Memories of Elvis in Ireland in 1983

Pretty self-explanatory
johnfoyle
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Memories of Elvis in Ireland in 1983

Postby johnfoyle » Sun Jun 02, 2013 6:21 pm

' Largely through his own appetites, Elvis had become an artist with a loyal core audience, but his career operated on the fringes of commercial viability. With only a few exceptions, the music he made from this point on was too varied, too challenging and often too down-right bloody-minded to attract huge audience numbers or score hit singles. He couldn't have it both ways.'
Graeme Thomson - Complicated Shadows 2004


The latest in my series of features on the 30th anniversary of Elvis' appearances in Ireland is unlikely to be as pertinent as my previous efforts. They were , in the main, detailing of shows, in 1978 and 1981, which little had been known about. When it comes to 1983 we are arriving at a time where the shows were well reported , then and since. The basic details of both shows , in Belfast and Dublin, are on their wiki pages and, indeed, recordings of both are widely available. I'm, therefore , going to focus on the background and the times, with the emphasis on the visual aspect.


As the extract from Graeme Thomson's account of Elvis in '83 tells that was the year where the Elvis we know today more or less took shape. Indeed '83 would be the last time Elvis would develop and record a album he was entirely happy with (at the time) solely in the U.K. '84's Goodbye Cruel World would be the botched result of accepting the input of a producers etc. There after the albums would be developed abroad (Ireland and the U.S.), with the U.K. very much a mere location (up to 2001) of recording. Blood and Chocolate could be lumped in with GCW, a dashed off, partly brilliant effort as a sop to the industry after the more nuanced King Of America.

Events of the time, both general and personal, would shape Elvis' choices in '83 and the years after. Accounts at the time tell of his family life being relatively stable. Subsequent accounts tell of him doing things at the time to undermine that, ultimately leading to the end of his first marriage in 1984. At the same time, mere days after the Irish shows , Thatcher's Tory government was reelected , leading within years to Elvis' choosing to cease being a U.K. resident.

Which kind of brings us to Elvis in Ireland in June '83. The shows there were hastily cobbled together, partly to fulfill contractual obligations for some deferred shows and to run into a few UK shows which would break in the TKO Horns for the U.S. shows later in the summer.

In January '83 Irish dates in Feb. '83 were announced in Hot Press -
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Then they were postponed -

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With the new dates subsequently reported -
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Very little in the way of preview pieces appeared. This was in the Evening Herald ( Dublin)

http://www.elviscostello.info/wiki/inde ... ne_3,_1983

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A profile in the Sunday Tribune ( Dublin) , May '83

http://www.elviscostello.info/wiki/inde ... y_29,_1983


The Belfast 'papers had no mention of the shows - here are the front pages and entertainment sections the visitors may have looked at -

ImageImage


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The Belfast setlist is on wiki -
http://www.elviscostello.info/wiki/inde ... 03_Belfast


Ulster Boy
from this forum was at the show -

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=8741


I was at the Belfast gig, think I still have the ticket stub and a local newspaper's review somewhere. This gig was hastily arranged, I think, as a previous one from 1982 had been cancelled, certainly the merchandising (such as it was) was all Imperial Bedroom t-shirts, cos I bought one. Horrible, long-sleeved thing. The venue, Maysfield Leisure Centre, was basically a bare-brick sports hall. Was E&theAs first gig in Belfast since 1978 and I don't recall there being a huge crowd there - maybe 500 or so - and the PA played the then-unreleased Pills and Soap before the show. I remember the shock when the brass section came on, it seemed such a departure, but it was a brilliant gig. Haven't listened to the recording yet - only just recently realised there was one.



Mark Gilmore reviewed it for the fanzine ECIS -


ImageImage


This next day they got the train to Dublin , as photos in the U.S. program a few months later show -

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Elvis 'n co. are wearing the same gear as this photo that was on the back of the sleeve of Punch The Clock -



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It was taken in St Stephens Green, Dublin on June 4th 1983. It would seem the photographer, Nick Knight, came down to Dublin with the musicians from the show in Belfast. Other photos from the same location appear in miniature in the booklet with the 1995 Demon/Rycko re-issue on PTC -


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Before or after being snapped in the 'Green, the visitors went to get some cake in, most likely, Bewleys on Grafton Street -

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The same scene this year-

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Steve posed at this statue in courtyard at the adjacent Clarendon Street entrance to St Teresa's Church

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.
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TV viewing in Dublin that night -

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Other attractions in Dublin -

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The Dublin show was extensively reviewed, as the links on the wiki page will tell you -

http://www.elviscostello.info/wiki/inde ... -04_Dublin


That's all I have for now - more in the next few days!
Last edited by johnfoyle on Sat Dec 07, 2013 5:02 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Ulster Boy
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Re: Memories of Elvis in Ireland in 1983

Postby Ulster Boy » Mon Jun 03, 2013 12:30 pm

Ticket stub:
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Ulster Boy
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Re: Memories of Elvis in Ireland in 1983

Postby Ulster Boy » Mon Jun 03, 2013 12:33 pm

Belfast Telegraph review:
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johnfoyle
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Re: Memories of Elvis in Ireland in 1983

Postby johnfoyle » Mon Jun 03, 2013 12:34 pm

Cool - thanks! Classic review - up with that Manchester one in '02.

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Re: Memories of Elvis in Ireland in 1983

Postby Ulster Boy » Mon Jun 03, 2013 12:54 pm

The same journalist gave a slightly more positive review of Costello's next Belfast appearance, in 1984.

That said, Costello has never had a big following here - there may be something in it that the gap between the 1978 and 1983 gigs meant the fanbase wasn't as big as other UK cities. The 1984 show was better attended, as were the 1989 shows (both sold out albeit in a small venue over two nights) but the 1999 and 2011 shows were only modestly supported. I was at them all, as well as the 2002 Landmine free world show.

