Friday, 7 June 2013

A Date With Elvis (At The Royal Albert Hall)

Last night I had a great time watching the Imposters. Elvis Costello, Pete Thomas, Steve Nieve, and Davey Faragher were all on splendid form. The songs he performed were: "I Hope You're Happy Now", "Tear Off Your Own Head (It's A Doll Revolution)", "I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down", "High Fidelity", "Uncomplicated", "Mystery Dance", "Radio, Radio". There was then a medley of songs with the word "Girl" in the title ("This Year's Girl", "Sulky Girl" "G.L.O.R.I.A",and "Girls Talk"). "45", "I Want You", "(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes", "Riot Act". Bonnie Raitt was brought on as a guest and she spun his spinning songbook. Raitt was very jolly but said she couldn't sing as her throat was bad so Elvis serenaded her with "Either Side Of The Same Town". I thought their version of "Cry, Cry, Cry" was a bit lazy and I don't remember enjoying "Song With Rose" either. Things vastly improved with "Brilliant Mistake", "Oliver's Army", "Man Out Of Time" and "Shipbuilding". Two songs with just Elvis and Steve Nieve on the grand piano ("She" and "Shot With His Own Gun", "London's Brilliant Parade", Elvis spoke about two of his relatives suffering from dementia and explaining that the reason he was going to perform a famous song about Margaret Thatcher was due more to the facts we shouldn't forget all the unforgivable misery she caused so many people. It must be said his new John Lennon style arrangement of "Tramp The Dirt Down" is a very powerful way to end the show. His first encore was a lovely take on Nick Lowe's "Indoor Fireworks" sadly things then went very downhill with the tedious "A Slow Drag With Josephine", and, even worse, "Jimmie Standing In The Rain". "Watching The Detectives" was a bit of a mess but thankfully "Everyday I Write The Book" was great fun. He ended with fast and furious versions of a trio of crowd pleasers ("I Don't Want To Go To) Chelsea", "Pump It Up", and "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding"). The highlights for me were his stunning version of "Riot Act", the unexpected Jimi Hendrix style jam at the end of "Uncomplicated", a wild and crazy "I Want You", Pete Thomas's brilliant drumming on "Mystery Dance", Steve Nieve really going for it on "She", Elvis walking out into the audience and sitting on a man's lap whilst singing "Shipbuilding" and great versions of tracks from the King of America album. There were also lots of witty quips and silly stuff - when a fan screamed "Elvis, we love you", Costello quickly replied: "We love you too, both individually and as a group."

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