.30pm - Sheep to the... will be there appox 6.30pm.

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Re: Elvis & The Imposters play Eventim Apollo, London, March 13, 2020

Postby sweetest punch » Fri Mar 13, 2020 5:44 pm

Since you put me down, it seems i've been very gloomy. You may laugh but pretty girls look right through me.

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Re: Elvis & The Imposters play Eventim Apollo, London, March 13, 2020

Postby verbal gymnastics » Fri Mar 13, 2020 6:43 pm

I was messaged to say Hurry Down Doomsday (the bugs are taking over) was played - a perverse joke to the Coronavirus perhaps!
It’s such a shame you had to break the heart you could have counted on

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Re: Elvis & The Imposters play Eventim Apollo, London, March 13, 2020

Postby Neil. » Fri Mar 13, 2020 8:45 pm

verbal gymnastics wrote:I was messaged to say Hurry Down Doomsday (the bugs are taking over) was played - a perverse joke to the Coronavirus perhaps!


There was no perhaps about it - that was defo a Coronavirus ref!

Great gig - saw loads of board members briefly in the pub before they rushed off to admirably support the support act. Sheep and his pals and I chatted for longer in the boozer.

Gig was really good overall but I felt Elvis pitched some of the songs too low for his voice.

Strict Time, Green Shirt, Watch Your Step and possibly 'Roses' were too low at the start - his voice was in his boots for these, so you couldn't make out the lyrics. I think if he'd started the songs higher, the verses would have cut through more powerfully. Up in the balcony, they just didn't. If setting the key higher means that he would be unrealistically challenged in the chorus high points, I think Briana and Kitten could have sung those transposed bits.

Would have been great to hear a couple of solo acoustic numbers too, but overall a terrific gig with a lovely, Covid-19-ignoring crowd!

P.S. Highlights for me were Clubland, Accidents, Whisper, High Fidelity and Flutter and Wow - lovely to hear that corker, such a great song.
Last edited by Neil. on Sat Mar 14, 2020 5:47 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Elvis & The Imposters play Eventim Apollo, London, March 13, 2020

Postby sweetest punch » Sat Mar 14, 2020 4:33 am

https://theartsdesk.com/new-music/elvis ... and-played

Elvis Costello and the Imposters, Eventim Apollo review - and the band played on
His aim is still true
by Liz Thomson
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)

Elvis Costello is arguably – perhaps unarguably – the most enduring and genuine talent to emerge from the mid-Seventies pub and punk scenes, and his two-hour set on Friday night demonstrated that he’s still a compelling performer, full of energy and passion. The voice isn’t quite what it was, off-pitch at times, though it retains its distinctive timbre and vibrato.

The artist formerly known as Declan MacManus had reinvented himself as Elvis just before Presley died, putting together one of the classiest bands of the day and proceeding to pour out a string of memorable songs which, for those of us who were students in those days, never fail to remind us of where we were and who we were with when we first heard them. Punk was tuneless and musically ephemeral, but Elvis fused its energy with true songwriting genius, along the way collaborating with the Brodsky Quartet, the Charles Mingus Orchestra, Burt Bacharach, Carole King and Paul McCartney among others.

The variety of styles remains astonishing, from the freneticism of numbers such as “Chelsea” and “Pump It Up”, to “Alison” and “I Want You”, from the wit and whimsy of “God’s Comic” (“So there he was on a water-bed/ ….listening to Andrew Lloyd-Webber's "Requiem"/ He said, before it had really begun, "I prefer the one about my son") to the intricate social commentary wrapped in a catchy tune that’s “Oliver’s Army”. His indictment of late 1980s Conservatism, “Tramp the Dirt Down”, is sadly as relevant today as at its original outing. And let’s not forget “The Scarlet Tide”, co-written with T-Bone Burnett for Cold Mountain – its melodic and harmonic structure make it tricky to sing but ensure it lodges in the brain, and the heart.

