Elvis/The Imposters, Cambridge May 26 '12

Pretty self-explanatory
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the_roofdog
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Re: Elvis/The Imposters, Cambridge May 26 '12

Postby the_roofdog » Sun May 27, 2012 9:18 am

Otis Westinghouse wrote:It was a great night out. Met VG, BWAP, Sulky and Roofdog for the first time (hope you and the BWAP got that final pint or three in, Mitre?)


The details are a little hazy... We went to the Baron of Beef, then tried the Mitre once the Baron kicked us out but no dice. I think it was outside the Mitre where BWAP recognised one of the spinners from the gig and said hello to her (Julie, I think). Then I had trouble getting into my hotel room as Mrs Roofdog had fallen into a deep sleep watching the tail-end of Eurovision. Apart from that, a great night, really glad I got to experience a standing songbook, like others have said the atmosphere was very different, mostly for the better I thought.

Good to see everyone/meet those I hadn't met before. Roll on the next tour.

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Re: Elvis/The Imposters, Cambridge May 26 '12

Postby Fishfinger king » Sun May 27, 2012 11:35 am

Great show, wasn't it? The atmosphere is so much better in a standing venue.
Met Sulky, Boy with a Problem and Roofdog briefly before in Cow but had to rush to get back in queue to get to front, so think I missed Otis and Verbal.
However managed to get front row - very exciting, shook Elvis' hand as he went by. FFQueen disappointed not to be chosen for wheel - father and daughter next to us were.
Highlights for me were Big Tears, 45, Living in Paradise and Two Little Hitlers.
Amazing to see 4 shows but none even vaguely similar in atmosphere or content.
Feel very sorry for those who were due to go to Basingstoke tonight - I thought his voice had improved somewhat since Bristol, but there you go. Hopefully he'll now remember his UK fans and there'll be more dates soon.
Is that so surprising nowadays?

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Re: Elvis/The Imposters, Cambridge May 26 '12

Postby sweetest punch » Sun May 27, 2012 12:51 pm

Setlist anyone?
Last edited by sweetest punch on Sun May 27, 2012 1:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Elvis/The Imposters, Cambridge May 26 '12

Postby And No Coffee Table » Sun May 27, 2012 1:03 pm

Elvis Costello charges through the Spectacular Spinning Songbook, Cambridge Corn Exchange, 26 May 2012
Posted on May 27, 2012

The Eurovision Song Contest was held last night, which would normally mean that I’d be spending the evening slumped on a sofa surrounded by beer, crisps and despair (my account of last year’s experience is here). This year however I was able to break the cycle by dint of having an opportunity to tick off one of the really major items on my musical to-do list – Elvis Costello was playing Cambridge for the first time in decades, and while the tickets were hair-raisingly pricy he’s one of the few acts I’m genuinely happy to shriek “hang the expense!” about.

I’ve been a fan of Costello since buying Punch The Clock on a school trip to Norwich in 1984, and while I’m not really up to speed with the last few albums put up by this fearsomely prolific songwriter I’m ready to defend his first ten years’ output against all comers. This man must have written more great pop songs than pretty much anybody – Lennon and McCartney, Holland, Dozier and Holland, Carole King, Frank Sidebottom, you name it – and at least one of his records, the ostensibly Stax and Motown pastiching, but in actuality contender for greatest soul album ever made, Get Happy!!, will have to prised from my clammy hands with a sonic lance capable of drilling holes in Saturn’s rings when justice finally catches up with me and sends me to that desert island based containment facility. You get the idea.

For his current tour Costello has resurrected the format that he was using in the mid-80s round about the time of Blood And Chocolate. The stage is dominated by a vast fairground-style rotating wheel upon the fifty or so sectors of which appear the names of either tried and trusted selections from his copious back catalogue or slightly cryptic jackpot categories, such as “Time”, “Girl” or “Crime and Punishment”*. The bulk of the night’s set is thus chosen by members of the audience, who are picked out and led up by the stage by one of Costello’s glamorous assistants: they get to spin the wheel and the band then launch into whatever song the roulette arrow points at when it comes to rest, while the lucky punters occupy themselves either by sipping brightly coloured drinks at a faux cocktail lounge or by jigging energetically in a go-go dancer’s cage. When there are no members of the general public available or willing to provide distraction there’s another glamorous assistant on hand to throw some shapes. It’s an ingenious mechanism that allows Costello to vary his set-lists and provide suspense and visual interest for his audience (even if you eventually start suspecting that the wheel may well be slightly rigged here and there), and also affords him the opportunity to relish his role as a slightly seedy master of ceremonies.

