Tonight I saw Elvis Costello for the first time since I saw him in London in 1977. I was struck by the sheer volume of classic songs he has recorded in a career spanning close to 40 years. I love that he often strays from the path trodden by many contemporaries by recording a country album, recording with the Brodsky Quartet and producing the Specials. He arrived at York as part of his 13 Revolver Tour with a show featuring the Spectacular Spinning Song Wheel.
He opened the set with a blast of four or five loud and powerful power pop songs culminating in the magnificent “Radio Radio“. The principle of the wheel is that members of the audience are picked to spin the wheel and the band play the song that is randomly selected. Tracey and Carol were given a storming version of “(I Don’t Want To Go To) Chelsea”.
Later a Catherine and Alex took to the stage and when asked her favourite song Catherine replied “She” the Charles Aznavour song. Now that is a song I really dislike so I was very pleased when Mr Costello said “I fucking hate that song”. However Alex and Catherine spun the Joker and were allowed to choose their favourite. After Costello had sung “She” for them they danced in the cage podium for a while. As they were about to leave the stage Costello’s assistant, the Mysterious Josephine whispered to Elvis and young Alex and Catherine took the microphone for Alex to propose to his beau live in front of thousands of people. He did a great job. Catwoman, who accompanied me to the gig, was in tears! Oh and Alex had a yes from Catherine. If they are reading this I would like to wish them all the best.
My favourite song of the evening was a stupendous “Watching The Detectives” which included Costello walking through the crowd singing with a radio mic. He is clearly a great showman and he is gifted in stage craft. The band are very tight and are made up of Drummer Pete Thomas and keyboard maestro Steve Nieve formerly of the Attractions and Davey Faragher on bass. I was very pleased that they played two classic anti Thatcher songs; “Shipbuilding” and “Tramp The Dirt Down”. The latter received a massive cheer I am pleased to say. He showcased his true and pure vocal talent by stepping away from the mic at the end of “Jimmie Standing In The Rain” for a few lines of “Brother Can You Spare A Dime”
The show kicked off at 8 o’clock and it was nearly 10.30 before the house lights came back on. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better the band returned after a minute or two off stage for an astounding encore. Kicking off with “Alison” and closing with “Pump It Up” and “(What’s So Funny About) Peace Love And Understanding” whilst finding time for “I Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down” and “High Fidelity”. The encore provided a fabulous climax for the excellent go-go dancer too.
This show sits easily in the top 5 gigs I have ever seen in my nearly 40 years of gig going. I will definitely go to see Elvis again and you should too. Trust me you will not regret it! Oh and by the way, none of the pics or videos in this post were taken by me. I can’t be arsed to keep getting my camera out at gigs, I’d rather enjoy the show!