As Greil Marcus once observed, Costello understood that “To make true political music you have to say what decent people don’t want to hear”. At the Hammersmith Odeon (as he and many of us continue to think of it), Costello ranged widely across his 45-year back catalogue, backed by the Imposters (Steve Neive on keyboards, Davey Faragher on bass, Pete Thomas on drums – the Attractions of old) and singers Kitten Kuroi and Briana Lee. Costello himself plays a combo or rhythm and lead and you get the feeling that he’s really worked on the latter, the licks impressive, practised rather than spontaneous. He’s a very “complete” front man, playing electric and acoustic guitar, while Faragher’s distinctive bass lines add a great deal to the texture.

It was a well-paced set that kicked off with “Strict Time”, “Clubland”, “Green Shirt” and “Accidents Will Happen” – showstoppers all, and he’d hardly started. “Photographs Can Lie” was a reminder that Elvis has co-written with some of the greats, in this case Burt Bacharach, to whom he paid fulsome tribute, offering a few bars of “The Look of Love”. “Burnt Sugar”, a song long in the making, was written with Carole King, a collaboration about which he admitted to some nerves “She wrote ‘Locomotion’ at 14!” he told us. The old George Jones number “Good Year for the Roses” brought the house down, a reminder that Costello is also a good interpreter of other people’s songs. Moving to the piano, he chatted about his musical (definitely coming), and sang its title song, “A Face in the Crowd”, plus “Blood and Hot Sauce”.

He was in chatty mood throughout, offering anecdotes from the tour – his haunted dressing room at the Sunderland Empire, where the great Sid James died, and Liverpool, where his 92-year-old mother had, against expectations, been able to see him live. He paid tribute to the staff at Arrowe Park who’d nursed her back to health, noting that the first British coronavirus victims had been quarantined there. The comments were implicitly political, and everyone cheered for the NHS, there in our hour of collective need. The spectre of the pandemic hung over the concert: Costello said he’d expected the night to be cancelled and as he and the band entered the final strait (“Every Day I Write the Book”, “Pump It Up”), he acknowledged that in all likelihood London would mark the end of the tour, which had been scheduled to close midweek in Birmingham before taking a break and heading across the Atlantic.

Hammersmith was sold out, but there were some expensive empty seats – doubtless, an indication of the anxiety abroad in the land. Costello thanked everyone for turning out and several times expressed the hope that we’d all stay safe and well. Suddenly there’s a sense we’re at war once more, against an enemy we don’t fully understand and are powerless to stop. I’ve often wondered what the summer of 1939 must have felt like, as the drumbeats grew ever louder. The bands played on, of course; in Liverpool, as everywhere, teens and twentysomethings dance through the blitz. It's how my parents met.

Elvis returned in a gold lame jacket for the encores – “Hurry Down Doomsday”, “Oliver’s Army” and What’s So Funny ‘Bout Peace Love and Understanding”. The audience was indeed pumped up and cheering. But it felt very much like the last hurrah for some time. Like our parents and grandparents in 1945, we are about to be changed by events. You felt everyone understood that.

In a dark time, Elvis Costello and the Imposters lifted our hearts for a couple of hours, a memorable gig at any time that left us fortified.
Since you put me down, it seems i've been very gloomy. You may laugh but pretty girls look right through me.

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Re: Elvis & The Imposters play Eventim Apollo, London, March 13, 2020

Postby verbal gymnastics » Sat Mar 14, 2020 4:54 am

“in all likelihood London would mark the end of the tour”.

Let’s hope not.

In moaning news, I hate the “His aim is still true” headline. It’s so commonly used as well. :roll:
It’s such a shame you had to break the heart you could have counted on

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Re: Elvis & The Imposters play Eventim Apollo, London, March 13, 2020

Postby sulky lad » Sat Mar 14, 2020 8:29 am

verbal gymnastics wrote:“in all likelihood London would mark the end of the tour”.

