Review of concert from 2004-02-26: NYC, Beacon Theatre - with Steve Nieve & the Brodsky Quartet
- Jane Elizabeth (thiswheelsonfire)
Elvis Costello, Steve Nieve and the Brodsky Quartet
Live at the Beacon Theater
Thursday, February 26
Tonight was a singularly spectacular night. I ended up getting a front row center upgrade from the second row ticket I had purchased during the on-line pre-sale, and there was never a question it was worth every effort.
The evening began as I went to meet Ken from Toronto who had responded to my post on the Costello list about my extra ticket. He had flown in just for the show with some friends and had wanted an upgrade himself. Next was a chilly walk up to the Beacon from Midtown, making a quick stop in the Park for a smoke. Arriving a bit too early and feeling somewhat inappropriately dressed for Donald Trump's Whiskey Bar, I elected to spend some time browsing Barnes and Noble and caffeinating instead.
Closer to show time, I headed back to the Beacon and walked right in with no lines or security hassle or anything like that. An usher asked me if I knew where I was going after he looked at my ticket--I just smiled and said, "I know *exactly* where I'm going - thanks!" From there I went straight to the front where I found that my seat was actually an extra chair set in the aisle. No problem - perfect view, plus I could tap and sway without causing the whole row of chairs to as well. I think the woman to the right of me may have gotten a raw deal on the view - her seat was a lot lower to the floor than mine, and she was sitting directly in front of the monitor, so that was that...
Seated to my left was Mike Wolf, who is an equally devoted Elvis fan but is lucky to have been seeing him for quite a bit longer than I have. It's always nice having someone who appreciates what's going on in the near vicinity, but you can't count on it - some day I'll post a rant about bad crowd experiences, number one being me against six in the third row at Simon and Garfunkel in Wilkes-Barre last fall. I will say one thing though - turn off your GD cel phones, people - jeez...
Precisely at 8:20pm, Elvis and Steve walked on. Thanks to Costello News and The Elvis Costello Home Page for the prompt set list:
2. Green Shirt
3. Home Truth
4. No Wonder
5. The Long Honeymoon
6. This House Is Empty Now
7. Pills and Soap *
8. You Left Me in the Dark *
9. Someone Took the Words Away
10. Rocking Horse Road *
11. Real Emotional Girl (Randy Newman) *
12. You Turned to Me *
13. Fallen *
14. God's Comic
15. (What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace Love and Understanding
16. Sleep of the Just
17. Man Out of Time
18. Either Side of the Same Town
19. When It Sings
20. God Give Me Strength
21. When Green Eyes Turn Blue *
22. Still *
23. Can You Be True? *
24. My Mood Swings *
25. The Birds Will Still Be Singing *
26. Almost Blue *
27. I'm in the Mood Again
28. The Scarlet Tide
29. You'll Never Walk Alone *
30. Pump It Up
31. Dark End of the Street
* with the Brodsky Quartet
A very satisfying set list and an auspicious number of songs. Quite a few made me weepy (Green Shirt, Rocking Horse Road, Real Emotional Girl, God's Comic, etc. etc.) but I managed to hold it together for the most part. Elvis came very close to the edge of the stage right in front of us earlier in the set, but I couldn't tell you which song - I was completely captivated by the whole experience, and his sparkly shoes which I think he said he bought in Nashville. I can't wait to hear this God's Comic again. I've been in love with the Mill Valley 1989 recording since the first time I heard it, but we got our own special narrative tonight and audience participation was encouraged. Real Emotional Girl was fantastic - I always enjoy his choice of covers, like Town Hall's I Still Miss Someone.
While Elvis and Steve's acoustic simplicity was amazing, everything with the Brodsky Quartet was quite beautiful too. They did their arrangements of songs from North, and accompanied on a few others that ended up sounding very intense - Pills and Soap and My Mood Swings were unreal. I shouted out Shot With His Own just to be a little obnoxious right before Almost Blue, but no go. By Pump It Up, the front row was on their feet at the rail - I said to myself, "Don't look back..." and luckily no one behind us complained. Someone took the words away, but Mike and I agreed that this was, in short, a total victory.
On the way out I ended up getting a North tour shirt with the album cover photo on the front. I like that photo a lot, and it reminds me of this one of Patti Smith I like too:
They both have that meatpacking district look. In the meantime, the shirt served as a makeshift muffler while I waited outside the stage door with about 50 other people afterwards. I never got into that kind of fan behavior before, but that changed after Town Hall. The timing was such that after purchasing North at the Time Square Virgin MegaStore (it was released that day), I happened to be walking back past the venue right when Elvis was coming out. It all played out like some sort of spontaneous Zapruder film in my mind, but it was a lot of fun so I figured, why not wait this time?
Unfortunately, the temperature is quite a bit cooler now than it was then, and the wait longer, but the reward was richer. First, I saw Martin Scorcese come out, so that was pretty cool. I resisted the urge to yell out, "Hey Marty, who you callin' a mook?" I heard that Robert DeNiro was there too, but I didn't see him myself. Then finally Elvis. At Town Hall, there was some applause and he stopped very briefly to sign autographs, but otherwise he was whisked away pretty quickly. This time was different - it took me a few minutes to realize he had even come out by the way he was standing there patiently talking to people and taking pictures and signing autographs for quite a long time.
When it seemed like he really was staying, I ventured across for a closer look and then reached into my pocket for my ticket stub for him to sign. Then it occurred to me to have him sign one of my red shoes. So I took it off and handed it to him and said, "Elvis, will you please sign my red shoe?" He walked right over and said, "How are you doin' tonight?" in his toothy, grinny kind of way that made me grin right back. I said, "I'm doing great, thanks very much." He signed my shoe right when he was done, a voice yelled from the crowd, "Way to go, Jane!" I turn to see who I think is Ken looking over and I give him an enthusiastic wave. It was perfect. So I just put my shoe back on and ran up the street laughing in search of a cab to whisk myself away on this very high note.
Elvis promises to be back later in the year with "surprises" - can't wait! -lsol 2/27/2004 01:09:59 AM