Elvis is alive and well and performs tonight at the Paramount Theatre in Oakland.
OK, not THAT Elvis. But rather Elvis Costello of New Wave/rock/pop/you-name-the-genre fame.
Costello is touring with the Attractions in support of their newest album, When I Was Cruel.
The son of British bandleader Ross McManus, Costello (born Declan McManus) worked as a computer programmer during the early '70s, performing under the name D.P. Costello in various folk clubs. In 1976, he became the leader of country-rock group Flip City.
He went New Wave/punk in the latter part of the '70s producing angst-ridden and dripping-in-sarcasm songs. With the Attractions in 1977, he began releasing albums that were critically acclaimed. The fans liked Costello as well having snatching up millions of his records and pushing such songs as "Watching the Detectives" and "Alison," from his 1977 debut album, My Aim Is True, "Pump It Up," and "Radio, Radio," from 1978’s This Year’s Model album, Costello’s second release, and an expose of cathartic wit.
The artist showed his taste for irony and his ability to write smart, reflective songs in later recordings, although sarcasm has always remained his trademark.
The quirky artist had hits through the '80s with "I Write the Book", in 1983, "The Only Flame In Town," a song performed with Daryl Hall in 1984; and "Veronica," a 1989 hit he collaborated on with Paul McCartney.
Costello was less of a hit maker in the last decade of the 20th Century, but he far from resting on his laurels. Turning more toward experimental projects, Costello went the chamber music route in 1993 when he recorded the Juliet Letters – a song sequence for string quartet and voice – with the Brodsky Quartet. He took a unsuccessful stab at making TV theme music for the British show, Grievous Bodily Harm in 1984; and two recordings that featured songs penned by Costello but previously recorded by other artists.
Additionally, he has performed with Burt Bacharach and the Chieftans, respectively, on records.
In 2001 was in residency at University California, Los Angeles, where he performed several concerts and was instrumental in teaching music during the year.
Tickets for the 7p.m. Costello show are $45 - $£55. For more information, call (415) 421-8497.