Let’s hope not.

In moaning news, I hate the “His aim is still true” headline. It’s so commonly used as well. :roll:

I remember Elvis criticising journalists for “lazy writing” and using that is just as bad, after all he basically got us to “Trust” him , provided a template for “This Year’s Model” made us prepare for the “Armed Forces” against Covid 19 ( struggling there I admit!) but eventually made everyone “Get Happy” without “Taking Liberties”
and proved to be a highly efficient “Delivery
Man” - what a shame I had to drive South West afterwards and not North :shock: :roll:

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Re: Elvis & The Imposters play Eventim Apollo, London, March 13, 2020

Postby Goon Squad » Sat Mar 14, 2020 9:39 am

sulky lad wrote:
verbal gymnastics wrote:“in all likelihood London would mark the end of the tour”.

Let’s hope not.

In moaning news, I hate the “His aim is still true” headline. It’s so commonly used as well. :roll:

I remember Elvis criticising journalists for “lazy writing” and using that is just as bad, after all he basically got us to “Trust” him , provided a template for “This Year’s Model” made us prepare for the “Armed Forces” against Covid 19 ( struggling there I admit!) but eventually made everyone “Get Happy” without “Taking Liberties”
and proved to be a highly efficient “Delivery
Man” - what a shame I had to drive South West afterwards and not North :shock: :roll:



................after reading that I think I need Ten Bloody Marys and Ten How's Your Fathers ! :roll: :wink:

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Re: Elvis & The Imposters play Eventim Apollo, London, March 13, 2020

Postby sulky lad » Sat Mar 14, 2020 10:56 am

Goon Squad wrote:
sulky lad wrote:
verbal gymnastics wrote:“in all likelihood London would mark the end of the tour”.

Let’s hope not.

In moaning news, I hate the “His aim is still true” headline. It’s so commonly used as well. :roll:

I remember Elvis criticising journalists for “lazy writing” and using that is just as bad, after all he basically got us to “Trust” him , provided a template for “This Year’s Model” made us prepare for the “Armed Forces” against Covid 19 ( struggling there I admit!) but eventually made everyone “Get Happy” without “Taking Liberties”
and proved to be a highly efficient “Delivery
Man” - what a shame I had to drive South West afterwards and not North :shock: :roll:



................after reading that I think I need Ten Bloody Marys and Ten How's Your Fathers ! :roll: :wink:



You Momofuku !! :D :D

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Re: Elvis & The Imposters play Eventim Apollo, London, March 13, 2020

Postby sweetest punch » Sat Mar 14, 2020 11:54 am

Since you put me down, it seems i've been very gloomy. You may laugh but pretty girls look right through me.

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Re: Elvis & The Imposters play Eventim Apollo, London, March 13, 2020

Postby Top balcony » Sat Mar 14, 2020 3:41 pm

wouldn't lower myself with a subscription to that rag, here's what's available to public gaze to accompany the photo:

Elvis Costello & the Imposters, Eventim Apollo, review: neither cancer nor coronavirus can hold back pop's angriest man ****/5

"How you doing?" Elvis Costello asked a packed Hammersmith Apollo, adding, "I know I say that every night but it seems more poignant than ever, now that you've all risked life and limb to come out.” Coming towards the close of a rapturously received British tour, the 65-year-old singer-songwriter expressed genuine surprise and pleasure that the show had been allowed to go on in the midst of the coronavirus emergency. With just a smattering of empty seats indicating the impact of self-isolation nervousness in the sold out 3,500-capacity venue, Costello promised an evening of “post-Brexit, pre-virus blues.” With a gap-toothed grin, he defiantly declared “When we started this tour, little did we know we were on the edge of doom, so let’s just play before they shut us down!” Then he and his long serving band delivered an absolutely riotous blast of splenetic songcraft and furiously exuberant musicianship....

