Cleveland Plain Dealer, August 13, 1989

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Singer's aim proves true during boffo Nautica show

Michael Heaton

Elvis Costello with The Rude 5
Nautica Stage, Cleveland

Elvis Costello presented the show of the year, if not the last two years, Friday night at Nautica, performing more than 30 brilliant songs in 2½ hours with his six-man band, The Rude Five.

Playing songs from a variety of albums including My Aim Is True, This Year's Model, Armed Forces, Trust, King Of America and his latest LP, Spike, Costello, nee Declan MacManus, led the band through a non-stop set that was nothing less than Homeric. The few artists who have the catalog that Costello boasts lack the stamina and/or desire to play the way he did Friday night.

Beyond the sheer numbers of songs, Costello and the band (which included Attractions drummer Pete Thomas, guitarist Marc Ribot and percussionist Michael Blair from the last Tom Waits tour) performed highly detailed and inventive arrangements that gave evidence of extensive rehearsal sessions. The angry Cole Porter of the post-Dylan generation, Costello is obviously a talent too large to be seen with any proper perspective after only two decades of work. His importance and impact undoubtedly will be huge.

He took the stage in an oversized black suit looking like a cross between Johnny Cash and Buddy Holly's bad-mannered little brother, opening with "Accidents Will Happen" from Armed Forces. He changed directions constantly throughout the set, moving from the cabaret-styled narrative of "Brilliant Mistake" to the powerful dark indictment of the British justice system, "Let Him Dangle," to the heavily orchestrated hot Latin rhythms of "Clubland."

Ribot and Blair provided the 10-cent, tin horn ambient vaudeville sound that colors so much of the new record Spike. "Miss Macbeth" from that album had the chorus that sounded as if it came from some creepy carnival from hell.

Costello did an acoustic solo set midway through the show that featured some of the evening's best offerings in a slower vein, like "Radio Sweetheart," "New Amsterdam," which segued seamlessly back and forth into the Beatles' "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away," "The Angels Wanna Wear My Red Shoes" and "Everyday I Write the Book." The show combined the latest and greatest of Elvis as well as a complete retrospective of his work.

Costello accomplished the evening's Olympian task with the good grace and humor of a friendly pub singer. He talked to the audience and thanked the band repeatedly while changing half a dozen guitars, acoustic and electric, between songs.

The second encore, which included "Veronica," "Mystery Dance" and "Pump It Up," allowed the audience to finally cut loose and dance in the aisles. It was all the Elvis you could ask for.

Tags: Nautica StageClevelandOhioThe Rude 5Pete ThomasMarc RibotMichael BlairAccidents Will HappenBrilliant MistakeClublandLet Him DangleMiss MacbethRadio SweetheartNew AmsterdamYou've Got To Hide Your Love AwayEveryday I Write The Book(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red ShoesVeronicaMystery DancePump It UpMy Aim Is TrueThis Year's ModelArmed ForcesTrustKing Of AmericaSpikeDeclan MacManusThe AttractionsTom WaitsCole PorterBob DylanJohnny CashBuddy HollyThe Beatles

Copyright, 1989, The Plain Dealer. All Rights Reserved.

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Cleveland Plain Dealer, August 13, 1989

Michael Heaton reviews Elvis Costello with The Rude 5, Friday, August 11, 1989, Nautica Stage, Cleveland, Ohio.


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