Elvis Costello chose Vancouver as his final stop on his tour for the album Look Now. It’s not hard to wonder why. His ties to B.C. started 15 years ago when he married Nanaimo’s Diana Krall. Look Now is the artist’s 24th studio release and was featured heavily throughout the night.
Flanked by longtime attractions and Imposters, Steve Nieve on keyboards and Pete Thomas on drums the London native kicked off with fan favourite “This Year’s Girl.”
“It’s good to be home,” he told the sold out audience before diving into “Green Shirt,” – “a song written last century.”
The veteran played some 70 tracks on the tour, so he clearly knows how to mix it up for the crowd. The tour nearly didn’t happen, as Costello was forced to cancel dates for a cancer-related surgery. He is back and no worse for the wear. He wove new numbers into a powerful trio of favourites starting with a ska-style “Watching the Detectives,” followed by “Deep Dark Truthful Mirror” and “Radio, Radio.” The versatile musician didn’t stray too far from his fender, except for a brief appearance at the electric piano.
The new record is a throwback to another era and it was well captured when Costello was joined in harmonies by his two excellent touring backing vocalists, Kitten Kuroi and Briana Lee. The pair particularly shined on the classic “Allison,” as well as “Every Day I Write the Book.” One was left to wonder why they did not feature more.
Costello asked if he was allowed to call Vancouver home yet, before beaming about all his friends and family in attendance, and especially “my two boys!”
The main set was a healthy two hours and 17 songs, but there was clearly more to come. After a short break, Costello kicked off the encore accompanied only by the excellent Nieve on the grand piano for “Accidents Will Happen.” This was followed by the Soul Ballad “Almost Blue” from the Imperial Bedroom record. “Under Lime” is the peppiest track from the new record and had the Tuesday night crowd bopping before he closed the first encore with “Pump it Up,” which had everyone on their feet.
Costello left the stage after the nine-song encore, only to come back for two more, including the evening closer, Nick Lowe-penned “What’s so Funny about) Peace, Love and Understanding.” This gave everyone what they had been waiting for and ensured all would exit into the brisk winter night with smiles on their faces.
He is no rookie, but all signs point to more homecomings.