I wish Elvis Costello would smile. Just to show he's enjoying it as much as us. Okay, so at first we didn't stand up and create a riot as he wanted. But that wasn't our fault. Every time someone as much as twitched they were asked not to move or to get back to their seats — but is the grimace on Elvis' face just a pose that he thinks he should live up to?
The image, the pose, the straight suit. No flashy extras. Good songs, good music and a good show is definitely what you get. The only thing he'd treated himself to since his earlier days is an excellent lighting system. It's one of the best I've seen without using enormous effects or laser beams. The lighting engineer was spot on (oops) all the time.
The only complaint I have is that I was stuck right up the very back, way into the gods, and Elvis' vocals got lost on some of the numbers. But the Attractions have never been better. America has knocked off the rough edges.
Don't go to one of Elvis' gigs expecting anything else but music, because all you'll get are the songs and a few introductions. "Accidents Will Happen," "Red Shoes," "Watching The Detectives," "I Don't Want To Go To Chelsea," "Pump It Up" and a few from his new album, Armed Forces. No fits, no stops, no busts. The red spotlight lights up his face throughout the set, dragging out the devil in him. Spitting out the words as though they were the last he's going to utter. Bitter but sweet.
He did one encore, "Radio, Radio" he could have done more. I hope he wasn't disappointed in us. I smiled at the end, because Elvis didn't. It's what I expected of him. Miserable bleeder.
Supports were Richard Hell And The Voidoids, who went straight underneath me. They were the pits.
John Cooper Clarke opened the evening. He's cut his set to about 20 minutes, left in the good stuff and he got the applause he deserved, even got an encore. I could have done with more of him and less (a lot less) of Richard Hell.