Elvis Costello still remains something of a mystery man, with rumours abounding that not too long ago he'd been something of a computer man. Judging by the security at his recent gig in Seattle, no photos and definitely no interviews, he will remain shrouded in secrecy for some time to come. However his appearance at the Paramount before a sold out crowd only served to strengthen his position as one of the top songwriter performers to emerge this decade.
After a disastrous set by Rubicon (subbing for Talking Heads) who were booed off the stage, Costello and the Attractions received an uproarious welcome as they came on. No messin' about, guitars plugged in, then straight into a rousing version of "Mystery Dance" that had the crowd on its feet. Costello is no poser, he's deadly serious about what he's doing, his body held rigid as if wracked by some inner torment. Although he seldom moves from a stubborn stance in front of his mic, Costello emotes more than just performs. His eyes looming into the crowd, desperate for someone to understand.
The Attractions provide one of the tightest little combos to grace a stage anywhere. Despite the fact that the band used only minimal equipment, they tore the place apart. One of the high spots came during "Watching the Detectives," when Costello let his guitar drop to signal the band to take it right down: then in a series of spasmodic jerks Costello fell to his knees gripping the mic traumatically (the crowd lapped it up) as he stuttered out the lyrics. Costello featured mostly cuts from their forthcoming album, the material was strong and leaned a little more towards rock.
As the band finished their last song and made a hasty exit the house lights came on and a large black curtain was lifted to reveal roadies scurrying about among the packing cases; obviously we weren't getting the encore we demanded. However as despair turned to disgust Costello came charging back for just one more time.
Elvis is undoubtedly one of the most successful performer to emerge from Britain's New Wave, judging by his commercial potential and the ecstatic crowd that night Costello is going to be huge.