Costello takes solo show to new heights

Cumbria Live: Tom Little: 14th June 2015

Elvis Costello took his latest solo performance to another level at the Sands Centre on Saturday night.

The singer-songwriter added new elements to his show like a giant retro TV showing pictures of his family, which worked well with his intriguing song explanations and insights into his personal life.

Rarely a man to talk about his family, Costello used the Carlisle gig to open up about how music is in his blood, playing a clip of his father singing If I had a hammer, and showing a photo of his grandfather with a french horn.

The set list shows that the Carlisle crowd got a truly personal show, a hallmark of this ‘Detour’ tour which hasn’t featured anywhere near the same selection of songs twice.

He told of how he wouldn’t even be on stage if it wasn’t for his musician grandfather, Pat, who’s fox fur and fedora were the talk of Birkenhead in the 1920s, whilst revealing that his grandmother was ‘an angry mother’.

The range of songs he played was vast. Everything from little-known covers such as Who's The Meanest Gal In Town Josephine, to his big hits like Pump it Up, and She.

The show’s personal feel was introduced when Elvis’s brother Ronan McManus kicked off the show as the support act with Luke Dolan. They are half of recently formed band Brand New Zeros.

Larkin Poe fans will have been disappointed, as they were billed by the Sands Centre as the support act, right up until Ronan and Luke took to the stage.

However Costello fans would have been delighted, as the sound and lyrics were very much reminiscent of the man himself.

They sounded good, considering they were dancing in Dempsey’s late last night.

Costello came out for several encores, which included getting into the giant TV, pulling out a ukulele, performing with his brother, and fielding impromptu song requests from the audience.

You might think after decades of performing that it would be difficult for Costello to find a new level, but in Detour he has.

It was the personal touches such as the different set list for every gig, and insight into his family that made the show special.