It also has the very useful function of allowing Costello to put on shows of extraordinary length containing several full-on sequences of four or five fast and ferociously delivered songs without physically exhausting his audience. At Cambridge he played for just shy of three hours and must have performed thirty odd numbers, very few of which had anything of the laid-back about them. Incredibly, this is more or less the same band that he was playing with in the late 70s when he was in danger of becoming a regular, if slightly funny-looking, pop star: Pete Thomas and Steve Nieve remain on drums and keyboards respectively, with the only change being Davey Faragher on bass in place of the estranged Steve Thomas (Thomas wrote a distinctly non-complimentary book about his life on tour with Costello, and the two haven’t seen eye-to eye since). The main man himself must be nearly sixty now, but doesn’t look significantly different to how he did in 1977, or 1983, or any time outside his ill-considered beard years. It’s possible the porkpie hat he sports throughout is there to conceal baldness, but it suits his stage persona just fine. The band open with a blast through a few highlights from Costello’s 70s repertoire, and surprisingly this sets a pattern for most of the evening – I may have just had a lucky night, but it seems that most of the audience selections come from the era I’d consider golden, with amazingly few being unfamiliar to me, presumably because they’re drawn from recent albums. Whether rigged or not, the band tear through this stuff like they’re amphetamine-fuelled teenagers, and while the acoustics at the cavernous Corn Exchange are never going to be ideal for stuff this aggressive you can at least always pick out the singer’s commanding vocals. He may not be your cup of tea, but this guy can really sing, and sometimes you feel he doesn’t even need the public address system.

It’s not all rama-lama mind. A couple of hours in, the band leave the stage and Costello goes acoustic, first on guitar, then on ukulele, playing songs which sound like they started in life in 1930s folk clubs but knowing this songwriter’s fecundity may well be original. It’s a welcome change of pace. He also gives us his soulful, if slightly overwrought, take on the immortal Shipbuilding, which may be his best ever lyric, and the savage, Thatcher-hating Tramp The Dirt Down, which as he points out in one of his many humorous and chatty asides, seems to have become depressingly relevant again. There’s also a startling interlude in the middle of Watching The Detectives where he leaves the stage and wanders through the packed auditorium while chanting like a shaman – presumably he knows his audience demographic well enough by now not to expect any disrespectful invasions of his person.

And then, just before the end, and just as I as inwardly bemoaning the absence of any material from Get Happy!! we get a climactic run featuring not only I Can’t Stand Up and the awesome High Fidelity but 24 carat crowd pleasers Oliver’s Army and Pump It Up. The roof duly comes off, the band take a bow, the lights come up and you can watch the wheel start to be taken apart by the road crew as you shuffle out. The longest gig I’ve been to since I stood in the middle of Wembley stadium watching Springsteen in 1985, but definitely one of the best. Value for money at twice the price.

* It turns out these unlock sequence of songs with a common theme. Last night someone got “Numbers”, which led to Two Little Hitlers, My Three Sons, 45 and so on.

Footnote for Costello obsessives only: songs played included I Hope You’re Happy Now, Heart Of The City, Mystery Dance, Radio Radio, Big Tears, Less Than Zero, Bedlam, Two Little Hitlers, 45, My Three Sons, Alison, Watching The Detectives, Everyday I Write The Book, Tramp The Dirt Down, Accidents Will Happen, Oliver’s Army, What’s So Funny ‘Bout Peace, Love And Understanding, High Fidelity, I Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down, Shabby Doll, Pump It Up, I Don’t Want To Go To Chelsea, Living In Paradise, Clubland, Shipbuilding, Slow Drag With Josephine, Good Year For The Roses…and quite a few others…

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Re: Elvis/The Imposters, Cambridge May 26 '12

Postby Paul B » Sun May 27, 2012 2:57 pm

Hi Pigalle, Buzz, Roofs and Fishfingers, I thought RAH2 was a cracker as well, really my views of Cambridge are coloured though by the fact I was with my good lady wife (a rare night out together away from the brood) and experiencing the show together, with all the fun of the wheel and the incredible range of emotions in the songs, just makes life a better place to be!

