LehighValleyLive.com, November 24, 2013

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  • 2013 November 24

US online publications


Elvis Costello digs deep,
delivers stellar solo performance in Easton

Dustin Schoof

Elvis Costello did not have to spend two hours playing the hits to prove his mettle as a singer, songwriter, storyteller, musician and entertainer Saturday night at the State Theatre in Easton.

He just did what came natural.

The bespectacled guitarist — dressed sharply in a dark gray suit and matching fedora — seemed at ease, and at home, playing to a packed house in an intimate, acoustically tailored room that suited his still strong and booming voice.

Costello strayed from playing the expected; he spent the first of his three sets unearthing and dusting off lesser-known material, such as "King Horse" from 1980's Get Happy!!, "Wave a White Flag," "White Knuckles" and 2004's "Either Side of the Same Town," off of The Delivery Man.

An early highlight was a punchy run through "Sneaky Feelings," an often-overlooked gem from his groundbreaking 1977 debut album, My Aim is True. Halfway through his first set, Costello busted out his 1983 single, "Everyday I Write the Book," which he jokingly said he hated. (The audience, on the other hand, loved it.)

Costello later showed that he was more than just an angry New Wave-punk poet — at one point recalling growing up a third-generation musician — by incorporating the bluesy folk standard "Walkin' My Baby Back Home" (a tune originally dating back to 1930) and a cover of Bing Crosby's "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?" into his performance.

He made sure to touch on nearly every corner of his career — taking the audience on a musical journey going as far back as 1979 with a powerful rendition of "Accidents Will Happen" to 1986's "Lovable" (from King of America) and all the way up through 2010's "A Slow Drag with Josephine" (from the album National Ransom).

Costello's guitar skills remain unsurprisingly impressive and impeccable. He still knows how to entertain and glean applause and appreciation from his fans with only a couple of acoustic guitars, two electric six-strings and a microphone.

For his first encore, Costello dropped a haunting, distortion-washed version of the reggae-tinged "Watching the Detectives." He followed it up with a slightly reworked version of his early hit ballad "Alison," which he used to segue into a cover of Bobby Charles' "I Hope."

He returned on stage for a third time for a longer encore. He started off fast and hard with a fiery one-two punch of "Green Shirt" and "(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes."

Costello then wound down, closing out the night with the moody "Tripwire," which bled into a snippet of "(What's So Funny 'bout) Peace, Love and Understanding"; following it up with "If I Could Believe."

He ended the night on the keyboard for two slower numbers: "For the Stars" and "The Puppet Has Cut His Strings."

The change in instruments was more evidence that Costello is much more than a prolific and talented singer-songwriter. He is a chameleon of musical talent, whose weekend stop in Easton proved he doesn't have to play by the book to get appreciation and respect from his fans.

Tags: State Theatre Center For The ArtsEastonKing HorseGet Happy!!Wave A White FlagWhite KnucklesEither Side Of The Same TownThe Delivery ManSneaky FeelingsMy Aim Is TrueEveryday I Write The BookWalkin' My Baby Back HomeBing CrosbyBrother, Can You Spare A Dime?Accidents Will HappenLovableKing Of AmericaA Slow Drag With JosephineNational RansomWatching The DetectivesAlisonBobby CharlesI HopeGreen Shirt(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red ShoesTripwire(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding?If I Could BelieveFor The StarsThe Puppet Has Cut His Strings


LehighValleyLive.com, November 24, 2013

Dustin Schoof reviews Elvis Costello, solo, Saturday, November 23, 2013, State Theatre Center For The Arts, Easton, Pennsylvania.


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