Minnesota Daily, June 10, 2002

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Elvis lives!


Kate Silver

There are the sticky floors, circulating bottles of beer, and the typical assortment of howling fans. The scene at the Orpheum Theatre really isn't far removed from the old Longhorn, the site of an early Elvis Costello appearance back in 1978. It only seems fitting that such a display could bridge a generation gap. Costello's latest, When I Was Cruel has already been hailed by both critics and fans for it's return to form; at a high-decibel range and crackling with sly social commentary and unrepentant lust. Costello even collaborates with two-thirds of the original Attractions, who join him on tour. But this is no nostalgia trip.

After running on stage to the tune of Costello's own vocals, distorted to a dancey waver, the band kicked ceremoniously into "45," which also ignites Cruel. The song is charged with a nod to the bygone days of rock, brimming with youthful promise and angst – a certain brand of pessimism which fans of Costello (also found in the work of peers such as Nick Lowe) have come to count on. They next launched into two songs from Costello's 1977 debut My Aim is True: "Waiting For the End of the World" and a dub-influenced "Watching the Detectives." The invigorated frontman gestured wildly, twirled with guitar in hand and allowed frequently for fervent audience accompaniment. He's blessed with a knack for showmanship that few entertainers still allow for. The myriad of new rock nerds he's inspired could benefit from a few notes on presentation. Sadly, due to time constraints, the evening was devoid of storytelling. The sarcastic songwriter introduced Cruel's "Spooky Girlfriend" as a "critique of show business." He further replenished This Year's Model's classics "Little Triggers" and "I Don't Want to Go to Chelsea" backed by the same synth melodies that definedhis sound 25 years ago.

After flying through numerous favorites and new gems alike, the band closed a second command encore with Blood and Chocolate's stark ballad "I Want You." A spotlight illuminating his face, Costello's quiet vocals hushed the crowd. "I want you / when you go to sleep at night / and when you wake up. I want you."

"I want you too Elvis!" a young heckler responded.

Some things never change.

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Minnesota Daily, June 6, 2002


Kate Silver reviews Elvis Costello & Imposters, Wednesday, June 5, 2002, Orpheum Theatre, Minneapolis.


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