Imperial Bedroom & Other Chambers - Kansas City, MO, Crossroads KC,  June 9 2017  (and interview)

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Imperial Bedroom & Other Chambers - Kansas City, MO, Crossroads KC,  June 9 2017  (and interview)

Postby And No Coffee Table » Mon Jun 05, 2017 1:33 pm

https://kansascity.relaymedia.com/amp/e ... 48664.html

Elvis Costello on bringing something old that’s something new to Crossroads KC

BY TIMOTHY FINN
tfinn@kcstar.com

The name of Elvis Costello’s latest tour is Imperial Bedroom and Other Chambers, and the intent is to present “Imperial Bedroom,” one of his most beloved and mercurial albums, in its entirety, including songs he’d never performed live.

Friday night, the tour stops at Crossroads KC, a place Costello is familiar with: He stopped there on a sweltering late-June evening in 2011.

“Crossroads is hot as can be sometimes,” he told The Star recently. “The last time we were there, it was unbelievably hot. It was 105 degrees onstage. It was crazy. Maybe in early June it won’t be so bad.”

Costello had more to talk about than the weather. He also discussed the “Imperial Bedroom” album and what it has been like to explore its music and sounds 35 years after its release.


Q: What inspired the idea behind this tour?

A: I decided we’d take the starting point of the songs from that record and look at what it would take to play them the way we feel about them now. That includes everything.

There are four, five, six songs from the album that have stayed in our repertoire. The rest of them we found too difficult to play live. Either we didn’t have the patience for the arrangements or even the voices because a lot of them were heavily vocally arranged. Now we’ve got a great singing band member, which we didn’t have back then; nobody could sing in the Attractions. But Davey (Faragher) is a great vocalist and a really good vocal arranger. He’s worked with two other singers we’ve enlisted, so now we have four voices.

It’s by no means a recitation from cover to cover. And we interweave it with other songs that I feel have something to do with the same themes. Some of those songs are much newer, some songs preceded that album, and there’s also a space in the show for several well-known songs that sort of belong in this world, where something about the music or the lyrics makes me feel that’s the right place in the show.

And that’s an intriguing puzzle because it’s quite different from the past two visits to Kansas City, which were Detour and before that the Spectacular Spinning Songbook, which by their very nature were the opposite of this: very random.

Here we have fewer songs rehearsed, but the songs are rehearsed in a lot more detail because they are fairly complex and we want to do them the best we can.


Q: What did you discover in revisiting these songs and unpacking them?

A: Nobody thinks it’s an odd thing for jazz musicians to go back and play songs originally composed 50 years ago. There’s another version of “Stella by Starlight” to be heard. No one thought that was odd when Miles Davis did that.

You can look at all the people in the history of jazz, and for that matter in classical music: They play music that’s 200 years old, and they’ll make it work in the moment you see it. They make emotional and spiritual sense of that music right then, and that’s what we’re doing.

I’m not saying what we’ve got here is classical music, but we’re looking at these songs and asking, “How do we feel about them now?”

I’m not doing this for reasons of nostalgia. If I were looking to get a quick reaction from people, I wouldn’t have picked a record that wasn’t a hit. It has a lot of good songs that went unexplored, certainly in live performance.

From the experience we had back in October when we first did this show, singing and playing these songs was joyful, even though, as I acknowledged from the stage, I was two or three years down the road into a sort of darker romantic mood than most of my audience in 1982. That’s the reason a lot of people didn’t go with me on some of this stuff: because some of it was just sad. I’d reached that point a lot quicker than some. Then what happens is life goes on and people say, “That song is really like my life.”


Q: How are these songs treated now, 35 years later?

A: We’re not reworking to the point you won’t recognize them, with the exception of one song where the form of it is really quite changed.

Sometimes when you have a record that’s really crafted in the studio, it’s hard to play it live. Lots of bands will tell you that. Your instincts in the studio are one thing; your instincts in front of an audience are quite another.

These songs didn’t want to be sped up and made up into garage-band songs. They didn’t take to that. To some degree, you could do that with a song like “Clubland” from “Trust,” which prefigures the music of “Imperial Bedroom,” but a song like “You Little Fool” sounds wrong when you try to play it with fuzzy guitars. Like what Chuck Berry said, it lost the beauty of the melody.

