Liverpool Echo, July 23, 2002

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Liverpool Echo

UK & Irish newspapers

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The big top player whose aim is true


Mike Chapple

As a demonstration of power this was a blistering home town gig from the adopted Scouser.

A mere four-piece of Elvis, former Attractions Steve Nieve on keyboards/melodica and Pete Thomas on drums, plus bass player Davey Farragher, surely didn't have the fire power to fill the Big Top.

But they did, and just like a mighty gas burner turned up full blast inside a hot air balloon, they rose to the occasion with Nieve pumping out a full catechism of soundtrack aromatics more akin to the John Barry Orchestra.

It was worthy backing for a man possessed, who can still snarl with the intensity of someone to keep a wide berth from on the last drunks' train home from Central station.

With an astute eye he balanced the old crowdpleasers — "Watching the Detectives," "I Don't Wanna Go To Chelsea" — with the new, "Dust" and "Spooky Girlfriend" from the latest album When I Was Cruel being especially noteworthy additions to the mammoth Costello canon.

Never have songs about guilt, blame, betrayal and emotional obsession sounded so good, delivered in that stylised but so very individual yearning voice that stayed pitch perfect through two hours-plus of non-stop heavy exercise.

He even made time for some good natured song introductions spliced with cutting remarks about Tony Blair and George Bush. The most ironic cheer, however, came when this most fanatical of Reds fans claimed he was tempted to play Todd Rundgren's "I Saw The Light" in tribute to Gerard Houllier's decision to give Lee Bowyer the bum's rush.

He didn't, but other classics did follow and when he returned for the first of a clutch of encores including a spine-tingling "Almost Blue" and a beautifully extended "Alison" there surely wasn't a dry eye in the house, sorry, tent.

This was thoughtful, contemporary pop music at its very best and if the Liverpool manager had witnessed it he would have deemed that this was indeed a player at the very height of his game.

Owned by or licensed to Trinity Mirror Plc 2002

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Liverpool Echo, July 23, 2002


Mike Chapple reviews Elvis Costello & The Imposters, Monday, July 22, 2002, Kings Dock, Liverpool, England.

Images

2002-07-23 Liverpool Echo photo 01.jpg
Photos.

2002-07-23 Liverpool Echo photo 02.jpg


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