Glasgow Herald, July 16, 1994

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Glasgow Herald

UK & Ireland newspapers


Nostalgia trip

Elvis Costello and the Attractions / Barrowland, Glasgow

Keith Bruce

OK, Elvis, we've both changed. It's over 15 years since I climbed the stairs to Satellite City to hear these songs live for the first time. You don't spit and sneer much these days and I don't live in Edinburgh.

I've seen you every time you've been in Scotland since and each time there was always a moment that made the hairs on the back of my neck bristle. You always produced something unexpected, something new. Until this time.

There is no other way to describe much of this performance but as a nostalgia trip. Certainly there was a healthy chunk from Brutal Youth, your new album with your old cohorts, but that reunion — fine recording though it is — is really a backward step. You are now commissioned to write musicals and you work with string quartets. You are not angry any more. Well, not much.

Perhaps that wouldn't have mattered if Steve, Bruce, and Pete had been let loose on some of the material you've written since you stopped working with them, but instead we got virtually nothing from the period between the end of the 70s and the new songs (except "Beyond Belief," "Clubland," "Honey Are You Straight Or Are You Blind?)" and nothing from, say, Get Happy! at all apart from a snippet of "Clowntime Is Over."

Only an extended reading of "Clown Strike" came close to creating that familiar frisson and afterwards the chat among us die-hards was of the omissions rather than the high points. Ludicrous really, when we'd just heard the nation's best living songwriter and one of the top rockin' combos on the planet.


The Glasgow Herald, July 16, 1994

Keith Bruce reviews Elvis Costello & The Attractions, Thursday, July 14, 1994, Barrowland Ballroom, Glasgow, Scotland.


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