Concerts for the past week have been pretty varied, from the lightening licks of Al Dimeola to the old world sounds of Renaissance to the pseudo New Wave sounds of Elvis Costello.
Costello's show at the Civic Theater Wednesday may just have been the most exciting, vital and energetic rock music I've heard in years. Costello is riding the crest of the New Wave, whatever that is, but his music is simple, hard-driving rock 'n' roll.
Coming on stage after good performances by Nick Lowe and Mink DeVille, Costello and his three piece back-up band, the Attractions, did not stop from the high energy pace, except for the slow love song "Alison." Costello, who looks like Woody Allen's tougher younger brother, performed his music with determination, rather than his well-publicized anger.
The Attractions are a first-rate band, and when combined with Costello's surprisingly satisfactory guitar work, created a very full sound for a four-piece band. Particularly tasty were the keyboard frills by Steve Naive. The show was obviously well rehearsed; in other words, very little in the way of improvisation.
When Costello and friends left the stage and did not return for an encore the audience, with ABBA's "S.O.S" booming over the sound system, stood applauding and would not leave. It was quite a while after the house lights came on before even a portion of the crowd left. But the indication is clear: Elvis Costello will be a major star.