STV: Kirstin Lynn: May 12th, 2012
With a flapper girl, go-go dancer, and as much chance as a game of Russian roulette, nauseating circus colours and a real live version of his Spectacular Spinning Songbook both decorated the stage, and decided the fate of Elvis Costello's quick fire set.
With trilby style hats all round, I Hope You're Happy Now put the boogie into action, though in comparison to the garish colours of the backdrop, the star's vocal was low in the mix, not doing any favours for the slightly mature crowd of the Clyde Auditorium.
Forward rolling through their first four tracks with no stops, the Grammy Award winner, now in his late 50's showed no signs of fatigue with hip twists and stage roaming to the Hammond organ whirl of his rock'n'roll.
Having a quick pause for breath and a change into top hat and cane, our ringmaster adopted his Napoleon Dynamite persona and a New York accent, to introduce his big wheel (much like the Wheel Of Fortunate that lies dormant in a dark cupboard of STV, vomited in new colours). Getting the audience participation factor into full swing, Costello's flapper girl, Caterina, selected one lucky fan to spin the wheel, resulting in a down-tempo Good Year For The Roses.
During the track, the audience member was kept in a holding bay/ lounge bar at the side of the stage to sway through her song choice before her ejection and subsequent replacement. The same format continued, through a young couple and Sheila's Wheels style sisters with upbeat, and often hilarious chat from Costello between numbers. With much focus on the Leveson enquiry, and a particular disdain for Rupert Murdoch, his sarcastic sense of humour suited the Scottish crowd.
Getting out his Gibson Super 400 to perform Chuck Berry's No Particular Place To Go as he did in a tribute to Mr Berry at a prestigious award ceremony earlier in the year, the ongoing tales of Costello act as reminders of his incredible career.
A medley of Bob Dylan's This Wheel's On Fire, Allen Toussaint collaboration The River In Reverse and Gil Scott-Heron's I'll Take Care Of You, showcased the stars versatility as he ambled from one track to the next and back again, with ease and character, as if the songs were his very own. The smoky jazz lounge rendition of I'll take Care Of You was particularly impressive, with Costello channelling the sultry ways of Rihanna in a potent infusion with the wisdom of Scott-Heron.
A microphone change saw the volume of the show finally being a bit more obnoxious for Chelsea, before the London born musician visited his Irish heritage, inviting his younger brother and accompanying folk band onstage. Playing a song about their grandfather, before reverting into a series of jigs and reels, the show that just kept giving threw something else into the big box of tricks.
Leaning into best loved tracks as he played past his second hour of performance, Costello teased more and more fans to their feet with Tramp The Dirt Down, Shipbuilding and the much anticipated I Want You.
Like his last album and songbook, spectacular is just what Costello was live, with old school entertainment value and prestige rarely seen today, leaving everyone and Oliver's Army wanting him tonight.