Elvis Costello recently described his current tour with The Attractions as “a cross between ‘Five Go Mad in Devon’ and “Last of the Summer Wine’.
The band may look like a bunch of paunchy, middle aged beer boys better suited to playing Working Men’s Clubs than student venues but they proved at the LCR that they are still capable of producing an exuberant set that would put most of the current crop of NWONW pretenders to shame.
The show opened with ‘I Want You’, a haunting and bitter song charged with sexual obsession that always threatens to burst with the barely suppressed violence at its centre.
Costello and the band tore into the rockabilly clatter of ’13 Steps Lead Down’ to lighten the mood. But the highlight of the first part of the show came with ‘Deep Dark Truthful Mirror’.
“Listen to these words” Elvis whispered, before producing a stripped down version of the song that benefitted from the lack of embellishments that had blurred the power of the recorded track.
What came over throughout the evening was just how much the band seemed to be enjoying them-selves In between songs Elvis had a nice line in audience friendly banter about, amongst other things. the band's age. "This S the twenty-first time we've played UEA in forty five years', and the 'Fine City itself. 'I'm reliably informed that Norwich is a state of mind Finn), it's sad but true The first part of the two hour set was mainly devoted to songs from the last few albums whist the second half was more of a sang-along greatest his at
Many of the older songs were given fresh arrangements to give them a greater urgency and Costello s voice during the entire gig seemed more powerful and assured than it has been at any point in his career
Altogether it was a masterful performance armed with drama, with and tension in roughly squat parts After such a great night it was even possible to forgive the three encore showbiz theatrics