Portsmouth News, November 4, 1994

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Portsmouth News

UK & Ireland newspapers


Delivering quality in quantity

Barry Rutter

Elvis Costello
Portsmouth Guildhall

"Pills & Soap," "Veronica," "Peace In Our Time," "New Amsterdam"...

Most songwriters would kill for material of this calibre, but Elvis Costello could afford to discard these four — and loads more — because he has so many other classics to choose from.

Whole albums (like Blood & Chocolate or Trust) were left untouched despite a one-and-a-half-hour set just oozing with quality material.

The bulk of the songs came from this year's Brutal Youth and (strangely) This Year's Model, which is now 16 (yes 16!) years old, but the join was seamless — the old material stood the test of time, while the new proved that this particular songwriting genius has lost none of his touch.

"Watching The Detectives," which would probably make the all-time Top 20, was 'thrown away' just four numbers in, but it didn't matter because there was so much more to come.

Costello is perhaps best known for his witty puns and more than that — he makes stunning social observations ("Girls Talk"), he really knows what it's like to be hurt ("Alison"), he can be acidly pointed ("Oliver's Army"), and, hell, he can even make country and western sound good ("Good Year For The Roses").

In addition to all this, he takes political poignancy to a higher level than just about anyone else, and there was something spine-tinglingly eerie about hearing "Shipbuilding" (a searing indictment of the human cost of economic decline, and surely in the all-time Top 5) on the very day that the last ship was launched on Tyneside.

The man returned for three encores, but if we'd waited until we had heard every great song he ever wrote, we'd have been there until well into the early hours.


Portsmouth News, November 4, 1994

Barry Rutter reviews Elvis Costello & The Attractions, Thursday, November 3, 1994, Guildhall, Portsmouth, England.


1994-11-04 Portsmouth News clipping 01.jpg


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