Berlingske Tidende, January 24, 2005

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Berlingske Tidende

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En aften med Elvis


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   Thomas Søie Hansen

Det var den ustoppelige spillemand, den runde mand uden den store vrede, Elvis Costello viste frem i Vega under en fin men langt fra uforglemmelig koncert.

Kloge Elvis, skarpe Elvis, spillemands Elvis. Elvis, Elvis, Elvis. Man bliver aldrig træt af det navn.

Vist har Elvis Costello fyldt halvdelen af sit produktive karriereforløb med eksperimenter grænsende til det pinagtige. Men når han er god, så er han i reglen både fremragende og unik. Det var han dag også i glimt foran et publikum på 1.500 i København.

Lille, firskåren, gemt bag jakkesæt og solbriller med orangefarvet styrkeglas. Ingen hat denne aften — men masser af guitar, masser af rock, punket beskidt blues og møskønne ballader.

Ustoppelig var han sammen med sine gamle kumpaner, hvoraf tangentbokseren Steve Nieve i lange perioder overstrålede sin chef. Det var ikke småting, den arkitektlignende wizard lavede af minimalistiske fills, af store dundertunge klangflader og alt der i mellem. Ikke for børn og ikke noget man i dag overhovedet bruger tid på — den slags har man computere og tilhørende programmer til. Nieve er en mand af en svunden tid. Men hvilken tid.

Nyere materiale som den seneste og langt fra uefne The Delivery Man-skive var der bunkevis af i Vega. Tilmed lidt for meget, men Elvis ville spille. I mere end to timer plus de to timer han brugte til at spille sig varm under lydprøven. Generøst delte han ud af sit katalog, hvorfra traverne (det er kærligt ment): "Radio Radio, "(I don't want to go to) Chelsea" og især "Watching the detectives" naglede sig fast under huden natten ud. Stor kunst fra en lille mand sunget med et organ, som hele verden med rette misunder.

Sådanne højdepunkter var der desværre for få af den aften, som i sin helhed aldrig blev hverken uforglemmelig eller decideret magisk.

Og så kommer man ikke udenom hage nummer to: manglen på ungdommens vrede. Costello er, og sikkert godt så, blevet et rundere menneske med årene. Men en gennemført punket, beskidtspillende Elvis er og bliver dén rigtige Elvis i nostalgikerens bog. Og ham mødte man alt for sjældent denne aften.


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Berlingske Tidende, January 24, 2005


Thomas Søie Hansen reviews Elvis Costello & The Imposters, Saturday, January 22, 2005, Vega, Copenhagen, Denmark.

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An evening with Elvis


English translation thanks to Copenhagen Fan

It was the unstoppable musician, the round man without the great anger that Elvis Costello exhibited at Vega, during a fine but far from unforgettable concert.

Smart Elvis, sharp Elvis, Elvis the musician. Elvis Elvis Elvis. You never get tired of that name.

Elvis has filled half of his productive career with experiments verging on the embarrassing. But when he is good, then he is both outstanding and unique. He was indeed that, today in front of an audience of 1,500 in Copenhagen.

Short, square and hidden behind a suit and with orange tinted sunglasses. No hat this evening, but a bunch of guitars, a bunch of rock, punky, dirty blues and beautiful ballads.

He was unstoppable with his old cronies, although a number of times overshadowed by his piano player Steve Nieve. The architect looking wizard created minimalist fills, giant clanging sounds, and everything in between. Not kids stuff, and not normally things that one would use a lot of time on to learn – one has computers and other programs that can handle that type of stuff. Nieve is a man of a forgotten time. But which time?

There was plenty of newer material, like the most recent and far from bad The Delivery Man record, maybe a little too much, but Elvis wanted to play it. For more than two hours in addition to the two hours he used to warm up during the sound check. He generously drew from his catalogue, where standards (positively meant) like "Radio, Radio," "(I Don't Want To Go To) Chelsea" and especially "Watching The Detectives" got under one’s skin throughout the night. Great art from a little man sung with an instrument that the rest of the world rightfully is in envy of.

Such highpoints were there unfortunately too few of this evening that in its entirety was neither unforgettable nor decidedly magic.

Then you can’t overlook snag number 2: the missing youthful anger. Costello is surely gotten softer during the years, but a more totally punkish and dirty playing Elvis IS and will always be the REAL Elvis, nostalgically seen. We saw way too little of this man tonight.


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