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Re: Elvis & The Imposters play Eventim Apollo, London, March 13, 2020

Postby staccato66 » Sun Mar 15, 2020 9:07 pm

Elvis Costello & the Imposters, Eventim Apollo, review: neither cancer nor coronavirus can hold back pop's angriest man

By Neil McCormick, Music Critic
14 March 2020 • 2:33pm


"How you doing?" Elvis Costello asked a packed Hammersmith Apollo, adding, "I know I say that every night but it seems more poignant than ever, now that you've all risked life and limb to come out.” Coming towards the close of a rapturously received British tour, the 65-year-old singer-songwriter expressed genuine surprise and pleasure that the show had been allowed to go on in the midst of the coronavirus emergency. With just a smattering of empty seats indicating the impact of self-isolation nervousness in the sold out 3,500-capacity venue, Costello promised an evening of “post-Brexit, pre-virus blues.” With a gap-toothed grin, he defiantly declared “When we started this tour, little did we know we were on the edge of doom, so let’s just play before they shut us down!” Then he and his long serving band delivered an absolutely riotous blast of splenetic songcraft and furiously exuberant musicianship.

Once dubbed the angriest man in pop, Costello has matured into something of a revered elder musical statesman. “Here’s one I wrote with Burt Bacharach,” he noted, introducing the luscious ballad Photographs Can Lie, adding “Yeah, I like the way that sounds too,” with mock smugness. He made the same quip introducing Burnt Sugar Is So Bitter, a luxuriously melodic showtune composed with Carole King. Both were taken from his 30th studio album Look Now, which beat Barbra Streisand, John Legend and Michael Bublé to a Grammy Award this year in the questionable category of Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album. “Which, you will hear on most of the songs this evening, is the ideal resting place for Elvis Costello and the Imposters.”

He was joking, of course. There are not many artists in popular music with a more wide-ranging, eclectic and challenging musical and lyrical oeuvre than Costello, whose sprawling set encompassed the spiky new wave reggae of Watching the Detectives, sinister electro pulse of Green Shirt, maudlin country balladry of Good Year For the Roses and smooth soul of Everyday I Write the Book. “It’s all horse races and beauty contests,” he noted dismissively of his recognition by the American Recording Academy. Even at his venerable age, and despite taking a knee to accept an OBE from the Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace in February, there remains a sharp spirit of counter-culture dissidence from the old punk. Respectability has not smoothed his edges.

For such a master musician, he still performs with a quality of almost un-finessed energy and ebullience. The Imposters are essentially his original group The Attractions by another name, with a different bassist (Davey Faragher, sideman for 19 years) and added female backing vocalists. They stir up a din and a clatter as they radically rearrange material on the spot. It can be a source of both pleasure and frustration for Costello fans that he rarely plays or sings anything exactly the same way twice, always exploring melodic and rhythmic modulations. Sometimes it renders an old favourite almost unrecognisable (Accidents Will Happen lived up to its title), other times it gifts them rich new life (Alison was extraordinarily tender and heartfelt). After two weeks traversing the UK, Costello’s voice was roughed up and missing notes in the low range but he always gives everything he’s got, and by the close was busting out falsetto cries of spine-tingling splendour.

He alluded to his recent brush with cancer when he said things weren’t looking too good for him a couple of years ago, and added, sincerely, “If this should be the last time we play, I want to thank everybody in the band and crew.” There are three more shows on Costello’s UK tour, but he admitted to uncertainty about whether they would go ahead under the present circumstances. Ticket-holders should check venue websites for up to date information.

“I know we kid around a lot and everybody’s kind of scared,” Costello admitted, with touching sincerity, “but we are all going to be all right if we just do what’s sensible. Or maybe we won’t be! If it’s our time, its gotta come someday, so we might as well enjoy ourselves.” With the whole audience on their feet, he led his band through a tumultuous and upliftingly cathartic finale of Pump It Up, Hurry Down Doomsday, Oliver’s Army and Nick Lowe classic (What’s So Funny ’Bout) Peace Love and Understanding. “As I walk through this wicked world / Searchin’ for light in the darkness of insanity / I ask myself, is all hope lost? / Is there only pain and hatred and misery?”