He did seem on fine form, if not perfect vocally, but again professing to enjoying being back in these isles. Even if the wider audience don't buy his records anymore, we still love him and on this evidence he still loves us - and doesn't totally blame us for this nation's failure to embrace him as our own national treasure.

..and I'm not surprised Elvis woke up with a dodgy throat this morning.

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Re: Elvis/The Imposters, Cambridge May 26 '12

Postby Pigalle » Sun May 27, 2012 3:30 pm

Paul B wrote:Hi Pigalle, Buzz, Roofs and Fishfingers, I thought RAH2 was a cracker as well, really my views of Cambridge are coloured though by the fact I was with my good lady wife (a rare night out together away from the brood) and experiencing the show together, with all the fun of the wheel and the incredible range of emotions in the songs, just makes life a better place to be!


I think what disappointed me about the wheel in Cambridge (and this is probably true of other shows I saw where I felt disappointed by the wheel's performance) is that even though it started well including the Numbers jackpot it was the lack of jackpots that let the show down. The shows I've really enjoyed (Birmingham, Nottingham and RAH2) have all benefited from multiple jackpots turning up as these seem to help the show flow so much better as well as bringing up the opportunity for less well known songs or covers. That's not to say that the other shows I saw were not good nor did they have amazing moments in them it's just having seen shows like those three I know how good the wheel can be when it spins how you want it to spin. Cambridge could have been turned on its head had the wheel stopped on the Time jackpot as it nearly did rather than falling over to the next song on the wheel but I guess that is the beauty of the wheel... where it stops, nobody knows.

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Re: Elvis/The Imposters, Cambridge May 26 '12

Postby Otis Westinghouse » Sun May 27, 2012 4:32 pm

buzz wrote:Was it just me or was Rebel Rebel creeping into Two Little Hitlers?


Yep, I noticed exactly the same detail. looking forward to studying that more closely on the bootleg!

buzz wrote:National Ransom No 9 seemed badly timed. I love the version but earlier on it would have worked but it seemed to give many around me permission to exit (I Want You would have held them more).

Know what you mean, but for me as someone who was there for a bit more than Oliver and IU, it worked really well. We seemed to have left all the vaudeville fun and Elvis had re-immersed himself in his own musical world, but then soon after back to hits. I'd forgotten that arrangement existed.

buzz wrote:A great gig and it sounds a well recieved tour which leads me to hope that the "indifferent man - forgotten nation" realtionship is about to turn again in UK's favour.


Couldn't agree more. he must be thinking 'why the hell haven't the Imposters and I played here since 2005?'

Tramp the Dirt Down was fantastic, reasserting itself as one of the truly great modern protest/political songs, the first verse coming to life with fantastic loathing and horror.

Agree re the wheel, a bit more surprise/fun would have been good, just a couple more leftfield things, but, hey, ain't complaining. I'm hugely regretting not treating my Birmingham student son to a ticket there. He loves Elvis and would have loved the show, and had just finished his first year uni exams then. Would have been perfect. Was in town right by the Symphony Hall today with him, feeling like a poor father (though my previous Imposters show was with my three sons at Cornbury 2005, so I'm not all bad).

Elvis had an Austrian-registered tour bus, and as we cycled past it, hopeful for a glimpse and then disappointed, I was wondering if the flash Merc next to it was the Elvismobile. We cycled on a bit and then I turned round just as someone, presumably him, was ushered into it and the tour close. Damn, could have had a quick chat, maybe.

Glad my only show was a standing one, and so very glad it was stand up here. As a local resident, I've been to numerous shows there, and sitting in stalls there is always lacking in atmosphere, whereas standing invariably works well. had a riot of a time there when Elbow played their first post-Mercury prize gig. Cambridge audiences can often be a little dull and restrained, but there was none of that last night. Sheer joy on faces all around.
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Re: Elvis/The Imposters, Cambridge May 26 '12

Postby Neil. » Sun May 27, 2012 5:55 pm

Aw, so glad it was good. There's something about these gigs that is really moving - you really feel that he's buried his demons, that Britain loves him, and he loves Britain. And Christ, the Imposters are AMAZING!

