Review of concert in Hamburg, Musikhalle on 1999-05-05
Hamburger Abendblatt, 1999-05-07
- translated by Rainer Claaßen []

Weak beginning, strong ending

289x435 (23K)
Elvis Costello increased after beginning weakly.

It did not start very promising: The Musikhalle was only filled for about one-third on Wednesday evening, and the audience did not make a very lively impression. There was nothing to argue about the songs Elvis Costello sang in the first half hour of his Hamburg concert (by the way the first night of his German tour), but they took nobody out of their seats in excitement.

Supported only by his long time companion Steve Nieve on grand piano, Declan Patrick McManus, which is the civil name of the Englishman, presented mostly songs of his latest album "Painted From Memory". The calm ballads, he wrote together with lifetime legend Burt Bacharach seemed due to lack of orchestra and background chorus, even calmer and more melancholic on stage than on the CD. Every now and then some of the Fans would catch themselves yawning.

But in the remaining 1 1/2 hours of the concert that lasted for about 135 minutes Elvis Costello increased strongly. Slowly, but safely the Briton thawed and told the by now completely enthusiastic fans amusing stories about the creation and contents of his songs. The music too became more varied and swinging; for a few songs the Londoner even plugged his acoustic guitar into the amplifier. Towards the end of the evening Elvis Costello competently imitated his deceased namesake Elvis Presley. This alone was worth the entrance fee.