Record Mirror, December 6, 1986

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Record Mirror

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Elvis Costello

Royalty Theatre, London

Jim Reid

Elvis' suit tonight has a bit of room. No tight mod job this, but certainly no expansive Fifties number either. Just comfortable. His shirt, however, blue 'n' white striped if I remember right, is buttoned right up to his throat. Stiff. And his face is contorted.

This is how Elvis looks as he and the Attractions pump their way through the awkward, angst driven dispatches of the Armed Forces and This Year's Model albums. Right from the start, this is not so much a concert as a 15 round bout. The whole of EC's career marched out for inspection.

It's a typical Costello move. As the Eighties have seen his music move further away from mainstream success, his audience has grown older with him. Tonight there was plenty of property talk in the foyer and plenty of people ready to pay homage to 10 years of very fine times.

It could have been cosy, but Costello is never one to pander to anybody's complacency. What was happening here was a re-appraisal of the man's music: the early pop successes rushed along and buffeted by Steve Nieve's keyboard swell, the painful lyrics spat out with conviction. The Attractions moving easily through familiar numbers, but always ready for Elvis to twist a tune into a new shape.

At times it was all a little bit frantic and, for such a small theatre, perhaps a touch too loud. The audience were never quite comfortable in their memories. And maybe that's no bad thing, for when Elvis slips into his obsessive new single, "I Want You," one realises that his music has come full circle. The next step may be painful.

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Record Mirror, December 6, 1986


Jim Reid reviews Elvis Costello & The Attractions, November 23, 25, 27, or 29, 1986, Royalty Theatre, London, England.

Images

1986-12-06 Record Mirror page 29 clipping 01.jpg
Clipping.

Cover.
1986-12-06 Record Mirror cover.jpg

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