Friday, Apr. 24, 1987 — 9 O'clock ...zzzzz... What does this mean? It means that one (probably more) Elvis Costello fan was bored — at his concert.
I thought WOW! PPB brought Elvis here to Oswego! Great! Psyched! I was so happy, ecstatic even. Then to go and... Well it goes like this...
I arrive and Nick Lowe is playing. Then about 9:00 out comes this smoothly dressed guy decked out in a gray jacket, black shirt and black trousers. His background is like a playroom. It had a small TV, a slide screen, projector, stools with a bar, a teddy bear and an umbrella.
Costello opened with "Angels Want to Wear My Red Shoes." After he finished he said, "Good evening and welcome to my world... (he pointed to his umbrella with countries all over it) You are here!" (Pointed to... I guess Oswego?!)
After this quaint and amusing episode, Costello proceeded to show slides of "My Holiday-Inn Pictures... World of Travel." He made several witty comments for his slides and generally egged the audience on for approval.
He then played several long, long ballads. If you weren't a Costello fan then forget it — you were lost in Never Never Land. Such ballads he played, accompanied by just his guitar were, "DTS" and "Pull Him Out of the Cold, Cold Ground."
At this point. I was getting pretty restless. My friend and I went to the bathroom about four times, walked around — if we didn't keep moving we would have fallen asleep.
Costello tried to make conversation with the audience often but unfortunately the next question he asked only pertained to about 15 percent of the audience, he said, "I know you people in Oswego are art connoisseurs, right?" Well, only approximately 15 percent were SUNYCO students — the rest were from who-knows-where.
Anyway, Costello brought out a small music box. He opened it and "canned" music seeped out. He closed it and the music stopped. He opened it and it began once again, he placed it down and began playing the first upbeat music of the night — FINALLY. Accompanied by this synthesized beat Costello woke up his audience.
After switching to an electric guitar Costello began "Inch by Inch." Everyone was awake now, and started clapping to the beat. The audience sang lines for him. But then the song dragged on and on.
Costello switched his guitar again. He went back and forth between the two guitars all night. But, regardless of that, he now played a slow, mellow, long ballad. Now I'm thinking, this is pathetically ridiculous! I want him to play more upbeat, more Costello goodies! I felt bad for those people who were dragged there as dates! It must have been utterly boring! So what does he do? He plays a Beatles song! A Beatles song! I came to hear Elvis Costello and he plays a Beatles song . Now, don't get me wrong. I love the Beatles, but there are still about seven or eight Costello songs I would have liked to have heard more! It was, however, a good Beatles song, "Hide Your love Away."
At about this point I walked out. I couldn't handle this downbeat stuff anymore. It was depressing me! Even the security for the concert, who were seated next to the huge speakers were falling asleep. Now that's bad.
After a while — a long while, I came back in. He had left the stage, but soon to return. I don't know that you'd consider it an encore because he never said goodnight. He played one more slow song and left the stage. The stage crew then brought out a small tyke's drum set.
About five minutes later, Costello returned. This time, he was a carnival barker. He shouted a few lines and pointed to what would soon be revealed... "The Hits Wheel." This is a huge carnival with colors and light. On each space was one of his greatest hits. He sent his "helpers" into the audience to retrieve two lucky people to help him out. Up on stage came an unfamiliar guy and an unfamiliar girl. They each requested a song and got to "spin the wheel." She requested. "Alison." Well, he sat them down on the bar stools and played the song. It was great! Now I was getting back into the concert.
Afterwards, he got two more excited people up there with him. They requested songs and he played for them and asked them to go "into the go-go cage." This was an old booth with beads hanging down — like they had in go-go bars. The two went into the booth and danced while he played yet another song.
Finally, they sat down. Out of these past four "volunteers" none were students at Oswego! Believe it? Then Costello got too more volunteers and a volunteer drummer. Yes, a drummer for the little drum set. This drummer was actually a student here! He played a song with her accompaniment and then sent all three into the go-go booth! With the three of them in there, he closed the show with "Pump it Up." And while he blared this great tune, the three girls danced up a storm inside the booth. With this he ended the night on the upbeat, which I guess made a lot of people leave in a good mood. It was a great ending, but it took two hours to get. Oh well.