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Review of concert from 2005-06-24: Glastonbury, Glastonbury 2005 - with the Imposters
Glastonburyfestivals, 2005-06-29
Chris Cundy

Pyramid Stage

Under the grey skies of the Pyramid stage and looking a little bit like a favourite casino host, Elvis Costello, a king of sorts, fell short of this immortal act with a splurge of tangled, ironic knots from his guitar.

Elvis Costello by Andrew Eaton'(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding?' This is the way that any great rock n' roll legend should be addressing a Glastonbury audience in 2005, but then Elvis Costello and the Impostors are not just any old rock n' roll legends. These songs have in them the questions that are right under our noses, but amid their showmanship they're musicians who don't claim to know the answers.

Thundering into a gritty rendition of 'Radio, Radio' they anticipated a gig that was to be a fine retrospective of Costello's early stuff complemented by tracks from his current Delivery Man album.

Wielding a vintage Hofner style jazz guitar Costello's visions of the world, displayed in tracks like 'I don't want to go to Chelsea', remain no less jaded than they used to be and the band delivers in the manner of an out of place dancehall outfit.

Original Attractions Keyboardist Steve Naive played the pop stars crime of self mockery with a twist of shameless pizzazz. At times his laboratory of analogue synths, wobbly Theremins and fuzzy noises appeared like a ghost out of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.

On the whole the Costello band just got on with toughening up the old ballads but, at times, he took away his mask of self-possessed grandeur. With its stab at the old British Empire 'Oliver's Army' seemed a helpful reminder of this years Make Poverty History campaign. "Tonight…" he said to the audience, "…the monkey man, through me, will talk to the people of Glastonbury again..." Tailing off with a strong but floundering whiff of the American national anthem, we were left with very suspicious minds indeed.

Chris Cundy