I agree with some of the others, I wouldn't be surprised if he turns up again later in the year!

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Re: Elvis/The Imposters, Cambridge May 26 '12

Postby verbal gymnastics » Mon May 28, 2012 4:20 am

Setlist from Elvis' website

Elvis Costello & The Imposters
Cambridge, England
May 26th, 2012

Overture - featuring the former Mother Superior of Our Lady of Perpetual Torment, Dixie De La Fontaine

I Hope You're Happy Now
Heart Of The City
Mystery Dance
Radio Radio

The Spectacular Spinning Songbook

Bedlam - Spin 1

Living In Paradise - Spin 2

Big Tears - Spin 3

Shabby Doll - IMPROMPTU

"Numbers" Jackpot - Spin 4

My Three Sons
Less Than Zero
Two Little Hitlers
45
One Bell Ringing

Accidents Will Happen - Spin 5

Alison - IMPROMPTU

The Hammer Of Songs

Everyday I Write The Book
Chelsea

Shipbuilding - IMPROMPTU

Watching The Detectives/Help Me - IMPROMPTU

Clubland - Spin 6

Good Year For The Roses - Spinner's Request

Interlude

A Slow Drag With Josephine - Napoleon Solo

Who's The Meanest Girl In Town, Josephine - Napoleon "Ukulele" Solo

Jimmie Standing In The Rain - Napoleon Solo

Tramp The Dirt Down - with the Imposters

National Ransom No.9

Encore

"Happy" Jackpot - Ms. Valentine's Choice

I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down
High Fidelity

Finale

Oliver's Army

Pump It Up

Peace, Love And Understanding

It was an excellent show.

Prematch drinks saw myself, BWAP, sulky lad and Otis and his lovely wife as well as 2 other non-board members who have been to 6 shows each. Bumped into the_roofdog at the gig and went to the pub afterwards. I was at the bar when Fishfinger King arrived pre-gig but didn't meet him.

Having a predominantly standing show was good but tiring on the feet. It was also pretty warm in there.

There were some good moments. I though Elvis' voice was pretty good actually and I'll moan about the postponement of Basingstoke elsewhere.

Otis' description of Kay is spot on. She looked demure but she could really dance.

It's been commented upon about the number of female spinners. To be honest, having watched Nathan in the cage, it's not surprising. Even dancing with Dixie couldn't get him moving. :roll:

I'm pleased that my shout for My Three Sons was complied with. You can put that down on the website as VG's choice :lol:

This wheel's on fire was spun but not played which was a real shame.

I don't recall Happy as being Ms Valentine's choice - I'm pretty sure it was the last spinner's spin.

It was a great venue, good sound and Elvis and co were enjoying themselves. I think Steve was bemused that they ended the first set so early.

So this turned out to be the last night of my 6 date tour. Birmingham topped the shows for me with this second.
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Re: Elvis/The Imposters, Cambridge May 26 '12

Postby Man out of Time » Mon May 28, 2012 6:12 am

I was sorry to miss this one, but did have the compensation of two and a half hours of The Buzzcocks at the Brixton Academy instead. All the hits, including the original Spiral Scratch EP with Howard Devoto. No spinning wheel or go go cage though.

From the set list above, I would have really liked to hear "Big Tears" and "Shabby doll". The rest is very like the set list from the shows I did see. Only one jackpot from six spins is fewer than we would expect, and suggests that the show may have been a bit "stop/start".

MOOT

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Re: Elvis/The Imposters, Cambridge May 26 '12

Postby docinwestchester » Mon May 28, 2012 11:00 am

Man out of Time wrote:I was sorry to miss this one, but did have the compensation of two and a half hours of The Buzzcocks at the Brixton Academy instead. All the hits, including the original Spiral Scratch EP with Howard Devoto. No spinning wheel or go go cage though.


MOOT


The entire Buzzcocks show is on Dime:

http://www.dimeadozen.org/torrents-deta ... ?id=406908

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Re: Elvis/The Imposters, Cambridge May 26 '12

Postby Otis Westinghouse » Mon May 28, 2012 6:45 pm

The abovementioned and decidedly brunette Mrs Westinghouse had objections to all but the last female brought up being blonde - too many episodes of blonde for her.

