Wales Online: Tony Woolway: 3rd June 2013
Tony Woolway was blown away by the veteran performer's latest tour when he saw him perform at Cardiff's St David's Hall
Since breaking onto the scene way back in 1977 to high acclaim with his debut album My Aim Is True, Elvis Costello has dazzled and surprised with both his vast body of work and his diversity.
The thing is, you can never pigeonhole him.
His musical influences shine through and whether it be blues, soul, country or rock influenced, the songs all come packaged in Costello’s own unique and inimitable style.
Thankfully, visits to Cardiff have featured regularly on Costello’s tour itinerary playing with first The Attractions, as a solo artist, a duo with his faithful ivory-tinkling bandmate Steve Nieve, and on Saturday evening, The Impostors, with another Costello stalwart Pete Thomas on drums and bassist Davey Faragher.
One thing fans of Costello expect is a fast pace and from the time the band bounded onto the stage until they left 2 hours and 30 jaw-dropping minutes and 30 songs later, there was no let up, even in the quieter, more reflective moments.
The introduction of the spinning songbook, a huge wheel containing a large and impressive selection of Costello masterpieces helped the audience catch their breath as unsuspecting punters were encouraged to spin the wheel by Costello in the guise of Napoleon Dynamite, master of ceremonies, and to go-go dance with the delectable Dixie De La Fontaine in the Las Vegas-style go-go cage.
One Cardiff couple, Jon and Chrissy, spun the wheel leading Costello into a superb version of the Dave Edmund’s Girls Talk, with local boy Edmunds being described by Costello as “The King of Monmouth” followed swiftly by a fast, snappy version of Nick Lowe’s wonderful Heart Of The City.
No one would leave disappointed as Costello dusted down the classics with hits such as Radio, Radio, (I Don’t Want To Go To) Chelsea and a riveting version of Watching The Detectives, but the real highlights for me were the slightly quieter moments with a brilliant I Still Have That Other Girl from his collaboration with the great Burt Bacharach plus a version of Tramp That Dirt Down, that sent shivers down your spine.
In a day where the word legend is so freely used in the music industry to describe some quite mediocre talents, only in a handful of cases does the description fit and Costello is certainly one of them.