Saturday night at R.I. College marked the end of a 60 day tour for Elvis Costello and his band the Attractions. It would have been perfectly understandable if the band lacked luster and enthusiasm. This however, was not the case.
Wearing a white Buddy Holly type suit, checkerboard tie and silver sneakers, Elvis and the band played for close to two hours (he has done a few 45 minute shows lately that have outraged fans) focusing on songs from This Year's Model and Armed Forces.
Included in his repertoire were four yet to be recorded songs. Three of these songs (especially "Opportunity" and "B Movie") had the high intensity wall of sound concept akin to "Pump it up" from his second album.
Costello played his songs rapid fire, much like the Ramones and the Clash, but with considerably more melody. (and talent).
At one point he got the crowd so fired up that the giant speakers on stage were moving from the vibrations of two-thousand fanatical cretin hoppers.
It has been printed that Elvis is basically anti-American. This was made quite clear by an oral dissertation preluding the song "Radio Radio." He contends that Americans do not have free radio a freedom of speech to voice opt and change it. He then came back with the chunky guitar syncopations of "The Beat" then with the uncharacteristic ballad "Alison" (which he rarely does anymore since Ms. Ripp-Off Ronstadt recorded it.)
While performing "Lipstick Vogue," harsh white spotlights came from Pete Thomas' drums, lending to an "E.L.P." touch.
If the show had any real shortcomings, it was in the form of absent
background vocals. This caused, certain songs to sound a bit awkward.
The opening act, the Rubinoos were a throw back to the mid-sixties pop music. They were entertaining if nothing else. The Rubinos closed their set with a song called "Rock and Roll is Dead as we know it."
The message of the evening was clear, New wave (or whatever you want to call it) has taken over the rock scene. So lets face it all you Zeppelin holdovers, this is 1979, lets enjoy it.