Elvis Costello brought down the house Thursday night at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts with a triumphant three-hour romp that almost resembled a Bruce Springsteen concert (from what I've heard of the Boss's efforts.) Costello soaked his blazer in the hit-stocked performance with his band, The Imposters, which includes keyboardist Steve Nieve and drummer Pete Thomas from the old Attractions, but a new base player.
The show covered the whole arc of Costello's career, from "Alison" to "Josephine," from his new album, National Ransom, which he played alone on stage. During the show Costello's assistant, a buxom woman, at intervals selected guests, mostly lovely women, to come up from the audience and spin a giant wheel labeled with his hits. He played everything from "Girl Talk," to "Shipbuilding," and a song I've never heard, "Turpentine." He even covered the Beatles' "Girl" and Prince's "Purple Rain."
Then when the Imposters launched into "(I Don't Want to Go to) Chelsea," Elvis just invited the crowd to the stage. I couldn't resist: that must be one of the best new wave rock songs ever, so, still dressed in my shirt and tie from work, I joined all the aging rockers on the stage, writhing around as my hero belted out: "They call her Natasha but she looks like Nancy." My wife, who had bought us the tickets as an early birthday present for me, was slightly shocked: "You looked like you were having an epileptic seizure," she said. Didn't we all in the early 80s?