Washington Post, July 9, 2003

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Elvis Costello, showing this year's model

Michael Little

The great thing about going to an Elvis Costello show is that you never know which Elvis will show up. Of course the scary thing about going to an Elvis Costello show is that you never know which Elvis will show up. Will it be caustic Elvis, lounge crooner Elvis, art fop Elvis, or — God help us — country Elvis? Since his emergence as England's angry young dweeb with 1977's My Aim Is True, Costello has gone through musical personalities the way Larry King goes through wives, accumulating some truly strange bedfellows — including Burt Bacharach and Paul McCartney — along the way. The resulting uneven body of work has failed to deter his rabid fans, many of whom found their way to Wolf Trap to see him play with the Imposters on Monday night. There Elvis gave the crowd a taste of his many personas, and played such lousy tricks as letting lounge Elvis turn punk Elvis's "Watching the Detectives" into an exercise in effete jazz. He also perversely insisted on performing two songs from Painted From Memory, his 1998 collaboration with Bacharach.

Costello didn't completely neglect his early years. "Clubland," "(I Don't Want to Go to) Chelsea" and "Pump It Up" — which the Imposters pumped up to arena rock proportions — all won enthusiastic receptions. But — blame it on Cain, or his new love, Diana Krall — Costello is a sophisticate now, and you get the sense that he no more wants to play his classics than Woody Allen wants to trot out his old nightclub bits.

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The Washington Post, July 9, 2003

Michael Little reviews Elvis Costello & The Imposters, Monday, July 7, 2003, Filene Center At Wolf Trap, Vienna, VA.


2003-07-09 Washington Post photo 01 ak.jpg
Photo by Andi Kling.


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