There was a time when beauty and things like that were a bit unfashionable. So I suppose you can get a little embarrassed that you actually went for beauty, because heaven knows I don’t have a beautiful voice. But you can still go for beauty in the melody. And the time has come to trust it a bit more and see where it leads us.


Q: How is the show presented visually?

A: I’ve tried to have a sense of mischief about the presentation of the show visually. I really want people to remember or be confronted with the cover image, which is quite a striking painting by our friend Barney Bubbles, our art director throughout the first six or so records we made. I love that painting, so I wanted to project it on a screen.

Then I started to think that maybe the characters in that painting, like the characters in the songs, could have another life. So I got a pencil out and started to draw on all of our other album sleeves. So there’s sort of a comical monologue going on behind the music, visually, which are drawings of these characters living inside these record sleeves.

It’s got a sense of humor to it.


Q: How were the arrangements created and assembled? Was it a collaborative effort among the band members?

A: Because we live in different countries part of the time, it requires us to prepare independently. Because this record always presented a puzzle when it came to playing it live, we just didn’t have the time to work out how to do it.

All of our repertoire that comes from before 2002 as a band, it’s interesting to hear it with Davey Fargher playing it. He’ll take the motif from the original record and, because he’s got a slightly different rhythmic feel, he takes it a different way, and that affects the way Pete (Thomas) lays in the drums and how I lay in the vocal. Steve (Nieve) is doing what Steve does.

But when you come to a record like this that has quite a big blueprint of arrangement possibilities, it came to like, “OK, Pete, you play drums. Why don’t you take care of organizing the rhythmic side of this?” Davey, who in addition to playing the bass is a great vocal arranger, so he decoded all my crazy vocal overdubs and made them something you can sing every night with two vocalists.

And Steve Nieve: I remember when we tried to do “Imperial Bedroom” songs that didn’t easily fit with four instruments, Steve had some sort of early sampling keyboard that supposedly sounded like strings. It really sounded like someone rattling a suitcase filled with coat hangers. Now you can get these fantastic, beautifully recorded samples.

But you’re not hearing a prerecording of these strings, Steve is playing those things. Those are his fingers on the keys. We’ve never gone for those kinds of things before. So it’s kind of thrilling to have this technology that can set us free.


Q: What do you remember about the “Imperial Bedroom” recording sessions?

A: Every other record had been made under such a time constraint, mainly because of money. We had none when we started. I think “Armed Forces” was three weeks; “Get Happy!” was two weeks. We recorded “Trust” twice because we didn’t like the first recording.

By the time we’d been to Nashville and made another record in nine days, the idea of having 12 weeks was a temptation to go mad, but hopefully in a creative way. And that’s kind of what we did.

We said, “What did the Beatles do?” They hired an orchestra. They had a harpsichord. Let’s do that. We weren’t trying to sound like “Sgt. Pepper’s” but it was like give yourselves the space for the instrument you think you might need. OK, an accordion. “Does anyone know how to play that? No, then let’s three of us play it; that makes it better.” So there was a lot of playful stuff even though we were serving these dark songs.

It took awhile for us to burn off that nervous energy we’d brought to every record. The first 10 days we recorded flat-out, top tempo, everything sounded like we were trying to be a one-take record, like “Trust.” Then we realized we were making the same record again. So we stopped ourselves and started again. We kept little bits of the wild playing to decorate some of the other songs and started recording more methodically.

We co-produced the record, but I gave all the credit to Geoff (Emerick) because so much of it was put in order by what he did as an engineer. He doesn’t get quite the clear credit for what he did when you listen to the Beatles records, but when you’ve been in the studio with him you understand what he did to bring things into focus in the performance that otherwise could have been a little diffuse. Having been on the other side of the glass from him and understanding what he does, it was freeing. We’d come in, he’d do some adjustments and we’d hear what it could be and we’d add some parts and make that more vivid.


Q: This year is also the 40th anniversary of “My Aim Is True,” your first full-length, released in 1977 when you were 22. It started a run of seven albums in five years, ending with “Imperial Bedroom.” That was a spectacular run of albums in a short period of time. Where did you find the time to tour and write and record so prolifically?

