Hardly surprising that, after an 18 month lay-off, Declan and the lads should choose to re-emerge in live form amid the relative obscurity of Denmark's "premier rock festival."
Any criticism I've had of Costello over the years is that he's never been able to shape his music in any form specifically his own, and so has never quite recaptured the spirit and direction of those first albums. Perhaps recognising this, he now appears to have taken the group back to the point at which they started — those spectacles included.
Coming across like amphetamine-crazed punks, Costello And The Attractions raced (and I do mean raced) through a set that included most of the first two albums, plus tenser, faster, more raw versions of King Of America material and tracks from the forthcoming Blood & Chocolate LP. Significantly, all of these new songs sounded as if they would have fitted in nicely to those first two albums.
Of the new songs, the Booker T-ish "Little Kitten" (guess who?), the melodic "Blue Chair" and the acerbic "Honey, Are You Straight Or Are You Blind?" sounded the most promising. Highlight of an evening packed with good things though was a knife-edge "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood," an altogether clearer, more confident version than its lifeless counterpart on record.
The final impression was that it was as if the last few years had never happened. It's good to have him back — even if it's a pity he chose a tent in Denmark for his reappearance, rather than somewhere a little more accessible to the folks who've missed him at home.