Avery Fisher shows/Mojo review

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Avery Fisher shows/Mojo review

Postby martinfoyle » Fri Aug 13, 2004 7:30 pm


Elvis Costello
Avery Fisher Hall,
Lincoln Center, New
York City, July 13, 15, 17

THERE IS something about New York City that brings out the marathon in Elvis Costello. He's only been living here for the past year, but there have been times in his touring life when it seemed like Britain's greatest modern songwriter was running for mayor - like the night in April, 1979 when, pumping his Armed Forces album, he played three sets in different clubs in three hours; and the five straight, splendid evenings on Broadway in the fall of 1986, in which he flaunted the whole of his gifts and guises at the time (garage R&B terrorist, primal scream balladeer, alt country dandy, walking pop-covers encyclopaedia).
But with this uptown hat trick, Costello - who turns 50 on August 25 - made it official: There is no such thing as overreach. His protean ambitions as a songwriter and fearlessly catholic drive were out on the counter as far back as 1982's Imperial Bedroom and that free country single included with the first pressings of This Year's Model. Now, in middle age, Costello has the legacy and leverage –the widely admired songbook and the critical glory of his collaborations with the Brodsky Quartet, Burt Bacharach, Paul McCartney and the Charles Mingus Orchestra - to go for broke. Which he did at Lincoln Center, with no expense or tympani spared. What's the point of throwing your own half-century birthday bash if you can't whip out your first full-scale symphony?
The king-size string section and boogie-army brass of the Metropole Orkest, a huge swinging ensemble from the Netherlands supplemented by Costello loyalist Steve Nieve at the piano, allowed the star to leap from the haunted-saloon lieder of Still and Someone Took The Words Away, both from last year's ravishing North, to the humid New Orleans R&B of Dave Bartholomew's That's How You Got Killed Before. There were exuberant reconsiderations of Costello's Attractions catalogue as well. Clubland did not survive the transition from taxi-dance Nuggets to Afro-Cuban carnival stomp. But Watching The Detectives was neatly reimagined as vintage TV-cop-show jazz: Benny Carter holding court at 77 Sunset Strip.
It was hard not to hear a little what-if- what Costello might have achieved, in soul and song, with the late Gil Evans - in the stately, complex melancholy of Put Away Forbidden Playthings or the Orkest's liquid autumn in Almost Blue. It was also impossible to miss the matured force of Costello's singing, the fullness of life amplifying his surging distress in the first show's mighty closing prayer, God Give Me Strength. When Costello lit into that chorus with gale-force anguish, there was barely enough blowing room for the band.
By the second night, Costello was ready to have some fun. That was his plummy disembodied voice commandeering the PA as the house lights went down, urging people to turn off their cell phones and pagers "because you won't be able to hear them anyway". He wasn't kidding. After a fit of free-form guitar clang, Costello led his Imposters - Nieve, drummer Pete Thomas and bassist Davey Farragher - into a fusillade of hot vengeance from Blood And Chocolate, My Aim Is True and This Year’s Model, but without a shred of nostalgia. In the bullying age of Clear Channel, Costello's searing wish in Radio Radio - "I wanna bite the hand that feeds me/I wanna bite that hand so badly" - sounded even more immediate, and despairing, than it did in 1978.
Costello followed that barrage with a different ferocity: the gravel-road rattle and tangled small-town tensions of his forthcoming album, The Delivery Man, a dirty-South operetta actually recorded with the Importers in Oxford, Mississippi. In crunchy waltz The Name Of This Thing Is Not Love and the grunting funk of Bedlam, Costello lashed at his wide-body Gibson like he'd been taking correspondence guitar lessons from Neil Young and the departed spirit of Junior Kimbrough.
But inside Costello's hairpin turns - from the spectral new Country Darkness to the thrilling apoplexy of (I Don't Want To Go To) Chelsea, in the encore swerve from the lonesome Appalachia of his Cold Mountain ballad Scarlet Tide to the slow hard blues Love That Burns - was a striking constancy, a concentrated melodic care and attention to emotional detail at once strong enough to cut through the Imposters' roughhousing, then hang in the air with candid elegance when Costello shut off the electricity, as he did for the exquisite pain of Indoor Fireworks.
Costello's symphonic debut, II Sogno (The Dream), was born four years ago as a ballet score, commissioned by the Italian company Aterballeto for an adaptation of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Although Costello has revised the piece for orchestral performance and disc — a recording by the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas, is due in September - II Sogno's programmatic origins were evident at Lincoln Center, in the episodic jumps from sunlit violins and skipping cellos to fox-hunting trumpets and elephantine trombones. Melodies and motifs appeared and dissolved with pop-single-like brevity; early in Act Two, the horns, basses and percussion locked into a smart march bearing a loving resemblance to The Drifters' On Broadway.
I am not qualified to judge Il Sogno as classical music or debate its finer technical points. But I know affection when I hear it, and Il Sogno was a marvellous compound of valentines: to the poetic might of Duke Ellington's great suites, Brian Wilson's pocket symphonies on Pet Sounds and the sumptuous poignance of Nelson Riddle's arrangements for Frank Sinatra. I also noticed something else: regardless of setting or instrumental armoury, Costello always writes with a pop ear for impact.
There were points in II Sogno - like the summer breeze of harp, vibes and strings in the third movement - when I found myself waiting, in vain, for Costello to pull up to a mike and turn the form into song. That was until the second half of the concert, when he, Nieve and bassist Greg Cohen joined the Brooklyn Philharmonic for a final hour of more compact grandeur: All This Useless Beauty, the North ballad Fallen, a breathtaking Almost Blue that seemed to sway naked in the dark - just Costello's hurting voice, Cohen's heartbeat bass and Nieve's teardrop piano - until the last titanic rush of strings.
It was a stunning moment, in a night and week rich in them. We were there to celebrate Costello's 50th birthday. But he was the one giving out the presents.