A: Well, if you look at 2000 to 2010 you’ll find nearly the same work rate. What’s different is it wasn’t album-tour, album-tour. What’s amazing to me is the amount we played between those first three records — how in the world did we find the time to write and arrange them?

But bear in mind every show was like a group workshop on the next group of songs. We were doing songs from the second record when we first came to America. So I had a head start. I was actually one ahead. “My Aim Is True” is thought of as a 1977 record, but it was started in 1976.

I never felt like I was being rushed. I never felt an obligation to make a record until 1984. And then we made two in a year in 1986 and then took a few years out from recording and regrouped when I changed labels. I did the same thing after the Attractions disbanded the second time.

Q: You have collaborated with a diverse host of songwriters and musicians, including Burt Bacharach, the Roots. When you go into a project like that, what are the intentions? Is there a vision in mind or is it let’s toss ideas around and see what happens?

A: With that Roots record, you have to give (co-producer) Steve Mandel the credit for keeping the dialogue going. Questlove had the idea, but we never exchanged five words about that record. It was all done through the music. So that meant somebody had to sit there. That’s why you appreciate the role of the engineer/producer: somebody to decode and order the priorities.

But then you’ve got to have the musical ideas. And in that case, I had this idea of taking the bulletin aspects, the outward-looking lyrics to some of the songs I’d written, some of them I’d written over the previous five years, and saying those verses again over different music. And then we went on to write brand-new pieces of music with totally different structures, like “Wise Up Ghost” and “Viceroy’s Row.” That was more of a studio creation than any other record I’ve made since “Imperial Bedroom.”

But all the others were a combo playing in the room. “The Delivery Man” was a band playing in a room. “The River in Reverse” was a band playing in a room in New Orleans and a band in the room in Clarksdale and Oxford. “North” is a combo playing in a room in New York. And they’re pictures of those rooms.

It wasn’t all studio re-creation. We were not doing a recitation of a book or reading a catechism. We’re singing songs in the moment we’re singing them. That’s kind of what I’ve been trying to do since I unhooked myself from the album-tour, album-tour routine seven years ago. You make the show the thing. And you respect the audience by giving them the best versions of the songs that you can, then offering them something new.

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Re: Imperial Bedroom & Other Chambers - Kansas City, MO, Crossroads KC,  June 9 2017  (and interview)

Postby MOJO » Mon Jun 05, 2017 2:51 pm

Funny, I was thinking the same way about the show in which he describes it in this interview... a sense of humor to it w/ a twist of mischief. EC & the Imposters crack me up. Elvis with his red and white hats (good vs evil)... There was a classic slide on the screen with Elvis as a angel (white) and Elvis as a devil (red).. separated by what appeared to be an LP disk in spin-like motion. I was cracking up... so funny, man. I want a t-shit with that image on it. Also, I was cracking up a dude in the front of the stage (at the Berkeley show) who sort of looked/acted like Will Ferrell in Old School... Yeah, man... HOT. Good times!

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Re: Imperial Bedroom & Other Chambers - Kansas City, MO, Crossroads KC,  June 9 2017  (and interview)

Postby verbal gymnastics » Mon Jun 05, 2017 5:56 pm

I loved the part of the interview that simply concludes the paragraph "Steve is doing what Steve does".

That has to be the most simple sentence to ever describe Steve's genius.
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Re: Imperial Bedroom & Other Chambers - Kansas City, MO, Crossroads KC,  June 9 2017  (and interview)

Postby johnfoyle » Tue Jun 06, 2017 2:20 am

Like what Chuck Berry said, it lost the beauty of the melody.


Subtle allusion to a lyric from 1957

https://play.google.com/music/preview/T ... yrics&u=0#


Rock and Roll Music
Chuck Berry

I have no kick against modern jazz
Unless they try to play it too darn fast
And change the beauty of the melody

Until it sounds just like a symphony
That's why I go for that rock 'n' roll music

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0XSaKQlBZuE

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock_and_Roll_Music

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Re: Imperial Bedroom & Other Chambers - Kansas City, MO, Crossroads KC,  June 9 2017  (and interview)

Postby And No Coffee Table » Fri Jun 09, 2017 11:29 am

Will they play "Six Months In Kansas City (Liberty Street)" tonight?

