In Dublin, June 17, 1983

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In Dublin

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Elvis Costello & The Attractions / National Stadium

Gerry Stevenson

It was a long wait for the return of Elvis Costello but at 8.50 the tape of the Impostor’s "Pills And Soap" ended and a healthy-looking gent in red shoes greeted his audience and launched into "Accidents Will Happen." For an hour and a half he led his fine band through a selection of numbers from most of his albums, drawing most from last year’s Imperial Bedroom collection. "Pidgin English" and "Shabby Doll" were far more immediate than the studio versions although one flaw in the whole proceedings was that Costello still does not use any backing vocals, and while his own voice is more than effective if could sometimes benefit from a little support. "Kid About It" was one of several slower songs used to punctuate the head-on proceedings but from the opening notes of "Watching the Detectives" most of the audience rushed to the front of the stage and were either too ecstatic or too embarrassed to sit down again for the rest of the concert.

The Beatlish "And in Every Home," featuring Steve Nieve's excellent synth orchestration, and a superb version of "Beyond Belief" were offset by more aggressive material such as "I Can't Stand up for Falling Down" and "Temptation." "New Lace Sleeves" and "Clubland" from the Trust album got airings before Costello brought on a four-piece horn section which provided a necessary lift and boost to the second half of the evening. They warmed up with "Possession" from the Get Happy album. "TKO" indicated, as did "The World And His Wife," that the verbal ingenuity is still working overtime but songs like "Town Cryer|Town Crier" were also enhanced by the brass boys who looked and moved like refugees from Madness.

The pace and continuity of the set was quite startling and the amount of material worked through impressive. The well-earned five-song encore included "Oliver’s Army" which even in such august company remained an outstanding song from one of the most outstanding contemporary writers and performers.

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In Dublin, June 17, 1983

Gerry Stevenson reviews Elvis Costello & The Attractions with The TKO Horns, Saturday, June 4, 1983, National Stadium, Dublin, Ireland.


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