True VG re This Wheel's On Fire! If I'd spun that, I'd have been demanding a recount.

We have you to thank for My Three Sons. Mrs W's eyes were full; of tears at this point. I had a lump in my throat too. Never heard him play that live, of course. What a treat.

Positive comments from the local people I knew who were there. One would have preferred a straightforward show, thought the wheel held it up too much, and complained that Bedlam was the first spin as a song he didn't know, but that's a bit silly given songs 1, 3 and 4. I loved seeing Bedlam then. He also thought the drums weren't clear enough. He was standing at the back, but for me up front they sounded perfect. Love that kit, and am humbled in my renewed admiration for the mighty Pete.

Only regret is that two songs heard in soundcheck by Sulky, Secondary Modern and So Like Candy, didn't come up. The former should have been an additional Happy selection and the latter was just one selection out at another. But I ain't complaining. Shabby Doll, Living In Paradise, Big Tears, Two Little Hitlers, Tram the Dirt Down, all the hits and the National Ransom ones, this was a great setlist, as they all are. I wonder what the best, best setlist for the whole tour US and UK is. Tempted to look at them all.
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Re: Elvis/The Imposters, Cambridge May 26 '12

Postby krm » Tue May 29, 2012 12:40 am

Otis Westinghouse wrote:True VG re This Wheel's On Fire! If I'd spun that, I'd have been demanding a recount.



This wheel's on fire was one of the highlights in Glasgow. Too bad it wasn't played. Maybe due to timing issues. That medley is 15 mins long.

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Re: Elvis/The Imposters, Cambridge May 26 '12

Postby verbal gymnastics » Tue May 29, 2012 3:34 am

Quite possibly. However it seemed that they were set to play it. It was the second spin. Another spinner was brought on stage after the first song and Elvis said something along the lines of "We've got another song to play but you kinda crept up on me". The lady span the wheel and This wheel's on fire bit the dust.

I thought he'd come back to it but he didn't.

Irrespective of the medley's length, I'd love to have heard it.
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Re: Elvis/The Imposters, Cambridge May 26 '12

Postby the_roofdog » Tue May 29, 2012 3:50 am

What else is in that medley? (Sounds like it could be every song from the Basement Tapes at that length)

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Re: Elvis/The Imposters, Cambridge May 26 '12

Postby verbal gymnastics » Tue May 29, 2012 4:03 am

This wheel's on fire/The river in reverse/I'll take good care of you/The bootleg series volumes 1-5*

*on selected nights only :lol:
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Re: Elvis/The Imposters, Cambridge May 26 '12

Postby sweetest punch » Sat Jun 02, 2012 12:08 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, Cambridge May 26 '12

Postby johnfoyle » Wed Jun 13, 2012 4:37 pm


Azmuda
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Re: Elvis/The Imposters, Cambridge May 26 '12

Postby Azmuda » Thu Jun 14, 2012 12:26 am


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Re: Elvis/The Imposters, Cambridge May 26 '12

Postby sulky lad » Thu Jun 14, 2012 11:09 am

I'm away from home until 23rd June but promise (more or less) to get this ready for dime over that weekend - sounds good as far as I've got, especially capturing VG's shouted request for "My Three Sons" and immediately getting a response from Elvis during the Numbers jackpot ! Fortunately VG resisited the temptation to sing along but failed to get picked to spin the wheel despite his lurid attention - grabbing attire !! :roll:

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Re: Elvis/The Imposters, Cambridge May 26 '12

Postby verbal gymnastics » Thu Jun 14, 2012 11:32 am

sulky lad wrote:Fortunately VG resisited the temptation to sing along...


The needs of the many my friend... :lol:
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Re: Elvis/The Imposters, Cambridge May 26 '12

Postby sulky lad » Sun Jun 24, 2012 6:24 am

My recording now up on dime : Torrent #410198 Elvis Costello And The Imposters Corn Exchange, Cambridge 26 May 2012
Otis, don't wreck your ratio, PM me your address and I'll send you a copy !

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Re: Elvis/The Imposters, Cambridge May 26 '12

Postby krm » Sun Jun 24, 2012 9:06 am

grateful we are!


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