Elvis/El Mocambo - original/bootleg comparison

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Elvis/El Mocambo - original/bootleg comparison

Postby johnfoyle » Wed Mar 05, 2008 6:27 pm



This epic, much bootlegged show ( before it's official release in 1993 in Rykodisc's 2½ Years box set) is now 30 years old.

I've posted some reviews from the time on it's wiki page , along with scans , posted by John Harrison, from the vinyl edition .

http://www.elviscostello.info/wiki/inde ... 06_Toronto

The most detailed review is by Jay Scott , subsequently better known as a film reviewer. Highlights are

He pushes through the crowd to the stage. He’s wearing a sloppy grey jacket, sloppy tie. His hair has been clipped close to the scalp by a pair of dull manicure scissors. He’s wearing glasses: black horn rims. Buddy Holly? Closer too a dyspeptic Woody Allen — Buddy Holly had a softness about him physically that made you think puberty never quite took; Elvis has a sharpness about him that makes you think he emerged from the womb with a shaving kit and a tube of Clearasil — he’s always been an adolescent. A nasty one. A smart one.

Elvis Costello, like his name-sake, takes the rage of being young and turns it into rock (in Costello’s case, into pub rock via R & B); his lyrics call reality to task for failing to come up with the promised goods, while the music (hard, and fast, and too complex to be punk; too classic to be new wave) celebrates his own nihilistic tendencies . It’s good, the man implies, to be young and to refuse to believe any crap; it hurts, but pain is more honest than phony pleasure: “I don’t want to be your lover,” Costello sings, and the 'o' in the word ‘lover’ is elongated into a verbal sneer that lets you know he wouldn’t he able to substitute the word “husband” if he wanted to; marriage is beneath contempt. “I just want to he your victim.” If Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill were alive today, and writing songs, and if they turned their obsession from politics to personality. they might sound like Elvis Costello — there is the same screw-it-all attitude hiding a belief, expressed often in the music but more rarely in the words, that if you don’t say it out loud things might turn out all right.

Someone in the audience, holding a beer in salute , screams “Elvis” and the new Elvis acknowledges the kind of adoration the old one used to receive by slowly running his tongue across his bottom lip in a movement that is, at once, invitingly erotic and repellently hostile. That is what rock and roll once was; it looks like the what was might be the what is again.





Mocambo presents The Attractions -- who, as it should be taught to everyone at the first-grade level, comprised bassist Bruce Thomas, keyboardist Steve Nieve, and drummer Pete Thomas -- at an intensity level never really captured in the studio. Just check out the Mocambo version of "Welcome To The Working Week," which was recorded with session musicians on Costello's debut My Aim Is True. The Attractions. The Thomases kick the song up to a one minute, nineteen-second blur. Costello strains to cram all of his literary lyrics in there, and the band doesn't let up for a second.

Mocambo is the best live document of Elvis back when he really was an angry young man, and as raring to piss off as many people as possible as Johnny Rotten at his nastiest. The difference is Costello picks his fights intelligently, and disarms his audience with fantastic songs. The legendary "Dallas Version" of "Less Than Zero" is included here, where Costello revises the song's lyrics to viciously skewer an American holy cow. OK, it's the Kennedy assassination, which maybe isn't the most tasteful choice (note how EC brilliantly converts the original's "home movies" line to refer to the Zapruder tape), but it sure shows balls, doesn't it?

From "Radio, Radio" to the slinky Attractions arrangement of "Watching The Detectives," which personifies the menace the studio original only suggested, Live At El Mocambo is a document of a band at the height of their powers. There's something a little unsettling about an audience cheering ecstatically along as Costello spits out "Sometimes I feel / just like a human being," but isn't that the point?

Hear it here -

http://capableofmore.blogspot.com/2007/ ... -1978.html