ELVIS COSTELLO & THE IMPOSTERS + IAN PROWSE – BRIGHTON DOME 5.6.22
Tonight at the Brighton Dome is the opening date for Elvis Costello’s tour to mark the release of his album ‘The Boy Named If’. Support comes from Ian Prowse, who was formerly the leader of Pele and Amsterdam, and who in addition has a not inconsiderable solo back catalogue.
Ian has a stripped down band consisting of a violinist and a keyboard player. His set is pretty evenly split between Pele, Amsterdam and solo songs. After ‘Fireworks’, the title track from the Pele album of the same name, he jokes about telling his ten year old daughter that they would be holidaying in Grantham so they could “blow up a statue”. That’ll be Thatcher’s then!
Battle from the upcoming album ‘One Hand On The Starry Plough’ is a great taster – I think I shall be investing. ‘Home’ by Amsterdam is dedicated to the late and much missed DJ Janis Long. Ian played the song at her funeral. The set closes with the classic ‘Does This Train Stop On Merseyside’. Apparently John Peel couldn’t play this song without crying. It’s certainly very powerful. Ian Prowse plays at Brighton Patterns with a full band on 9th September. It’ll be the place to be that night, so grab your tickets HERE.
Ian Prowse setlist:
‘Takin’ On The World’
‘Name & Number’
‘Does This Train Stop On Merseyside?’
Elvis Costello takes the stage with The Imposters (who are effectively The Attractions minus Bruce Thomas, who has been persona non grata for many years) plus guitarist Charlie Sexton, who is probably best known for his role in Bob Dylan’s backing band, although he has played and recorded with many other people, as well as releasing his own records. Without further ado the band tear into Nick Lowe’s ‘Heart Of The City’. This takes us right back to the beginning of Elvis’s career, as this is a song that he and The Attractions played live. Next up is ‘Green Shirt’ from ‘Armed Forces’. So far, so Attractions.
The thing to remember at any Elvis Costello show is that he has a very extensive and wide-ranging back catalogue, so as an audience we shouldn’t be surprised by any divergences. Indeed, any such divergences should be welcomed, as they only go to illustrate the diversity of the man’s work. We get three songs from current album ‘The Boy Named If’s’ predecessor ‘Hey Clockface’ and a bash through the Attractions era classic ‘Mystery Dance’ before we get any songs from the new album. The incidence of new songs increases as the set progresses, with oldies dividing them almost as if they’re sugaring the pill.
However, the oldies aren’t universally successful. ‘Accidents Will Happen’ commences with just piano accompaniment for the first verse. Surprisingly when the band come in it seems somewhat lacklustre. ‘Watching The Detectives’ by comparison is sublime, whilst George Jones’ cover ‘A Good Year For The Roses’ seems somehow out of place. ‘Brilliant Mistake’ receives an almost bossa nova treatment. Maybe Elvis is taking note of the way in which Dylan often disguises his songs.
Elvis also has three mics from which to choose, two of which give his vocals a somewhat tinny and distorted sound. One of them malfunctions and is placed at the rear of the stage. Good. He also uses a megaphone at one point. It’s all very interesting, but the mic that delivers the untreated vocals is the best, in my humble opinion.
The last quarter or so of the set is the most interesting, with cracking versions of classics followed by the best of the new album. ‘(I Don’t Want To Go To) Chelsea’ features Elvis on incandescent lead guitar, despite the presence of Mr Sexton. The band go straight into the aptly named ‘Magnificent Hurt’. Likewise, ‘Alison’ leads straight into ‘Mr Crescent’. After that there’s just time for ‘Pump It Up’ and ‘(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding’, a song that’s probably needed now more than any time during its existence. All in all, Elvis Costello and The Imposters are at the top of the game tonight. They’ve been onstage for a shade under two hours. It seemed much shorter. There’s absolutely no need for encores.
Elvis Costello & The Imposters setlist:
‘Heart Of The City’
‘Either Side Of The Same Town’
‘Hetty O’Hara Confidential’
‘Hey Clockface / How Can You Face Me?’
‘Accidents Will Happen’
‘What If I Can’t Give You Anything But Love?’
‘Watching The Detectives’
‘A Good Year For The Roses’
‘Brilliant Mistake / Boulevard Of Broken Dreams’
‘(I Don’t Want To Go To) Chelsea’
‘Pump It Up’
‘(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding’
Find out more about Elvis Costello by visiting his official website HERE.
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