Newcastle Journal, November 13, 1999

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Newcastle Journal

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Elvis goes back to basics

Elvis Costello / Newcastle City Hall

Howard Walker

The last time I saw Elvis Costello play live, I have to confess it was a real disappointment.

It was when he was touring again with the reformed Attractions and I had eagerly anticipated hearing some of the best songs of the last 20 years. But what I got was a band who were all over the place and an impression that this was an unhappy ship.

What a difference a few years makes. The 1999 model of Elvis is a vast improvement and was lapped up with unbridled pleasure by an ecstatic crowd.

Costello was accompanied only by keyboardist Steve Nieve in a semi Unplugged arrangement. And this two-piece arrangement seemed to suit the singer down to the ground.

But it was the songs which really stood out. Stripped down to the bare essentials, the likes of "Alison," "Accidents Will Happen" and "Good Year For The Roses" positively gleamed with Costello's powerfully tender voice reaching real heights.

He was also unafraid to tinker with well-known and well-loved songs. He turned "Green Shirt" into an intriguingly odd piece of electro pop and added a bit of latino spirit to "Clubland."

No less than four encores included the delights of "Oliver's Army" and "Pump It Up," a beautiful She and a striking version of Shipbuilding. For the final song, Costello even sang without a microphone and got the whole crowd joining in as well.

"We've been away too long, we'll be back soon," he vowed. Let us hope so.

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The Journal, November 13, 1999


Howard Walker reviews Elvis Costello with Steve Nieve, Friday, November 12, 1999, City Hall, Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

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1999-11-13 Newcastle Journal page 07 clipping 01.jpg
Clipping.

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