New Musical Express, July 16, 1994

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NME

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Elvis Costello

London, Royal Albert Hall 

Johnny Cigarettes

So the beard is on the barber's floor, the orchestra have gone off touring Siberia, the craggy old Attractions have crawled out from under Ford Escorts and all is forgiven.

But our Ely simply can't bring himself to ditch all the baggage of high-art pseudery. So we're at the Albert Hall, not the Forum or (if only) TJ's. It shows, if not in the band's performance, in the overwhelmingly polite and reverent atmosphere in the audience (it's certainly not a "crowd"). And so when Elvis wails wonderfully through "Radio Radio" as if he's auditioning for These Animal Men, the decorum is threatened only by a couple of slightly bobbing heads in the front row.

But hell, ignore them. You can sit and gawp at a mean, vein-rupturing Costello tearing his heart out more thrillingly than he has for five years. And for once we're willing to let him do some new songs. The difference, of course, is that "London's Brilliant Parade" would fit easily onto Imperial Bedroom rather than on some cringesome performance on The Late Show, and even "Sulky Girl" is worthy of a hits compilation. But this is a man who can also reprise his past glories without embarrassment or repackaging for the Ikea generation (and their spouses) here tonight.

It means that "Shipbuilding" is still a lesson in how to be political, personal and heart-twisting at once, "Deep Dark Truthful Mirror" is introspection that is classically resonant, and "Man Out Of Time" brutally poignant. The flip-side of that bruised soul is the pure stomping swagger of "Pump It Up" and "Lipstick Vogue." And the ultimate proof is the six rapid fire encores he plays to leave us sweating the nylon off our seats.

Revelationary, of course. Now all he has to do is play a few more gigs at a proper rock venue with no seats and and we'll bow down and worship the second coming.


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New Musical Express, July 16, 1994


Johnny Cigarettes reviews Elvis Costello & The Attractions, Wednesday July 6, or Thursday July 7, 1994, Royal Albert Hall, London, England.

Images

1994-07-16 New Musical Express page 30 clipping 01.jpg
Clipping.

1994-07-16 New Musical Express cover.jpg 1994-07-16 New Musical Express page 30.jpg
Cover and page scan.

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