Some other comments - Maysfield was an awful venue, a big brick sports hall. Despite a fatal fire there in 1984, it continued to be used for gigs into the early 1990's, with U2, Bob Dylan and the Stone Roses all playing it. It closed some years back, though its still there. Belfast had few other good venues in those days, the Ulster Hall (where Costello had played in 1978, and would again in 1984) was sometimes ruled out of bounds for rock concerts by the City Council if damage was done to its 19th century interior.

The 1983 was my second EC show after the 1978 one, when I was only 16. In 83 I was doing my finals at Belfast university, and travelling elsewhere to see him was cost prohibitive. Only when I got a job could I afford subsequent trips to Dublin, London etc to see at least one show on every major tour.

Ulster Boy
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Re: Memories of Elvis in Ireland in 1983

Postby Ulster Boy » Mon Jun 03, 2013 12:56 pm

The support act in Belfast that night 30 years ago was Kieran (not Ciaran as the journalist misspelt it) Goss, he was a regular at the university student's union. Still going strong:

http://www.kierangoss.com/

johnfoyle
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Re: Memories of Elvis in Ireland in 1983

Postby johnfoyle » Mon Jun 03, 2013 1:07 pm

Here's a enhanced version of the review -

Image

Do you have a publication date for it? I can go back through the Telegraph microfilm (where I clearly missed it!) in the National Library to find it if necessary.

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Re: Memories of Elvis in Ireland in 1983

Postby Ulster Boy » Mon Jun 03, 2013 2:04 pm

No date John on my copy, but as the article is a review of the concert from "last night", try Saturday 4 June. IIRC the Telegraph had different editions on a Saturday so this may not have been in them all.

johnfoyle
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Re: Memories of Elvis in Ireland in 1983

Postby johnfoyle » Mon Jun 03, 2013 2:07 pm

Thanks!

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Re: Memories of Elvis in Ireland in 1983

Postby Ulster Boy » Mon Jun 03, 2013 2:20 pm

From 1982 but featured at those June 83 shows:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UL3yhMEJSHM

johnfoyle
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Re: Memories of Elvis in Ireland in 1983

Postby johnfoyle » Mon Jun 03, 2013 3:35 pm

The Dublin show was on the Saturday night of a Bank Holiday weekend. I had no hope of going to it because the following Wednesday I started to sit the Leaving Certificate , exams marking the end of Secondary ( 'High') school. I spent those days madly revising , aware of little else outside.

Looking at the 'papers of the time they seem to be full of stories about politics, Northern Ireland and a referendum that summer about abortion. Considering that Irish politics is this year , 2013, dealing with the possibility of yet another referendum on the same subject there is a definite sense of déjà vu about it all. One item that caught my eye was one from a day or two before the Dublin show. It reported that a black woman had started working as a Ban Garda ( police woman), the first one to do so, a early example of the multicultural Ireland that has developed ever since.

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Re: Memories of Elvis in Ireland in 1983

Postby sulky lad » Tue Jun 04, 2013 3:31 am

My good friend from Belfast Gordon attended both the Mayfield and Dublin shows and took photographs of the sports hall which he made into cassette covers. My scanner isn't registering with this PC but when my house move is sorted, I'll scan the covers and add them to this. Yo can clearly see the "gymnasium" wall in the background as Elvis sweats with his sand coloured telecaster !

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pophead2k
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Re: Memories of Elvis in Ireland in 1983

Postby pophead2k » Tue Jun 04, 2013 7:07 am

Fascinating stuff. Thanks for all the work on this!

johnfoyle
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Re: Memories of Elvis in Ireland in 1983

Postby johnfoyle » Tue Aug 06, 2013 7:01 am

http://www.elviscostello.info/wiki/inde ... ne_11_1983

Melody Maker, June 11 1983

Barry McIlheney reports on Elvis Costello & The Attractions with The TKO Horns, Friday, June 3, 1983, Maysfield Leisure Centre, Belfast, Northern Ireland.

johnfoyle
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Re: Memories of Elvis in Ireland in 1983

Postby johnfoyle » Thu Jun 01, 2017 2:26 am

Image

Eamon Frawley posts - I met Elvis Costello and The Attractions strolling through Stephen's Green , Dublin in June 1983. The photographer , Nick Knight, on the wall was taking pics for the 'Punch The Clock' album.


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The U.S. tour program later that summer had a page of Nick's photos

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johnfoyle
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Re: Memories of Elvis in Ireland in 1983

Postby johnfoyle » Wed Jun 07, 2017 6:31 pm

Eamon found another photo

Image

johnfoyle
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Re: Memories of Elvis in Ireland in 1983

Postby johnfoyle » Wed Aug 23, 2017 10:45 am

Eamonn found another photo

Image

johnfoyle
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Re: Memories of Elvis in Ireland in 1983

Postby johnfoyle » Thu Aug 24, 2017 8:30 am

Just to complete the story, here are photos, by Gordon Irwin, from a bootleg of the show in Belfast the night before

Image

Image

sulky lad
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Re: Memories of Elvis in Ireland in 1983

Postby sulky lad » Thu Aug 24, 2017 9:12 am

only 4 years later with those pics :oops:
Interesting to see how close to the gymnasium wall the band appear to be sited - the recording I have isn't as booming as one might expect. This mini tour in June 1983 is one that seems to be less well documented than almost anything Elvis did in the 70s and 80s. For example it's the only Liverpool gig that Elvis did in that time that Colin TB didn't attend :shock:

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Re: Memories of Elvis in Ireland in 1983

Postby verbal gymnastics » Thu Aug 24, 2017 10:38 am

Perhaps there's no Top Balcony in the gym...
international laughing stock...


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