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).