The only real whinge had by some of the almost-full audience at Elvis Costello and the Attractions' concert at the Canberra Theatre on Wednesday night was that they did not give enough.
The reaction, by the look of the audience during the performance, seemed mixed. Of course, many people dancing up front of the stage and in the aisles certainly "got off" on it.
At least four hefty security guards lined the front of the stage, but I don't know what they were expecting; Canberra audiences are less belligerent and more couth than Sydney ones and besides, Costello would have kicked anyone who tried to get up on stage.
But the concert lasted for a mere 50-odd minutes and about 10 songs, off Costello's My Aim Is True and This Year's Model. Though the brevity of it all was rude, it was planned that way. But let's face it, Costello's idea of delivering the goods is to give it to us straight cut, no waffling between numbers or mucking around.
I'm sure he could have extended the actual time of the concert by about 20 minutes by chatting or whatever between the songs, but this sort of performance does not warrant that.
At least Graham Parker and the Rumour came back for several encores, which shows he isn't all that stuck up, and gives some value to an expensive concert.
The venue, in my view, was inappropriate. What was needed was a large dance floor or hall; just space for people to move around and dance to this brand of high-energy music.
Costello is the angry young man of the English new wave — power pop and he shows it in his performances, wearing a repressed aggression expression. The only time I caught him half-smiling was when he introduced "This Year's Girl," saying it was for the "girls in the audience."
The highlight of the show, I thought, was the power display by drummer Pete Thomas — lean and lanky but he sure has dynamism to spare. He gave it all he had, reflected by his sweat bouncing off the snare drum.
The overall sound was poor and sometimes distorted, the mix was bad.
Support band, and one of Australia's best rock and roll groups, Jo Jo Zep and the Falcons, put in their usual strong performance.