Review of concert from 2002-10-10: St Louis, MO, The Pageant
- with Imposters
Night Times, 2002-10-11
- J. Gordon
His Aim Is True: Elvis Costello with the Imposters at the Pageant
in St. Louis
10/11/2002 2:15:25 PM
I was about 16 when I bought a vinyl copy of Elvis Costellos This
Years Model [recently re-released on Rhino]. Back then, in 1977,
Elvis Costello was an edgy, new element to punk and new wave, a quirky
retro-spazz doing something unheard of to pop music. Punks ate him up.
New Wavers ate him up. Hell, everyone ate him up.
The decades since have taken him from that darker, abrasive scene all
the way to collaborations with Nick Lowe, Paul McCartney, and Burt Bacharach.
The live 2002 tour for his latest album, which he says escaped
earlier this year, When I Was Cruel [Island Records], is a skillful,
noisy combustive chemical reaction of all of it with memorable, mesmerizing
tracks such as Spooky Girlfriend, Tart, Alibi,
and the title track.
More than 25 years after that musical celebrity debut, Elvis Costello
today might look like any middle-aged guy walking down the street. But
dont let that fool you: his voice is as strong as it was when
he was 21and he seems to fit those big black frame glasses a bit
better these days. His October 10th show at St. Louis Pageant
kept the floor dancing and the seats bouncing as he proved hes
more of a showman than ever, swaying his guitar with a dirty grin like
a bad boy exposing himself.
He lost several quarts of sweat and spit as he whole-heartedly sang
the lyrics, Ill give you anything but time,
and that was just the third song. But dont chalk that sweat up
to aging. Its more due to passion, and theres no question
Elvis Costello gives it all. The man probably loses ten pounds of water
weight after every show. (Wish I could do that.)
Hearing the new tracks from When I Was Cruel was a mind-opening event
in itself, with the Arabian Nights-esque primitive churning background
of the title track, and all those little musical touches that make you
realize he is so much more than just a pop artist. Anyone who relegates
Elvis Costello to the bouncy pop domain, for instance, has yet to hear
his sinister and obsessive stalker tune, I Want You, an
obsessive, ambivalent seduction full of tempestuous creepiness. Yikes!
I cant get enough.
Costello blew us away with songs from every age of his catalog, as
well as dipping into a couple covers including the Beatles You
Really Got a Hold On Me. He played favorites such as, Radio,
Radio, High Fidelity, Alison, Watching
the Detectives, and (Whats so funny bout) Peace,
Love and Understanding, which felt more significant than ever.
The high point of the show, however, was probably Pump It Up,
which almost blew the roof off the Pageant with the incredible burst
of energy Costello displayed feeding off the crowd.
If you werent there, I know I dont need to rub it in, but
I will anyway: Ha! Your loss.
Opener Laura Cantrell and her band performed their Country from
New York music, in the solid old style of country thats
far easier to stomach than the likes of new country artists
such as Shania Twain or Vince Gill. Cantrells Loretta Lynn-voice,
good musicianship, and sharp, biting lyrics prove shes a talent
in any musical genre. Her good looks wont hurt her career, either.
Copyright ©2002 Night Times, LLC. All rights reserved.