Elvis Costello & The Imposters, Usher Hall, Edinburgh
NEVER one to leave his audience wanting more (as I observed after having to hotfoot it from the Barrowland in October to meet our deadline), EC is a value-for-money act. This has always been so, but now goes down particularly well with his constituency, burdened as we are by mortgages, the education of our children and the prospect of failing pension schemes.
Having sat tight for the full duration of this return visit of the promotional tour for The Delivery Man album, I can report a set of two-and-a-half hours without a break, comprising more than 30 tunes, and 10 different guitars. This last total included a recently-acquired feedback-prone $150 plank with pickups that doubled, bizarrely, as a vocal microphone on old rocker Hidden Charms.
In what was a much better paced and constructed set than the autumn one, that song invited comparison with his tune for Johnny Cash, Hidden Shame, which itself is a cousin to the suite of songs on the new album, most of which had an airing.
In among them, however, there were enough other varieties of Elvis to tickle the fancy of any fan, from the opening salvo of Blue Chair and Uncomplicated, by way of King of America's Suit of Lights and North's You Turned To Me, to the run home of older hits through Pump it Up, Shipbuilding, Alison, (What So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding, and Oliver's Army.
But although A Good Year for the Roses was sung with real feeling and a lovely loose organic When I Was Cruel benefited from the ditching of the drum machine, there was little of the visceral thrill of past gigs. That'll be our age, then.