Newcastle Evening Chronicle, July 6, 2018

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Newcastle Evening Chronicle

UK & Irish newspapers

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Elvis Costello plays the hits at Newcastle City Hall, but with fresh twists


Simon Meechan

ELVIS COSTELLO AT NEWCASTLE CITY HALL ★★★★
The singer-songwriter mixed and matched up-tempo rock with stripped back versions of classic songs through an extensive set.

Singer-songwriter Elvis Costello has revealed he has cancer and has cancelled remaining tour dates.

Costello played at Newcastle City Hall on Monday, June 25, and impressed our reviewer with a career-spanning set.

In a statement, Costello says his doctor has advised him to take a break as he is battling a "very aggressive" cancer.

He said: “Six weeks ago my specialist called me and said, "You should start playing the Lotto". He had rarely, if ever, seen such a small but very aggressive cancerous malignancy that could be defeated by a single surgery.

"I was elated and relieved that our European summer tour could go ahead.

"Post-surgical guidelines for such surgery, recommend three weeks to four weeks recovery depending on whether you are returning to a desk job or an occupation that involves physical work or travel.

"It was impossible to judge how this advisory would line up with the demands on a traveling musician, playing 90-minute to 2-hour plus performances on a nightly basis but by the time we reached the Edinburgh Playhouse, I was almost fooled into thinking that normal service had been resumed.

"I have to thank our friends attending last night's show in Amsterdam and those in Antwerp, Glynde and at Newcastle City Hall for bearing me up.

"The spirit has been more than willing but I have to now accept that it is going to take longer than I would have wished for me to recover my full strength."

"Therefore, I must reluctantly cancel all the remaining engagements of this tour. "

Costello had not revealed he was battling cancer ahead of his City Hall show, where he played for two hours.

Here is our review, as originally published the morning after the gig.

"Four decades after releasing his debut album, Elvis Costello was back at Newcastle City Hall with The Imposters.

Not that you’d know Costello has aged 40 years, judging on the quality of his voice alone on Monday night.

Long-term collaborators and former Attractions Steve Nieve and Pete Thomas formed a tight band with Costello, while the addition of singers Kitten Kurio and Briana Lee added an uplifting injection of energy and soul.

Costello’s voice really warmed up after the opener. By the time the band kicked in to I Don’t Want to Go To Chelsea, there was no mistaking who was behind the trademark tones and little suggestion that 40 years on stage had taken much of a toll on them.

A stripped-down version of Accidents Will Happen saw Costello sing alone, with only Nieve for backing. While that’s a departure from the recorded version, it worked well mid set and showcased Costello’s ability to mix it up. He was as comfortable singing softer ballads as shredding out blues-tinged solos on his guitar.

Costello saved the bigger hits till after a short interval.

Returning on stage to play alone with his backing singers, and then with Nieve, Costello paused to introduce a song which he feels divides his crowd: his 1999 version of ‘She’, recorded for the rom-com Notting Hill.

The 63-year-old Londoner joked that half his audience hate the song, and suggested a coin toss to settle whether or not he would play it.

“Heads again,” Costello told the crowd, without looking too closely at the coin, before gently easing into the ballad, and nailing it.

The second half featured sure-fire crowd pleasers, although with some twists. Oliver’s Army began without backing, before the Imposters kicked in.

Thanking - and introducing - his band throughout, Costello closed on a very lively version of Pump It Up.

The two-and-a-half hour show had enough in it to entertain the most casual Costello fan, while tweaked versions of classics prove the multi-award winning songwriter is not content to just churn out old hits without a thought.

Costello looked genuinely pleased to be on stage, telling the crowd he loves being in Newcastle and evoking memories of his first show at City Hall 40 years ago.

If his energy on Monday night was anything to go by, it won’t be long before you can expect to see him in town again.

In his statement, Costello confirmed he is making a new record and still plans to tour in future.

On Friday, July 6, Costello's statement says he has recorded new material with the Imposters and hopes to be back on stage in the near future.

He wrote: "We will return at the soonest opportunity to play that music and your favourite songs that still make sense to us all."

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Evening Chronicle, July 6, 2018


Simon Meechan reports on the cancellation of remaining dates on the 2018 European Tour and reviews Elvis Costello and The Imposters, Tuesday, June 25, 2018, City Hall, Newcastle upon Tyne, England. 

Images

2016-04-06 Arizona Daily Star photo 01 gk.jpg
Elvis Costello, pictured here playing Switzerland in 2014, performed at City Hall on Monday.
Photo credit: Keystone/Georgios Kefalas

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