Sing it, Elvis.

Elvis Costello’s tour continues at New Theatre Oxford on Sunday, Millennium Centre, Cardiff on Monday and Symphony Hall, Birmingham Wednesday. Check venue websites for up to date information

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Re: Elvis & The Imposters play Eventim Apollo, London, March 13, 2020

Postby sulky lad » Sun Mar 15, 2020 9:15 pm

Top balcony wrote:wouldn't lower myself with a subscription to that rag, here's what's available to public gaze to accompany the photo:

Elvis Costello & the Imposters, Eventim Apollo, review: neither cancer nor coronavirus can hold back pop's angriest man ****/5

"How you doing?" Elvis Costello asked a packed Hammersmith Apollo, adding, "I know I say that every night but it seems more poignant than ever, now that you've all risked life and limb to come out.” Coming towards the close of a rapturously received British tour, the 65-year-old singer-songwriter expressed genuine surprise and pleasure that the show had been allowed to go on in the midst of the coronavirus emergency. With just a smattering of empty seats indicating the impact of self-isolation nervousness in the sold out 3,500-capacity venue, Costello promised an evening of “post-Brexit, pre-virus blues.” With a gap-toothed grin, he defiantly declared “When we started this tour, little did we know we were on the edge of doom, so let’s just play before they shut us down!” Then he and his long serving band delivered an absolutely riotous blast of splenetic songcraft and furiously exuberant musicianship....


I love their sports coverage and their crosswords - the cricket reporting is like that read in the 40s and 50s I imagine .
As for their politics ..............................

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Re: Elvis & The Imposters play Eventim Apollo, London, March 13, 2020

Postby sweetest punch » Mon Mar 16, 2020 1:25 am

Anyone with a subscription? https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/elvi ... -t3tmcwfvr

Elvis Costello — stripped-back classics delivered with Dunkirk spirit
Eventim Apollo, W6

★★★★☆
On what looked set to be one of the last major concerts in the capital before coronavirus isolation took hold, Elvis Costello was determined to give us a good time. “It’s Friday night in London. What could possibly go wrong?” he asked, and the answer lay in the empty seats of this sold-out show.

Full credit then for Costello getting into the Dunkirk spirit, with his old band the Imposters going back to their pub rock roots with stripped-back arrangements, two backing singers forever encouraging the crowd to get on their feet and clap along, and all the hits. This was not a time to get all arty and serious. This was a time for good cheer.

(...)
Since you put me down, it seems i've been very gloomy. You may laugh but pretty girls look right through me.

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Re: Elvis & The Imposters play Eventim Apollo, London, March 13, 2020

Postby ExtremeHoney » Mon Mar 16, 2020 7:52 am

Elvis Costello — stripped-back classics delivered with Dunkirk spirit

★★★★☆
On what looked set to be one of the last major concerts in the capital before coronavirus isolation took hold, Elvis Costello was determined to give us a good time. “It’s Friday night in London. What could possibly go wrong?” he asked, and the answer lay in the empty seats of this sold-out show.

Full credit then for Costello getting into the Dunkirk spirit, with his old band the Imposters going back to their pub rock roots with stripped-back arrangements, two backing singers forever encouraging the crowd to get on their feet and clap along, and all the hits. This was not a time to get all arty and serious. This was a time for good cheer.

The star of the night was feeling nostalgic too, which, added to the keyboard player Steve Nieve’s gold lamé jacket and plenty of stylised post-war visuals including a film-noir scene for Watching The Detectives, gave the general feeling of a show band offering Friday night escapism.

