Brandeis University Justice, October 15, 1998

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Elvis Costello: The MixFest crowd pleaser
makes for-musical 'Memories'

Eric Korman

For the 1996 soundtrack to the movie Grace Of My Heart, Elvis Costello and Burt Bacharach, two giants of the songwriting world, teamed up to write and record "God Give Me Strength." They enjoyed their collaboration (as did others. the song was nominated for a Grammy) to such a great extent that the pair decided to record an entire album together Now, the result has appeared.

Painted From Memory includes some amazing work. "God Give Me Strength" is included, along with 11 other piano and orchestra pieces, sung by Costello in some of the most impressive vocal performances of his career. The emotional lyrics, mostly dealing with the pain of relationships, paired with the complex melodies allow for some extremely powerful songs. It also makes many of the tracks sound as though they are taken from musicals. Stand out songs include "Toledo," a song about a lover attempting to disclose an indiscretion and "The Sweetest Punch" relating a lover's quarrel to a boxing match.

Elvis Costello also played Mix 98.5's Mixfest in Government Center on Saturday. An audience of faithful fans came out to see him in the rain. He played his songs on an acoustic guitar (although he did switch to electric for a few tunes), accompanied only by a piano. Steve Nieve, the keyboardist for Elvis' former backing band the Attractions, was the accompanist. This guitar and piano arrangement allowed Costello to offer a different interpretation of his songs.

He played a few songs from Painted From Memory: the aforementioned "Toledo" as well as a song of similar subject matter "I Still Have That Other Girl." But, he also reached as far into his back catalog as his first album, 1977's My Aim Is True, for a few tracks including "Less Than Zero" and "Watching The Detectives." Most of the classic songs translated into this new setting well. When the recorded version required a second voice to sing backing vocals, as on "(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes" and "Talking In The Dark," the audience supplied the extra singing. Some of the songs required few changes for this setting, such as his signature hit "Alison." However, the reworking of "Veronica" was interesting and successful. Unfortunately, "Everyday I Write The Book," was not as great. Overall, his performance was exceptional, offering a mixture of classic tunes, new songs and lesser-known gems.

Toward the end of the show, the rain picked up and people began to put up umbrellas, thoroughly annoying those behind them. As people began yelling at each other Costello launched into his well known version of Brinsley Schwarz's "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace. Love and Understanding," ending the concert on a decisively ironic note.

GPA: (Album) 3.6
GPA: (Performance) 3.5


The Justice, October 15, 1998

Eric Korman reviews Painted From Memory and reports on EC's concert with Steve Nieve, Saturday, October 10, 1998, WBMX Mix Fest, City Hall Plaza, Boston.


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1998-10-15 Brandeis University Justice pages 32-33.jpg
Page scans.


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