Four years ago, it could hardly be imagined that a hornrimmed, angry little man named Elvis Costello would be able to sellout a 10,000-seat arena. But he did just that here Jan. 10 though he hasn't sacrificed much of the bristling persona that brought him to prominence in the first place.
Opening with the ballad "Shot With His Own Gun" (highly reminiscent of Springsteen's 'Point Blank"), and accompanied only by the piano of Steve Naive, Costello and his three-piece backup rocketed through a 24-song, 90-minute set.
While Costello is known for such hyper rock songs as "Radio Radio" and "You Belong To Me," he is at his best on the slow, r&b-edged numbers such as "Shot With His Own Gun," "Alison" and a couple of new songs from his upcoming Trust album. The audience, however wanted to rock and come alive on such foot-stompers as "Pump It Up," "l Can't Stand Up For Falling Down" and "Watching The Detectives" (on which he threw in a bit of Stevie Wonder's "Master Blaster").
To his credit, Costello isn't as antagonistic to his audience as he used to be, though he still doesn't have the friendliest stage manner. Unlike in the past, he didn't ruin a good show by storming off stage because of some real or imagined fault.
A&M's Squeeze, in its 45-minute, 14-song set, meshed uptempo rock with English art school sensibilities and came up with a winning formula. The quintet overcame the massiveness of the arena with hook filled songs, a decent sound system and an outgoing stage presence.