St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 11, 2002

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Elvis Costello fills set at Pageant with
old and new classics

Brian Q. Newcomb

Elvis Costello remains a "Man Out of Time," but Thursday night's show before a Pageant packed with the faithful found the singer/songwriter successfully mixing gems from his catalog of alternative rock classics with the best material from his latest disc, When I Was Cruel.

Clean cut and looking lean in black, the enigmatic artist kicked things off, literally, with "I Hope You're Happy Now," followed by what would have been Cruel's first single if rock radio still responded to artists like Costello, "Doll Revolution."

Only occasionally pausing to tell a story, Costello led his crack band, The Imposters — keyboardist Steve Nieve and drummer Pete Thomas of his long-time band the Attractions, along with bassist Davey Faragher, from song to song, maintaining an amazing momentum. The 16-song main set zig-zagged from older works like "(I Don't Want to Go to) Chelsea," "Less Than Zero," "I Can't Stand Up," and "Man Out of Time" to strong newer songs "Spooky Girlfriend," "45," and "15 Petals."

With the focus so squarely on the songs, it's worth mentioning that Costello is a fine guitarist, and Nieve is one of the most interesting keyboardists on the modern scene. This band rocked and stepped back with restraint when appropriate, but mostly, thanks to the potent rhythmic thrust of Thomas, just rocked.

More obscure works like "The Judgment," "High Fidelity" and "Little Triggers" were given just as much space as fan favorites. Turning acoustic at the end of the first hour, Costello closed out the set proper with "New Amsterdam," "Tart," and "Deep Dark Truthful Mirror," which featured a brief tangent into "You Really Got a Hold on Me."

The first set of encores started with a lengthy "When I Was Cruel," with Costello playfully toying with the song's rhythm loop. "Beyond Belief" was lush, and "Clubland" meaty, while "My Mood Swings" served up the quirkiness of the Big Lebowski soundtrack from which it came. "Complicated Shadows" led into Costello's most popular song, "Alison," which ambled through "He'll Have to Go" before honoring the Other Elvis with "Suspicious Minds."

Returning again with "Alibi" and "Brilliant Mistake," Costello revealed that he is indeed a brilliant craftsman, an energetic performer and someone who makes few mistakes. Fan favorites "Watching the Detectives," "Peace, Love & Understanding," "Radio Radio" and "Pump It Up" followed as the energy rose and fans sang along. But Costello closed the show with the artful drama of "I Want You," an intense, somewhat psychedelic rocker, proving yet again that this Elvis' aim is still true.


St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 11, 2002

Brian Q. Newcomb reviews Elvis Costello & The Imposters, Thursday, October 10, 2002, The Pageant, St. Louis, MO.


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