Daily Pennsylvanian, March 18, 1987
Costello, 'King of America', to reign
Elvis Costello, the self-proclaimed King of America, is scheduled to perform in the Class of 1923 Ice Rink on April 26.
With his producer Nick Lowe as the opening act, Costello's solo appearance represents the fulfillment of a long-standing desire of the Penn Union Council, which has been trying to bring Costello to the University for several years. The expense of the Costello concert has forced PUC to sacrifice all other possible concerts this semester.
Outgoing PUC Concerts Co-Chairman Jeff Kaplan said that Costello would severely tax PUC's finances.
"We got him by offering him a lot of money," Kaplan said last night. "Notice that PUC has no other shows this semester."
But for Elvis, Kaplan said, no sacrifice was too great. "Everybody in PUC has always wanted to do this," Kaplan added.
PUC Chairman Rob Rosenheck was not available for comment last night. Outgoing PUC Concerts Co-Chairman Steve Fallek said last night that the group is "psyched" for Costello and Lowe to appear in concert.
"This is the kind of double bill that doesn't come around often to a college campus," Fallek said.
The 5000-seat concert will be restricted to University students, faculty and staff, though guest tickets will be available. Fallek said that tickets will go on sale sometime in the next two or three weeks.
According to Kaplan, the ice rink will be one stop on Costello's tour of about 20 colleges.
Renowned for his ever-changing renditions of standard songs and covers, Costello has no live albums on the market and usually draws large crowds to his concerts. He last appeared in Philadelphia on tour for his newest album, Blood and Chocolate, at the Tower Theater in October. Before that he performed solo in Philadelphia, with Lowe, in 1984.
Known as one of Britain's "angry young men" when he started Out Costello was hailed as new wave when his first album, My Aim is True, appeared in 1977. He has been accumulating a dedicated American following ever since with albums like Armed Forces, Get Happy, Trust, and Almost Blue.
Behind the glasses and slicked-back hair, the diminutive Costello is famed for his vocal passion and driving guitar style. His lyrics explore the human condition in songs about sex, love, guilt and social concerns with almost intellectual complexity.
Some call Elvis progressive and new wave, while others love his rock and roll, blues and country songs.
WXPN disc jockey Dave Maier said that Costello's early work had more impact than his more recent albums.
"He was labeled as punk then, but in 1977 anything short, hard and fast was punk," Maier said. "Now he's a kit more mainstream, more blues and country. Now to say he's punk is just stupid. He's a traditionalist."
Nonetheless, Costello was the first "new wave" artist in America to have an album go gold, with This Year's Model. He has since experimented with a number of eclectic styles.
College senior Jonathan Lebowitz, an avid fan, said Costello is really "starting to branch out" in new directions.
"Now he's getting really into theatrics onstage," Lebowitz explained, referring to the innovations of Costello's three October concerts in Philadelphia, which included a "spinning songbook" wheel spun by audience members during the show.
Fallek sounded ecstatic in his anticipation. "What more do I have to say? It's Elvis. The Legend."
All tickets to the concert will cost $12.50.
The Daily Pennsylvanian, March 18, 1987
Photo by Keith Morris.