Translated: Sverre Ronny Saetrum  



Elvis Costello surprised most of the assembled on the final day of
“Vossajazz”. His concert at “Voss Idrettshall” last night was a fantastic
journey through an equally fantastic songwriter-career. Best of all, Elvis
was in great shape, both musically and verbally. The sharpest and most
intellectual “side-commentator” in rock has, thank God, had the wit to stay
far away from the “big-rock-format” and he manages really well as a



One of rock’s greatest ironical artists is still like he used to be. “The
Rolling Stones have inflatable women, and U2 have a gigantic TV-screen, and
I ? I have this torchlight...” Costello proclaimed to a packed “Voss
Idrettshall” last night. Thus, making  his beautiful ballad “Alison”,
performed in the dim light of a 25W lightbulb, the highlight of the
concert. That this song could be so stunningly beautifully performed 22
years after it’s “first edition” is simply quite unbelievable.  There’s
always reasons to be sceptical when middle-aged entertainers of Costello´s
magnitude embarks on a “nostalgic-tour”, but he manages to breath new life
into these great old songs of his, not least thanks to the collaboration
with piano-player Steve Nieve.  Costello in 1998 is nearer to cabaret than
to rock and roll, and Elvis´new approach makes him so much less pathetic
than other superstars at his own age. When Costello opens with “Why can’t a
man stand alone” it’s touching. He has taken good care of the
“near-desperate” expression in his voice, and he sings with a mighty power
and vibrating pathos. Not least in the way he still sings about the
delightful “Veronica”. At the same time he’s capable of quieting it all
down to the extent that you just have to listen. Elvis Costello delivered a
kind of “intimate-vaudeville” over his extraordinary songwriting career, a
career which most certainly is not over by far.  In addition to this, he
presented the audience with a “teaser” of what we might expect when he
enters the studio with “King of kitsch”, Mr.Burt Bacharach, this summer.
In fact, “God give me strength” almost sounded like a somewhat sarcastic
plea before going on to this new task..... It was great to find out that
Elvis Costello is STILL one of rock’s greatest wordsmiths. A very good
concert. Very !!!!

(Reviewed by Frode Bjerkestrand, “Bergens Tidende”)