Sometimes less isn’t more, it’s just less. Still, Elvis Costello managed to pack a plenty of good into his truncated Mondavi Center show last week.
While the seat usher promised a two-hour set, Costello’s performance barely clocked in at 90 minutes, but there was little else to complain about as the venerable pop singer-songwriter, armed only with guitars, deconstructed a handful of gems, stripping songs such as "Alison," "God's Comic" and "The Angels Want to Wear My Red Shoes" down to their beautiful, naked essentials.
At one point in the evening the 56-year-old singer, born Declan MacManus, jokingly lamented that “at this point in my life I thought I’d be playing a stage with my name in lights behind me.” As the singer stood on stage, surrounded only by a lineup of guitars, this was of course a reference to his showy rock ’n’ roll namesake. Still, although Elvis Presley has sold more records, it’s Costello who continues to make music that’s at once classic and modern.