|The Elvis Costello
Review of concert from 2003-07-05: Ottawa, Ottawa Bluesfest,
Main Stage - with the Imposters
Watching the master
Costello one cool cat on a hot tin Bluesfest stage
Elvis Costello must have been getting tired of nervy concert-goers shouting out song titles from his 26-year catalogue.
When he played Toronto's Hummingbird Centre Wednesday night and had suffered enough of those antics, he politely told the crowd "we don't do requests."
But judging from the 48-year-old singer's masterful 90-minute performance at the Ottawa Bluesfest Main Stage last night in front of another packed Festival Plaza, he sort of does.
Because he had rejigged his set list enough to launch into I Hope You're Happy Now for an upbeat opener and further placate with hits Everyday I Write the Book and (The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes third and fourth from the top.
HOT AND SUCCESSFUL
It was a classy, not-entirely-without-blues capper to a hot and successful Day 2 of the festival that saw 23,600 through the gates.
Clad entirely in black and with his trademark yellow-shaded horn-rims, Costello was all business for the set, wearing a frequent wry, half smile, tossing out a few Thank You Very Much-es and teasing the crowd by stepping up to the mike and then quickly moving away.
"I'm doing just fine," he shot back at one point to a fan who inquired. "Like to hear a new song?"
The new tune was a beautiful ballad called Either Side of the Same Town, and though it's not listed on his website, fans can only hope it will show up this September when Costello releases his 24th album, a piano-heavy ballad offering dubbed North.
Listening to Costello belt out lyrics of loneliness and heartbreak -- "It's hard to act like strangers when we used to be so strong" -- when his romance with Canadian jazz diva Diana Krall has been so well-publicized provided another interesting layer.
The crowd loved this masterful performer most when he was wailing on his guitar and bringing things down during a jazzy, snap-your-fingers version of Watching the Detectives, even when he briefly shushed them for being too noisy.
SING IT AGAIN
He inspired during another hit Pump It Up and when the audience failed to sing the chorus back to him during their first chance, this cool-as-a-cat performer didn't hesitate to give them a second chance.
Even when his voice is cracking, as happened more than once last night, Costello is one cool dude.
He held an appreciative crowd absolutely spellbound while weaving from painfully honest Deep Dark Truthful Mirror into Smokey Robinson's You Really Got a Hold On Me and then right back to Mirror before leaving the stage for the first time.
A five-song encore brought the show home, with Costello belting out a few more satisfying hits like Alison and (What's Funny 'Bout) Peace Love and Understanding.