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Re: Imperial Bedroom & Other Chambers - Kansas City, MO, Crossroads KC,  June 9 2017  (and interview)

Postby Uncomplicated » Fri Jun 09, 2017 12:46 pm

And No Coffee Table wrote:Will they play "Six Months In Kansas City (Liberty Street)" tonight?


I hope not.
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Re: Imperial Bedroom & Other Chambers - Kansas City, MO, Crossroads KC,  June 9 2017  (and interview)

Postby Uncomplicated » Fri Jun 09, 2017 12:58 pm

I don't see any info about an opening act for the previous shows. No opener?
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Re: Imperial Bedroom & Other Chambers - Kansas City, MO, Crossroads KC,  June 9 2017  (and interview)

Postby Uncomplicated » Fri Jun 09, 2017 1:12 pm

My wife will be happy. Thanks John!
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Re: Imperial Bedroom & Other Chambers - Kansas City, MO, Crossroads KC,  June 9 2017  (and interview)

Postby Harry Lime » Fri Jun 09, 2017 2:25 pm

I'm digging the long interviews Elvis is giving in advance of these shows. There's a new story or a new angle in each one.
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Re: Imperial Bedroom & Other Chambers - Kansas City, MO, Crossroads KC,  June 9 2017  (and interview)

Postby johnfoyle » Sat Jun 10, 2017 1:44 am

Jean on Facebook-


Kansas City- hope I got everything!

Accidents
Loved Ones
And In Every Home
Chelsea
Tears Before Bedtime
Moods For Moderns
Shabby Doll
Human Hands
Green Shirt
Go Tell Your Quiet Sister
Watching the Detectives
Long Honeymoon
King Horse
You Little Fool
Pigdin English

Encore:
Alison w/Kitten & Briana
Shot With His Own Gun w/Steve
Kid About It
Beyond Belief- I think this was the one that had "Shotgun" wedged in it
Man Out of Time
Town Cryer
EDIWTB
Pump It Up
PLU

Show lasted until 11:15 or so, but I didn't take note of the time when they came on stage.

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Re: Imperial Bedroom & Other Chambers - Kansas City, MO, Crossroads KC,  June 9 2017  (and interview)

Postby sweetest punch » Sat Jun 10, 2017 2:50 am

Usually Uncomplicated has snippets of Shotgun.
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Re: Imperial Bedroom & Other Chambers - Kansas City, MO, Crossroads KC,  June 9 2017  (and interview)

Postby verbal gymnastics » Sat Jun 10, 2017 5:28 am

Never assume...

On the Spectacular Spinning Songbook show in Birmingham, Elvis put a verse of Tart (as the spinner said it was her favourite song) in So Like Candy (and then smiled at me when I showed my appreciation 8) ). Shame the spinner didn't recognise it :lol:
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Re: Imperial Bedroom & Other Chambers - Kansas City, MO, Crossroads KC,  June 9 2017  (and interview)

Postby sulky lad » Sat Jun 10, 2017 7:03 am

VG said
and then smiled at me when I showed my appreciation

He's probably just grateful you weren't dancing along as well :shock: :wink:



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Re: Imperial Bedroom & Other Chambers - Kansas City, MO, Crossroads KC,  June 9 2017  (and interview)

Postby verbal gymnastics » Sat Jun 10, 2017 7:53 am

sulky lad wrote:VG said
and then smiled at me when I showed my appreciation

He's probably just grateful you weren't dancing along as well :shock: :wink:


Who's to say I wasn't...

...you were there :lol:
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Re: Imperial Bedroom & Other Chambers - Kansas City, MO, Crossroads KC,  June 9 2017  (and interview)

Postby sweetest punch » Sun Jun 11, 2017 12:49 am

http://www.kansascity.com/entertainment ... 11654.html

Elvis Costello throws himself a rousing ‘Bedroom’ party at Crossroads KC

These are the times for birthdays in the music world. In June alone, Beatles’ fans have celebrated the 50th anniversary of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” and Tom Petty’s 40th anniversary tour rolled into Kansas City for a sold-out show at the Sprint Center.

