Colby College Echo, April 13, 1989

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Colby College Echo

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Music better than gimmicks

Bill Kupinse

"Trust me on this one, Elvis. There'll be a giant satin heart on stage. You'll introduce yourself as your alter-ego Monseigneur Napoleon Something-or-other and you'll carry a devil's pitchfork. One of the roadies will dress in a wolf suit and roam the audience, looking for young girls to bring on stage. The girls will choose scrolls from the heart and on each scroll will be written a 'deadly sin' — you know — a gag. You'll say 'Mary has chosen the sin of doing lunch,' or something like that. Then the girl gets to pick what song she wants to hear. Trust me, Elvis. It'll be a big hit. The kids will love it."

As ridiculous as it may seem, this conversation, or something akin to it, apparently did take place between Elvis Costello and his manager previous to his tour of small colleges. Saturday night's sold-out concert began well enough as Elvis launched into songs from his latest album Spike (currently number two on the college charts), interspersing the new material with earlier hits such as "Watching the Detectives" and "Veronica." Despite the handicap of playing without the Attractions, Elvis managed to fill the gymnasium with only his acoustic guitar and his distinctive voice. The three cover tunes that he sang — among them the Beatles' classic "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away" — were a welcome surprise. The two songs he performed with opening act Nick Lowe went over well and provided some variety to the sight and sound of the solo Elvis.

During the latter half of the show, the sentiments of the audience seemed torn between applause for Elvis' performance of his well-known hits — such as "Alison" and "I Write the Book" — and groans for his theatrical buffoonery. His wolfman routine became increasingly tiresome; in fact, the last two girls dragged to the stage asked to see the song-list, as they could not think of any of Elvis' songs which had not already been played.

Despite this, most who attended Saturday night's concert said they enjoyed the show. Elvis Costello's "sin" was not that of a bad performance, but of foolishness. He would have fared better had he talked less and just played his music.


The Colby Echo, April 13, 1989

Bill Kupinse reviews Elvis Costello, solo and with Nick Lowe, Saturday, April 8, 1989, Colby College, Waterville, ME.


1989-04-13 Colby College Echo page 05 clipping 01.jpg

Photo by Lawrence McGrath.
1989-04-13 Colby College Echo photo 01 lm.jpg

1989-04-13 Colby College Echo page 05.jpg
Page scan.


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