Talent knows no age. At 59, Elvis Costello shows no signs of slowing down. After a summer touring Europe with The Impostors, and a September filled with television appearances and concerts in support of a new album with The Roots entitled Wise Up Ghost, that included a blowout release party at the Brooklyn Bowl to rave reviews, the prolific Mr. Costello is spending most of November playing solo gigs throughout the Northeast. The first such tour in over a decade.
Mr. Costello clearly enjoyed the limelight and detailed splendor of The Capitol Theatre, a perfect match for his vaudevillian sensibilities. The stage was outfitted with a massive "REQUEST" sign, a vestige from "Spectacular Spinning Songbook" tour. A consummate storyteller, Mr. Costello introduced most of the songs with a personal note, touching upon the people who influenced him like his grandmother in "Last Boat Leaving," his wife Diana Krall, before "Walkin' My Baby Back Home," and his father, who he said "turned paisley" on him in the 60s. The weave between ballad and banter was magical.
The songs themselves are on poetic level. Phrases like "dressed up like dice" from "Ghost Train," or "she pulls the eyes out with a face like a magnet" from "Watching the Detectives," are classic lines that stick in the brain. Who can forget, "When you find strange hands in your sweater, When your dreamboat turns out to be a footnote," in the song that changed his world, "Everyday I Write The Book." His wit is endless and the humor is perfectly strange.
Towards the end of evening when he knew he had won everyone's attention, Mr. Costello tested the fine acoustics of the Capital Theatre by singing a rendition of "The Scarlet Tide," without amplification. It rang out beautifully. He closed the concert masterfully with "The Puppet Has Cut His Strings." The show was all about peace and levity or as the troubadour says of the puppet…
"Free at last from earthly things
He's dancing on the ceiling
With a showgirl in a feather dress
Time is meaningless