Elvis Costello is commemorating a milestone, too, though perhaps not one as celebrated as the others. Friday night, Costello and his band, the Imposters, brought their Imperial Bedroom and Other Chambers Tour to Crossroads KC and a crowd of more than 1,200. The two-hour show honors the 35th anniversary of “Imperial Bedroom,” Costello’s seventh full-length album, released in July 1982, five years after “My Aim Is True,” his debut album.

“Imperial Bedroom” signified a shift in songwriting and recording for Costello, a profound departure from his signature punchy, poppy and high-speed new-wave sounds into songs that were more baroque and more lavishly produced and into lyrics that were more contemplative and bleak. Because of its rich production, many “Bedroom” songs were difficult to duplicate into live performances and never made it into his set lists until this tour.

Costello brought with him his three-piece band, the Imposters: Pete Thomas on drums and the incomparable Steve Nieve on synths, keyboard and piano — two members of his founding band, the Attractions — and Davey Faragher on bass and vocals, the band’s vocal arranger, which, for this tour, is no trivial chore. This evening, Faragher had assistance. To execute many of the layered voice arrangements on “Bedroom,” Costello also enlisted two backup singers, Kitten Kuroi and Brianna Lee, who added much-needed heft and nuance — sometimes gospel-influenced — to many “Bedroom” tracks.

The album was not performed in its entirety — “Boy With a Problem” was omitted; nor was it performed in the order it was recorded. Costello interspersed “Bedroom” tracks with many of his best-known songs, starting with “Accidents Will Happen,” a favorite from 1979’s “Armed Forces” album. From there, he entered the “Bedroom” waters, first “The Loved Ones,” then “And In Every Home.”

And so it went. He followed “Home” with the brash and impudent “(I Don’t Want to Go to) Chelsea” from “This Year’s Model" (1978), then back to “Bedroom”: first “Tears Before Bedtime,” which featured the first of many splendid piano flourishes from the brilliant Nieve and “Shabby Doll,” which were sandwiched around a stormy, soulful rendition of “Moods For Moderns,” a standout track from “Armed Forces” (1979).

Behind the band, a large video screen, mounted on an ornate faux-gold frame beamed a variety of images, many of them crude and primitive paintings and drawings by Costello inspired by the cover of “Imperial Bedroom,” including a painting titled “Snake Charmer and the Reclining Octopus” by British artist Barney Bubbles, who was 41 when he died the year after “Bedroom” was released.

During “Watching the Detectives,” the screen delivered rapid-fire images of crime-movie posters and covers of pulp-crime novels. Before their chaotic rendition of that song, Costello explained it was about a woman who had a long-standing crush on actor David Soul of “Starsky & Hutch” fame and then confessed his crime-TV addiction for shows like that, “Colombo,” “Kojak” and most of all, “Murder She Wrote.”

Most of the “Bedroom” material was true enough to the recorded versions. Several tracks stood out, like “Kid About It”; “Almost Blue,” which prompted Costello to tip his hat to his wife, Diana Krall, who has covered the song (and who was touring in Burlington, Vt., on Friday night) and the album’s peak, if it has one, “Man Out of Time,” which aroused one of many sing-alongs.

Beyond the “Bedroom” material, the set list included plenty of highlights and surprises, like the spot-on rendition of “Green Shirt” and “Shot With His Own Gun.” Costello took liberties with several songs, recasting and rearranging them, none more dramatic than the darkened, low-key version of “Alison,” which he performed on guitar only, standing at a lone microphone flanked by Kuroi and Lee, who added deep-soul harmonies.

He finished with a run of favorites. After finishing his “Bedroom” duties with “Town Cryer,” the album’s final track, he led the band into a string of hits and favorites, starting with “Everyday I Write the Book,” in which Kuroi and Lee showed off their considerable vocal skills, then two rousing, high-speed classics: “Pump It Up” and then his usual closer, the rapturous “(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding,” which felt as pertinent and provocative as ever.

It was the perfect ending to a joyous birthday party, which was also a celebration of an illustrious career that, in July, will celebrate another milestone: the 40th anniversary of the release of "My Aim Is True." Early happy birthday, Elvis.
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Re: Imperial Bedroom & Other Chambers - Kansas City, MO, Crossroads KC,  June 9 2017  (and interview)

Postby sweetest punch » Sun Jun 11, 2017 1:04 am

Only 1200 people there?
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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