The reigning remnant of the British New Wave, Elvis Costello astounded an SRO crowd of rockers at The Landmark Theatre in Syracuse last night.
Relying heavily on climactic renderings of his "greatest hits" from his first two albums, Costello carefully interspersed newer, more unfamiliar numbers from his recent Columbia LP Armed Forces.
"Two Little Hitlers," with its reggae-robot beat, was the most memorable of the new tunes.
But for the clinchers, Costello reached back for "Alison," that heart-wrenching ballad of a love gone particularly sour.
When he sang the words, "I wish that I could stop you from talking when I hear the silly things that you say... I can't stand to see you this way...," Costello cranks up has whole little body, enveloping the mic like a spider and pinching up his bespectacled face with pained emotion.
"Alison" drew the audience to their feet for "Watching the Detectives," which his band, The Attractions, has worked into a hookier arrangement than what one hears on the My Aim is True album.
"It only took my little fingers to blow you away..."
It only took Elvis' magic, marvelous, murder-laden songs to inspire the 1970s. When Bruce Springsteen is still cruising 10th Avenue, Elvis will have taken us to Guyana and back again.
And that's a trip worth taking if we're gonna make it through the 1980s.
The Rubinoos, an unfortunate fill-in for originally scheduled rockabilly artist Carl Perkins, warmed up rather lukewarmly. Their one big hit is a heavy metal parody called "Catholic Girls (get Nasty)." Oh yeah, they also sang that Top 40 revival of theirs, "I Think We're Alone Now." Schlock Rock and nothing more.