Las Vegas Sun, March 25, 2005
Costello rides tide of raves,
Can Elvis Costello deliver another five-star performance?
Last time he played The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel, in July 2003, the British rocker earned that perfect review grade from the Las Vegas Sun.
He returns to the venue tonight, armed with another critically acclaimed album, The Delivery Man.
That September release, hailed by many as Costello's best disc since the 1980s, generated Grammy nominations for Best Rock Album and Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal.
Costello also earned Grammy nominations for two tracks from movie soundtracks: "Let's Misbehave" from De-Lovely and "The Scarlet Tide," a song co-written by Costello and performed by his wife, bluegrass musician Alison Krauss, in Cold Mountain.
Costello is also preparing to release a live DVD, Club Date: Live in Memphis, on April 19.
The concert recording, culled from a 2004 show, features Costello and his three-piece band, the Imposters, along with country vocalist Emmylou Harris, who guested with the group on three numbers.
Serious Costello fans might also be interested in an expanded edition of The Delivery Man issued March 1. The new version includes video footage and a bonus disc of unreleased studio sessions.
Alt-country singer-songwriter Tift Merritt, a Texas native who grew up in North Carolina, opens tonight's show.
Who: Elvis Costello & The Imposters.
Where: The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel.
When: 7 tonight (doors).
Tickets: $40, $65, $75.
Opening act: Tift Merritt.
Latest release: The Delivery Man (2004, Lost Highway).
Album feedback: "The record wound up not as a concept album, but as a conceptual album, one that is inspired by the South ... The story of 'The Delivery Man' may have faded away, but working within its framework has inspired Costello to craft his most consistent, unified rock & roll record in many, many years." (All Music Guide, four stars out of five); "Not that Costello has made an album of Delta blues or Sun Studio rockabilly: 'The Delivery Man' is his idea of Southern music, a blend of pedal steel-drenched country and 'Dusty in Memphis' professionalism. But it sounds best when it's at its most casual." (6.8 out of 10).
What to expect: An emphasis on material from The Delivery Man, though Costello typically does a fine job plucking gems from his catalog. If recent shows are an indication, he could play virtually anything from his 21 studio albums.
Recent set list: Fillmore Auditorium, Denver, Saturday: "Big Tears," "Uncomplicated," "Lipstick Vogue," "Radio Radio," "Country Darkness," "Needle Time," "Hidden Shame," "Blame it on Cain," "Either Side of the Same Town," "(I Don't Want to Go to) Chelsea," "Clubland," "Our Little Angel," "Tonight the Bottle Let Me Down," "Kinder Murder," "When I Was Cruel No. 2," "Watching the Detectives," "The Delivery Man," "Monkey to Man," "Button My Lip," "Mystery Dance," "Why Don't You Love Me (Like You Used to)?" "There's a Story in Your Voice," "Pump it Up," "Mystery Train," "Alison" / "Suspicious Minds," "Hurry Down Doomsday," "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love & Understanding?" "The Scarlet Tide." (from fan site www.elviscostello.info).
Tour feedback: "Throughout the night, he paired that voice with extended guitar workouts that never would have come from him in the early years. Costello has apparently tapped his inner Guitar God, and rambunctious solos popped up regularly throughout the show." (Salt Lake Tribune, Salt Lake City, Utah); "Too often, Costello and his band, the Imposters, stuck close to the recorded versions, not stretching things out or messing with arrangements." (Star-Telegram, Ft. Worth, Texas).
Says Costello: "I have been over-praised at times and underrated at others. I've been through that cycle about 15 times, so I don't lose a lot of sleep." (The Times, England, February).
Las Vegas Sun, March 25, 2005