UC Berkeley Daily Californian, July 25, 2003

From The Elvis Costello Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
- Bibliography -
1415161718 19 20 21

UC Berkeley Daily Californian

California publications


University publications

Magazines and alt. weeklies

US publications by state
  • GAHA   IA      ID      IL
  • IN   KSKYLA   MA


Elvis Costello and company are
strange fruits of music

Jia H. Jung

Shockingly, there were rows of chairs fitted awkwardly into the pit of the Greek last Saturday. To one who has frequented the venue, the presence of seats in this area meant for chaotic free-for-alls foreshadowed the possibility of a very tame, i.e. lame, concert.

Ah, but the performer was Elvis Costello and The Imposters, no ordinary group, and the honor of Berkeley's stately theatre was preserved with a show which, while of a slower pace, was not uneventful.

Initially, it seemed that blandness would prevail, as the shaggy haired Chris Robinson, his bassist, and later, a second guitarist, performed a '70s tainted acoustic set which, while not blatantly lacking talent, was nothing that could not be heard on Telegraph Avenue or in the basements of hippie-aspirants.

"Apparently, he's sleeping with Goldie Hawn's daughter," shouted a man, which, translated from Idiot, means that Robinson is the husband of Kate Hudson. Somehow, this tidbit seemed relevant, for it triggered flashbacks of the actress twirling around in Almost Famous, and provided an aesthetic replacement for the near inert trio onstage.

As the sun disappeared, Elvis and the Impostors took the floor, backed by a sapphire light that cast itself high upon the stark pillars. The frontman lacked his familiar top-hat and Blues Brothers shades, but had the same cavernous, amphibious voice as he did in the heyday of New Wave, though it became increasingly obvious that New Wave fails to describe the band's style. What the hell kind of genre do these guys fit into, anyway? With their slow-danceworthy ballads, they're clearly '90s. But with their syncopated synthesizers, akin to those used by Men at Work, they're decidedly '80s. On the other hand, a cover of Ray Charles's "I Got a Woman," a rendition of "You've Really Got a Hold on Me," gentle harmony a la the Righteous Brothers, and the schizophrenicallly scintillating piano riffs fit for a concert hall or a jazz bar all seemed to postulate Motown, diner music, and golden oldies.

Amazingly enough, the chameleon properties of the men in black fit in perfectly with their style; one felt that the most tender serenade and the most raucuous jam represented but two twinkling ends of a spectrum unique to the Elvis & Company alone.

While the show cast the crowd about an aural sea of chronological and stylistic ambiguity, certain members of the audience, as if in a trance, took equidistant posts around the edge of the pit, and twisted, hopped, gyrated, thrustted, and skitted in a plethora of interpretive dancing that, collectively, came eerily close to providing a real-life manifestation of The Grateful Dead's rainbow of dancing bears.

Having already satisfied the audience even without the re-airing of their radio hits, the group returned to provide an encore consisting of an extended "Watching the Detectives," and a slew of other rock 'n' roll pieces.

When the group made its real exit, however, all those present stood still. They had not played "Alison," that romantic landmark of song which is a favorite even to those ignorant of the band that wrote it. Only a very particular few could get away with such neglect, and Elvis and the Impostors just barely proved themselves to be one of those few.


The Daily Californian, July 25, 2003

Jia H. Jung reviews Elvis Costello & The Imposters and opening act Chris Robinson, Saturday, July 19, 2003, Greek Theatre, University Of California, Berkeley.


Back to top

External links