Las Vegas Sun, July 18, 2003

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Hard Rock’s chief attraction: Elvis Costello


Spencer Patterson

He probably won't perform any weddings, but Elvis will be back in the building tonight in Las Vegas.

Of course, in this case we're talking about the "other" Elvis, singer/guitarist Elvis Costello. The recently inducted Rock and Roll Hall of Famer plays The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel at 7 p.m.

Backing the 47-year-old Costello will be his band, the Imposters. Two of the three musicians — keyboardist Steve Nieve and drummer Pete Thomas — were in Costello's original band, the Attractions.

Bassist Davey Faragher completes the lineup these days, in place of Bruce Thomas, who has been on the outs with Costello since Thomas published a tell-all book, The Big Wheel, in 1991. Faragher formerly played with Cracker.

In March, Costello and the Attractions were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, 25 years after the quartet collaborated on Costello's second album, 1978's This Year's Model. Bruce Thomas was present, but did not join his former mates for their performance.

Costello also took part in an all-star tribute to deceased Clash frontman Joe Strummer at February's Grammys, joining Bruce Springsteen, Dave Grohl and Steve Van Zandt for a scorching version of "London Calling."

Costello will release the follow-up to last year's critically acclaimed When I Was Cruel, titled North, on Sept. 23. Rhino Records also plans to continue its massive Costello reissue series with three more expanded editions — Get Happy, Trust and Punch the Clock — later this year.

Former Black Crowes frontman Chris Robinson opens tonight's show.

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Las Vegas Sun, July 18, 2003


Spencer Patterson profiles Elvis Costello ahead of his concert with The Imposters, Friday, July 18, 2003, The Joint, Las Vegas, NV.







Who: Elvis Costello.

Where: The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel.

When: Tonight, 7 p.m.

Tickets: $45, $65, $75.

Opening act: Chris Robinson.

Personnel: Elvis Costello (vocals, guitar), Davey Faragher (bass), Steve Nieve (keyboard), Pete Thomas (drums).

Latest release: When I Was Cruel (Island, 2002).

Album feedback: "When I Was Cruel is a collection of tough tunes and textures that recalls — but doesn't recycle — the records that endeared him to his earliest admirers." (Rolling Stone, 4 stars); "In a way, When I Was Cruel is a companion to U2's All That You Can't Leave Behind — a late-period return to form by an act that wandered off the path presumably for good." (Entertainment Weekly, A).

Essential releases: My Aim is True (1977), This Year's Model (1978); Armed Forces (1979), Get Happy (1980), Imperial Bedroom (1982).

What to expect: Costello doesn't perform "Greatest Hits" concerts, but he does rotate his most beloved songs — "Watching the Detectives," "Alison" and "Radio Radio" among them — through his set lists regularly. Surprisingly, he hasn't been playing much off either upcoming album, North, or 2002's When I Was Cruel, sticking mostly to material from his 1970s and '80s releases.

Recent set list: FleetBoston Pavilion, Boston, Saturday: "Waiting for the End of the World," "Beyond Belief," "Radio Radio," "Sulky Girl," "Everyday I Write the Book," "Everybody's Crying Mercy," "Clubland," "Clown Strike," "Complicated Shadows," "Miracle Man," "Just About Glad," "Either Side of the Same Town," "I Can't Stand Up for Falling Down," "Uncomplicated," "Watching the Detectives"/"Your Funeral and My Trial," "Pump it Up." First encore: "Deep Dark Truthful Mirror"/"You Really Got a Hold on Me," "Sweet Dreams." Second encore: "I Hope You're Happy Now," "Tear Off Your Own Head (It's a Doll Revolution)," "Man Out of Time," "Shipbuilding," "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding?" (from fansite www.elviscostello.info).

Tour feedback: "Over the course of a two-hour set ... they were unrelenting in the search for a new way to present a well-known track and recalled the prominence of some of Costello's deeper album cuts." (Boston Globe); "The results were mixed the few times he tried to goose up the evening. The concert's overall tempo shifted so often it left fans unsure if they should be on their feet or in their seats." (Washington Times).

Previous Las Vegas appearances: May 29, 1999 (The Joint); May 24, 2002 (The Joint).

Says Costello: "You might as well just admit that radio has nothing to do with music anymore — it's in the advertising business. There's a real skill to programming in an intelligent way, but nobody does that anymore. It's all done by computer, by committee. Radio is absolutely the enemy of music. They are my sworn and mortal enemy, and I will have nothing to do with them." (Rolling Stone, February).

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