Good, Bad And Ugly, March 2, 2015

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Good, Bad And Ugly
  • 2015 March 2



Elvis Costello & The Attractions

Lane County Civic Center

S.P. Clarke


...To that point I had seen none finer, but for Elvis Costello and the Attractions in Eugene at the Lane Country Civic Center in February of 1978 (which was a life-altering event).

My interaction with Elvis had been quite a bit different. There was a strange vibe in the church-like Lane County Civic center. Talking Heads had been co-billed, but bailed on the gig at the last minute. So it was left to Elvis to carry the show, with only the non sequitur Eugene band the Hotz to serve as openers. The Attractions had been touring the U.S. relentlessly since the previous October (including their infamous Saturday Night Live performance in December of 1977). So I would say they probably knew what to expect.

There was a small "dance floor" in front of the very modest stage, which stood perhaps a foot and a half high. What was really odd is that the only inhabitants on the dance floor were a bunch of guys who were dressed just like Elvis: horn rims, snug suit coat, tight jeans, skinny ties. Except for me, I didn't look anything like Elvis Costello, maybe more like Tom Petty with wire rim glasses, or John Denver. They all stood in a half circle about twelve feet from the stage, with their hands in their pockets, gawking awkwardly up at their role model.

That wasn't my style so I did what I usually did. I walked right up to Mister Costello at the mic, who, given the low stage and his modest stature, stood barely taller than I. He was singing "(I Don't Want To Go To) Chelsea." I stood right in front of Mister Costello as he sang, attempting to grok his shit. To suss him out. To see what made him tick. What made him special. Elvis put up with me standing well inside his comfort zone, staring at him, for about a minute, before he dodged away from the mic, ran behind drummer Pete Thomas and hid back there for an extended guitar solo. And he didn't come back out until after I vacated the vicinity. I don't know what that was all about. Shy, I guess. Or he didn't want me stealing his secrets. Maybe he didn't like John Denver. I'm not sure.

Tags: Lane County Civic CenterEugeneOregonThe AttractionsThe HotzTalking HeadsSaturday Night LiveTom Petty(I Don't Want To Go To) ChelseaPete Thomas


Good, Bad And Ugly, March 2, 2015

S.P. Clarke recalls Elvis Costello & The Attractions and opening act The Hotz, Thursday, February 9, 1978, Lane County Civic Center, Eugene, Oregon.


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