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Review of concert from 2005-05-25: Norwich, UEA Norwich - with the Imposters
EDP24, 2005-05-27

Stick to cocoa, Costello tells fans

27 May 2005

Elvis Costello has recommended cookbooks and cocoa to those who demanded a refund after his Norwich show was delayed while he watched his beloved Liverpool football team's incredible European Cup recovery on TV backstage.

The legendary singer-songwriter was greeted with boos and abuse from some fans when he emerged on to the stage at the University of East Anglia shortly after 9.30pm on Wednesday as the Champions League final in Istanbul went into extra time.

One fan hurled a drink over him as he played his opening number, and Costello responded by gesticulating at him and swearing at others.

Responding to calls from fans who branded him arrogant and disrespectful, the EDP asked for a response from Costello and got a characteristically spiky but good-humoured reply.

He taunted the "timid souls" who interpreted his response as "genuine aggression" and took a swipe at the "cowardly drink-hurling drunk" who was ejected by bouncers.

He promised free tickets to his next Norfolk show to those who had been genuinely inconvenienced by the delayed start to the show.

But he said those who had asked for their money back should stay at home "reading their Delia Smith cookbooks over a nice cup of Horlicks while listening to their K-Tel collection of punk rock classics".

Tina O'Connor, from Norwich, who sings in a local group and plays pubs around the city, said she was unim-pressed with the apparent disrespect Costello had shown towards people who had paid £25 for tickets.

"We left about half an hour after the start because we had to work the next day," she complained. "The way he treated his fans just left a bad taste.

"I am a football fan and I could have watched the football, but I decided to go to see him play."

Ruth Darby, from Norwich, was also disappointed that the concert had started so late and left early.

She said: "When he came out, there was no apology, no acknowledgement of the audience, he just launched straight into his set. I just thought he was arrogant. We had paid all that money and had been waiting and waiting. If he was that bothered about the football, he should have cancelled."

Some leapt to Costello's defence and said that those who had left the gig early had missed out.

"He was the victim of an unprovoked attack by some members of the audience who threw liquid and other objects at him," said Vaughan Griggs, of Rider Haggard Road, Norwich.

"His response was to shout abuse at some members of the audience, which was entirely justified given the intimidation he received."

Melanie Hall, from Lowestoft, said the singer had "worked very hard" on stage and had recovered very well from the initial and unaccept-able abuse directed at him.