Elvis Costello & the Imposters at Iveagh Gardens

Hot Press: Roisin Dwyer: 18th July 2016

Flanked by the Imposters, Mr MacManus proves he's the very real deal.

Following an opening gambit of 'Pump It Up', 'Radio Radio' and 'Watching The Detectives' the scene was set for a live tour de force from the enigmatic Declan McManus. Over the next two hours he led his Imposters (featuring ex Attractions Pete Thomas and Steve Nieve) though a storming set chock full of Costello classics.

In playful and engaging form, throughout he encourages audience participation (smiling to himself at the enthused vocal back and forth on 'Every Day I Write The Book') and pokes fun at his canon. “The band don’t like it and I don’t like it. This one’s from my flamenco album," he says by way of introduction to an enchanting ‘She’ followed by a beguiling ’Good Year For The Roses’.

Elsewhere ‘Clubland’ and ‘The Other Side Of Summer’ are delivered with requisite gusto to the delight of the bopping throngs and ‘Oliver’s Army’ and ‘(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love Understanding?’ prove themselves two of the deadliest weapons in his live artillery - flooring us all with their sonic power. Throughout Pete Thomas’s dextrous drumming provides the perfect aural backbone to proceedings and keyboardist Steve Nieve dresses the songs immaculately.

Another blast of hits including ‘I Don’t Want To Go To Chelsea’ and ‘Alison’ remind us of the quality of Costello’s extensive catalogue before he raises the bar again with an outstanding’I Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down’. And then the sucker punch – a mesmorising performance of ‘I Want You’ in which his yearning vocal and emotionally wraught warped guitar solo momentarily make time stand still.

Magic.