Costello gave us a timely honouring of the NHS for keeping his 92-year-old mother alive, recalled his intimidation at working with Carole King (“She wrote The Locomotion at 14”) and claimed to have been haunted by the ghost of his great comedy hero Sid James at a concert in Sunderland. This was all about leaning on old comforts as an uncertain period takes hold.

Then there were 43 years of songs to pull on, from the swirling organ thud of Pump It Up to a lamenting Alison that made way for a James Brown-style soul revue as Costello introduced the band. George Jones’s A Good Year For The Roses was a highlight, the poignancy of the words about a man left lonely brought out as Costello played piano and the backing singers leaned against it like we were in an intimate supper club, not a mid-sized concert venue.

“We’re here to play the pre-Brexit, post-virus blues,” said Costello. By an encore of Oliver’s Army we had forgotten about both, if only for a couple of hours.

Elvis Costello’s show tonight at the Millennium Centre, Cardiff, has been postponed.

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Re: Elvis & The Imposters play Eventim Apollo, London, March 13, 2020

Postby sweetest punch » Mon Mar 16, 2020 3:20 pm

https://www.ft.com/content/2cfb8664-677 ... 22541af204

Elvis Costello gives his all in front of a diminished audience
The singer upped the energy alongside his band the Imposters at the Hammersmith Apollo

When a pop review mentions a sense of impending mortality, it usually means the singer is knocking on a bit. At Elvis Costello’s London show — during the course of which the UK government announced its plans for a ban on large gatherings — the shadow of an ending was both literal and unavoidable. Introducing his cover of George Jones’s “A Good Year for the Roses”, 65-year-old Costello addressed his audience: “We’re all gonna be all right, if we do the right thing. Or maybe we’re not. But our time has to come.”

A degree of fear was evident in the number of empty seats at what was, apparently, a sold-out show — not enough to make it feel sparsely populated, by any means, but enough to be noticeable. The subdued atmosphere meant the singer had to work hard. Despite his musings on the spectre of death, he spent most of the show combining the roles of carnival barker, rabble rouser and stand-up comedian, the bitterness of so many of his songs swapped for sugar.

It wasn’t surprising, then, that the show took a while to warm up. But it wasn’t all the fault of the virus. The high ceiling of the Apollo meant the sound boomed around, and the rockier the song, the less distinct it became: Costello classics such as “Accidents Will Happen” and “Less Than Zero” became a bit of a mulch. It was all much clearer when the rock was set aside and the band — the Attractions, but with Davey Faragher replacing Bruce Thomas on bass — stretched their legs into other styles, not just the country of the Jones cover, but a pair of songs from Costello’s as-yet-unperformed musical A Face in the Crowd, or “Alison”, a delicate ballad from his 1977 debut album, My Aim Is True.

The other issue was Costello’s voice. Always a bit of an acquired taste, it appears to have aged in reverse. Where most singers lose their higher registers as they get older, Costello’s seems to have strengthened; he was hitting and sustaining astounding high notes, rising effortlessly into falsetto. A snatch of “The Look of Love”, introducing his own Burt Bacharach collaboration, “Photographs Can Lie”, made one wish for more of Costello the lounge singer. But just as the rockiness of the band was hampered by the boom of the room, so Costello’s voice was pulled short by the wordiness of some of his early songs, where the need to deliver dense screeds of lyrics meant his voice didn’t always find the melody.

Still, over the course of two hours, Costello never bored: his omnivorous musical appetite meant that if you didn’t like one style, there’d be another one along in a minute, and his catalogue is now so deep that you were never more than five minutes away from a classic. By a closing run that included “Pump It Up” and his sole UK No 1, “Oliver’s Army”, the crowd were finally on their feet, and Costello’s hard work had been rewarded. It was a trouper’s performance, and he deserved the ovation.

★★★★☆

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Since you put me down, it seems i've been very gloomy. You may laugh but pretty girls look right through me.


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