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Review of concert from 2002-05-28: Los Angeles, CA, Ackerman Grand Ballroom - with Imposters
Daily Bruin, 2002-05-30
- Andrew Lee


DAILY BRUIN ONLINE - Thursday, May 30, 2002

Costello, Imposters evoke enthusiasm


By Andrew Lee
Daily Bruin Contributor

Last Tuesday was a landmark day for music at UCLA, and it certainly wasn't because of The Ataris playing Westwood Plaza.

Current Artist-in-Residence Elvis Costello came out from hiding and performed some balls-out rock for a fawning crowd. But with the crowd consisting predominately of 30-something Nick Hornby types, complete with balding heads and throwback '70s band T-shirts, let's hope the students of UCLA had a good excuse for missing one of the greatest current songwriters perform his first L.A. dance hall concert in over 20 years.

That's not to say that the lack of young blood was a complete surprise. Curiously, Costello is one artist who hasn't been rediscovered with fervor by each new generation like Bob Dylan. As he proved Tuesday night at Grand Ackerman Ballroom, however, he's still got the energy and songs that garnered him massive popularity in the '70s.

The show started off with "45," a dynamic song that showcases Costello's very best from Costello's latest release "When I was Cruel." Immediately following were two songs from "My Aim is True," his 1977 debut album, the latter being "Watching the Detectives," a reggae-tinged song that brought the audience to life when Costello belted out his immortal lines: "Though it nearly took a miracle to get you to stay / It only took my little fingers to blow you away."

For the rest of the night, Costello alternated from brand new songs to familiar hits harking back to other early albums like "This Year's Model" and "Blood and Chocolate." While his classics garnered the most fervent reactions, Costello's new compositions were just as strong, tapping into his familiarly guttural vocal style and witty lyrics. Costello introduced "Spooky Girlfriend" as a song about a "show business weasel who has an unhealthy interest in the hairstyles of porn stars, and a girl who has a completely comprehensible fascination with color-coordinated credit cards and shoes."

The Imposters, Costello's new backup band, provided just enough support to give the songs life without overpowering the main attraction. A rhythm section featuring drummer Pete Thomas and bassist Davey Farragher kept rockers like "No Action" and "Pump it Up" rolling along with energy seemingly way too high for gentlemen of their age. Keyboardist Steve Nieve, who first played with Costello's Attractions on his 1977 album, entertained the audience with a number of solos on his theremin, a bizarre instrument whose pitch he manipulated by simply waving his hands over a black box.

"I Want You" ended the third encore and two hour show, an epic and gut-wrenching song that, at its climax, had the four players pounding their instruments in a slow and torturous fashion behind a sweaty and red-faced Costello belting out his words amidst a stage awash with ominous dark blue lighting. It was a song they seemingly knew they couldn't top, and the band members left the stage for the last time.

The most memorable moments of the night, however, came with the rousing rockers and sing-along choruses of classics and new numbers like: "High Fidelity," "You Belong to Me," "Alibi" and "Tear Off Your Own Head (It's a Doll Revolution)," Basically, the they were the countless times when Costello and his bandmates managed to get the crowd moving with reckless abandon, singing along like they were all 18 years old again.

Author: Andrew Lee
Web Address: http://www.dailybruin.ucla.edu/db/articles.asp?ID=20085
Copyright 2002 ASUCLA Student Media


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