Elvis Costello and the Imposters, Royal Court Theatre
Feb 17 2005
By Adrian Butler, Daily Post
IT WAS as if he had been charging at the mains for 48 hours.
Elvis Costello bounded on stage, bounced around a bit, grabbed his guitar, bounced around a bit more, grabbed the microphone - and you knew here was a man with the energy of a class of eight-year-olds.
Dressed in orange specs, buttoned-up suit and pink tie, and looking like a cross between Bono and, well, Ronnie Corbett, Costello was beaming at the prospect of playing the city he grew up in.
Backing him were the three-piece Imposters and nine (yes, nine) guitars.
At one point, he looked to be yelling at someone offstage for not bringing him the right one. You felt sorry for the man - you'd need a Ph.D. in mid life crises to be able to tell them all apart.
But together, the 54 strings helped Costello's tight band knock out a meticulously rehearsed set.
It wasn't all easy going. Costello has always been his own man, so this was never going to be a run of greatest hits - in fact, it would have taken a die-hard fan to know every song that was played.
But there were plenty of lyrics we all knew. Classics like Oliver's Army, (I don't want to go to) Chelsea and Watching the Detectives came every 10 minutes or so and the audience loved them.
Then something unique happened. As Costello started playing Shipbuilding, the hall went silent.
One by one the crowd started singing along, until you knew that everyone have written the song out from memory.
It was a special night for Costello, and you could still hear his scouse accent as he told the audience how his band has started off playing in a singles bar where they were ignored.
"This is a song from a record called The Delivery Man," he began, about to play a song from his latest album.
"Five pints of gold top please!" someone from the second row shouted out.
"I've waited all this time to come to Liverpool to hear that joke," said Costello