Staffordshire Sentinel, November 24, 1994

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Staffordshire Sentinel
  • 1994 November 24

UK & Ireland newspapers


Watching the professionals

Steve Tilley

It has been a very good year for Elvis Costello — his last LP was hailed as a major return to form and he teamed up again with one of rock and pop music's greatest combos — The Attractions.

Elvis Costello has not had a top 20 hit single since 1983, yet Wolverhampton's Civic Hall was bursting at the seams on Tuesday when the likeable Liverpudlian came to town.

His single "Pills and Soap" reached number 16 in June 1983 yet since then his critically acclaimed music has fallen on deaf ears as far as the hit-buying public are concerned.

Ask any Costello fan and nine out of 10 will tell you he was at his best when he was backed by The Attractions — arguably one of rock 'n' roll's greatest combos.

The album Spike, although warmly received, was without the said three-piece group as was the overlooked Mighty Like A Rose. Neither album set the world alight.

Meanwhile the early nineties saw Elvis taking a largely unappreciated musical artistic excursion with the classical Brodsky Quartet.

Fortunately this year he teamed up again with The Attractions and released the excellent album Brutal Youth — widely hailed as a major return to form.

Elvis and the band also rediscovered their passion for touring and have spent much of the year on the road, including an excellent Saturday night headline slot at Glastonbury Festival.

At the Wolverhampton show this Tuesday Costello fans were taken on a two-hour tour of his greatest hits.

The Attractions, Pete Thomas on drums, Bruce Thomas on bass and Steve Nieve on keyboards, provide excellent musical backing to frontman Elvis.

Their musical skills are superlative and their blend of technical ability and artistic feel for Costello's great songs are a joy to the ears.

Many artists with extensive back catalogue material stubbornly refuse to play their crowd-pleasing classics and insist on shows packed with newer — often inferior — material.

But not Costello. He unashamedly pulls out many of his greatest hits in between tracks from the latest album.

The new tracks stand up pretty well alongside the older classics and the crowd of around 2,000 greeted every song with rapturous applause.

There are no fancy stage sets, no lights or pyrotechnics.

This is a simple no-nonsense session of pure quality music from Costello's 1977 hit "Watching The Detectives" through to 1994 songs like "Pony St," "Kinder Murder," "13 Steps Lead Down," "Clown Strike" and new single "London's Brilliant Parade."

All are well received, but of course the older songs from LPs such as My Aim Is True, This Year's Model and Imperial Bedroom get the loudest roar.

Songs like "Chelsea," "I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down," "A Good Year For The Roses," "Man Out Of Time," "Beyond Belief," and "Shipbuilding," all pass the test of time with flying colours.

The admittedly slightly older audience loved every minute and Costello and the boys were shouted back for four encores. It was here that Elvis obliged with his biggest hit "Oliver's Army" and the standard "Pump It Up."

A superb show from one of Britain's greatest singer-songwriters backed by a classic rock combo.

Tags: Civic HallWolverhamptonThe AttractionsPete ThomasBruce ThomasSteve NieveBrutal YouthPills And SoapSpikeMighty Like A RoseThe Juliet LettersThe Brodsky QuartetGlastonbury FestivalWatching The DetectivesPony St.Kinder Murder13 Steps Lead DownClown StrikeLondon's Brilliant ParadeMy Aim Is TrueThis Year's ModelImperial Bedroom(I Don't Want To Go To) ChelseaI Can't Stand Up For Falling DownGood Year For The RosesBeyond BeliefMan Out Of TimeShipbuildingOliver's ArmyPump It Up


Evening Sentinel, November 24, 1994

Steve Tilley reviews Elvis Costello & The Attractions, Tuesday, November 22, 1994, Civic Hall, Wolverhampton, England.


1994-11-24 Staffordshire Sentinel page 27 clipping 01.jpg

Page scan.
1994-11-24 Staffordshire Sentinel page 27.jpg


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