After his triumphant appearance here last November, Elvis Costello fans have been anxiously awaiting the Englishman's return. Last Tuesday Elvis and the Attractions sold-out Zellerbach auditorium on the UC-Berkeley campus and the snake-eyed new waver worked his spell once more.
Opening with "Romeo and Juliet," from his last, and so far, only lp, My Aim Is True, (on CBS Records) Elvis and his band of three (organist, drummer, bass) whipped through familiar tunes and previewed songs from his upcoming record.
Dressed in a neat, narrow-lapelled suit and tie, Elvis looks like an unlikely candidate for stardom, and his stage mannerisms — standing pigeon-toed, suffering an occasional twitch — are not of the type to elicit screams and frenzy from a crowd. Yet, when he stopped singing for an instant, while the band carried on behind him, and just eyed the audience, letting the tension build, the crowd began to yell and holler. It was almost painful: we wanted the resolution to that song.
That is just one of Costello's tricks. He gears up to an incredible pace, the tension is so strong it feels like the band is going to snap, while Elvis's vocals are propelling them on, but never does he let the tension slacken.
Near the end of the show Elvis yelled "I didn't come 12,000 miles just to watch people sitting down," and with that the crowd willingly got to its feet and remained on them for the rest of the show. They brought the King of new wave back for two encores, one of which was the hell raiser, "I'm Not Angry."
Unfortunately, his new record will not be released for at least another three or four months because his record company is still working the last one. In England I expect it will be released shortly, so if you just can't wait, you can probably pick up an import copy at Berkeley's Rather Ripped Records, or Aquarius Records in San Francisco.