Worcester Telegram & Gazette, April 14, 1989

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A complete success for Costello fans

Scott Farmelant

Elvis' diversity evident in Waltham

WALTHAM — Declan Patrick Aloysius MacManus, better known in these parts as Elvis Costello, has made a career by never sticking to a single genre of music, preferring rather to experiment with many styles although, in truth, he is simply a pop musician.

Last night at Brandeis University, Costello wore all the hats which have made him famous in a 21-song, two-hour, mostly acoustic set. The sell-out show was a complete success. Costello, who came out of England in 1977, was lumped into the category of new wave music. Actually, his music was accessible until his Almost Blue, which began a portion of his career in which he sometimes polarized his fans. Spike, his latest LP, does nothing of the sort. It is topping the charts. None of that really matters, however, for Costello in concert is at once angry, happy, introspective, charming, despondent, witty, and provocative. Last night everything came together in a show that was truly everything it could be for the die-hard Costello fan.

Dressed in black, Costello opened with "Accidents Will Happen," a slow but upbeat rendition. His guitar was well in tune as he moved into a soulful "Blue Chair." A reflective "Deep Dark Truthful Mirror" followed.

Next the angry Costello reared his little head with "Watching The Detectives," which moved smoothly and ended with a creative cord arrangement featuring some sweet sounding lower notes.

Costello at this point revealed his charming nature, taking time to poke fun at the U.S. movie industry and the movie Satisfaction in particular, which featured an awful version of "Mystery Dance" (done by Justine Bateman in the film). Costello cheerfully parodied the American entertainment system before bursting into a boppy and certainly truer to the original "Mystery Dance."

"God's Comic" was soulful and melodic, and the break, in which Costello related his ideas of what it would be like for Geraldo Rivera to meet God, was pure entertainment. In Costello's heaven, God watches a wide screen T.V., complete with a colorized version of It's a Wonderful Life, "M.T.V." and Wheel of Fortune.

"Veronica" was a low point, simply because the song is too often played on the radio, but "Almost Blue" featuring the piano was stirring and beautiful.

A funky spirited "Pads, Paws and Claws" led into a Little Willie John cover "You Better Leave My Kitten Alone," which was red hot.

At this point in the show it was clear Costello was enjoying himself. "Radio Sweetheart" was decent, but dragged on for too long, Costello being content to play games with his audience. "Girls Talk" and "New Amsterdam" were next and both were quality renditions. At this point in the show, fellow Englishman Nick Lowe, who was the opening act, joined Costello on stage for "What's So Funny About Peace, Love and Understanding," which was an excellent dual acoustic number featuring a scintillating Costello lead.

Costello left for a moment and returned as Napoleon Dynamite, the game show host guise which he used during his 1986 tour. This allowed for crowd participation in which he performed "Baby Plays Around," "Pump It Up," "Oliver's Army," "The Angels Wanna Wear My Red Shoes," "Everyday I Write The Book" and "Alison," a veritable latest hit selection in its own right. "Pump It Up" was particularly noteworthy as Elvis rocked and thrashed beautifully in the lone Elektric guitar moment of the night.

Costello did everything. He was touching, brash, poignant, and strong. His fans should hope that he continues this pattern later this summer when he will return to the area with his back-up band, The Attractions.

Tags: Nick LoweShapiro GymnasiumBrandeis UniversityWalthamMassachusettsDeclan Patrick Aloysius MacManusAlmost BlueSpikeAccidents Will HappenBlue ChairDeep Dark Truthful MirrorWatching The DetectivesMystery DanceGod's ComicVeronicaAlmost Blue (song)Pads, Paws And ClawsLittle Willie JohnYou Better Leave My Kitten AloneRadio SweetheartGirls TalkNew Amsterdam(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding?Napoleon DynamiteBaby Plays AroundPump It UpOliver's Army(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red ShoesEveryday I Write The BookAlisonPump It UpThe Attractions

Copyright (c) 1989 Worcester Telegram & Gazette.

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Worcester Telegram & Gazette, April 14, 1989

Scott Farmelant reviews Elvis Costello, solo and with Nick Lowe, Thursday, April 13, 1989, Shapiro Gymnasium, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts.


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