-David Fricke

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Postby johnfoyle » Thu Apr 07, 2005 2:08 pm

How I love this techy stuff....

http://mixonline.com/mixline_live/Elvis ... index.html

Elvis Costello, EAW Wow Lincoln Center Festival

By Mix Editors

Dec 16, 2004 8:34 PM

This year’s Lincoln Center Festival at Lincoln Center Plaza (New York City) presented more than 150 performances by more than 30 participating artists and performance groups in its nine venues, including Elvis Costello.

“Luckily, the core sound designers, production managers and techs have not changed much since the beginning, which is unusual for a festival environment,” said David Meschter, sound coordinator for the Lincoln Center Festival, whose many responsibilities include the collection and fulfillment of each group’s technical rider. Planning for the massive event begins in mid-February, when Meschter and other festival coordinators assemble and allocate resources. One such audio resource is Simon Nathan, principal of Audio Production Services (APS) in North Westchester, N.Y. APS partners with New York-based Promix to provide all audio equipment for every Lincoln Center venue during the festival.

For Lincoln Center Festival 2004, Elvis Costello played a week-long series of three shows at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall, home of the New York Philharmonic. The series highlighted the vast career and musical styles of Costello. The first performance was Costello and the Dutch ensemble Metropole Orkest, a full-time jazz orchestra with strings. Second, it was Costello and The Imposters with drummer Pete Thomas, keyboardist Steve Nieve and bassist Davey Farragher. And finally, the last performance was Costello and the Brooklyn Philharmonic featuring the North American premiere of “Il Sogno,” Costello’s first orchestral suite, as well as Costello performing a program of orchestral-accompanied songs.

For the Costello run, Meschter and Nathan chose EAW KF730 small line array modules (SLAM). Eight EAW KF730s per side were hung above the lighting truss in Avery Fisher Hall for all three performances. “We needed a sound system that was small, light, sounded good and could throw a reasonable distance,” said Nathan. “The KF730s fit the bill.”

“We also wanted a system that can be important in all three of the shows and is versatile enough to be matched with additional cabinets,” said Meschter. “The KF730s worked out very well with the Elvis Costello shows. With the Metropole, the program was mostly amplified and reinforced, with electronics worked into the orchestra. For that, we used the KF730s and four EAW SB1000 subwoofers. With The Imposters, we added eight EAW KF750s and six EAW SB1000s to the KF730s for added punch. And with the Philharmonic, only the second half of the show was amplified voice. For that, we stripped the system down and just used the KF730s for Elvis’ vocals.”

The KF730s also fit the criteria of a clean sightline, an especially passionate topic for traditional philharmonic patrons and players. According to Nathan, he hasn’t received any complaints on sightlines to date.

“Once we had decided on a line array, we began looking for the smallest line array system possible since classical players do not want to see speakers,” added Meschter. “The KF730s have served this space better than any system we’ve brought in here before. There is even coverage from the tiers down to the floor.”

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Man out of Time
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Re: Avery Fisher shows

Postby Man out of Time » Fri Nov 22, 2013 8:37 pm

This article from the Irish Independent published on 21 August 2004 (now saved to the Wiki) gives the background to these three concerts and some narrative about each.

Elvis Costello Wiki

Will next summer's concerts in Rome be anything like these?


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Re: Avery Fisher shows/Mojo review

Postby johnfoyle » Sat Nov 23, 2013 5:39 pm

That feature had appeared in the The Independent On Sunday (London) a week earlier -


Back in '04 The Independent (London) and Irish Independent were part owned by Tony O'Reilly so used to share features.

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