Bergens Tidende, April 6, 1998

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Bergens Tidende

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Frode Bjerkestrand

Elvis Costello surprised most of the assembled on the final day of Vossajazz. His concert at Voss Idrettshall last night was a fantastic journey through an equally fantastic songwriter-career. Best of all, Elvis was in great shape, both musically and verbally. The sharpest and most intellectual side-commentator in rock has, thank God, had the wit to stay far away from the big-rock-format and he manages really well as a cabaret-act.

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One of rock's greatest ironical artists is still like he used to be. The Rolling Stones have inflatable women, and U2 have a gigantic TV-screen, and I ? I have this torchlight... Costello proclaimed to a packed Voss Idrettshall last night. Thus, making his beautiful ballad Alison, performed in the dim light of a 25W lightbulb, the highlight of the concert. That this song could be so stunningly beautifully performed 22 years after it's first edition is simply quite unbelievable. There's always reasons to be sceptical when middle-aged entertainers of Costello's magnitude embarks on a nostalgic-tour, but he manages to breath new life into these great old songs of his, not least thanks to the collaboration with piano-player Steve Nieve. Costello in 1998 is nearer to cabaret than to rock and roll, and Elvis' new approach makes him so much less pathetic than other superstars at his own age. When Costello opens with Why can't a man stand alone it's touching. He has taken good care of the near-desperate expression in his voice, and he sings with a mighty power and vibrating pathos. Not least in the way he still sings about the delightful Veronica. At the same time he's capable of quieting it all down to the extent that you just have to listen. Elvis Costello delivered a kind of intimate-vaudeville over his extraordinary songwriting career, a career which most certainly is not over by far. In addition to this, he presented the audience with a teaser of what we might expect when he enters the studio with King of kitsch, Mr.Burt Bacharach, this summer.

In fact, God give me strength almost sounded like a somewhat sarcastic plea before going on to this new task..... It was great to find out that Elvis Costello is STILL one of rock's greatest wordsmiths. A very good concert. Very !!!!


Bergens Tidende, April 6, 1998

Frode Bjerkestrand reviews Elvis Costello and Steve Nieve on Sunday, April 5, 1998 at Vossajazz, Voss, Norway.

Translated into English by Sverre Ronny Saetrum


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