Elvis Costello earns trust while tinkering with old hits at Wolf Trap

The Baltimore Sun: Matthew Hay Brown: June 23rd 2017

One of the many good things about seeing Elvis Costello perform is that he has never treated his songs as static works, locked in the time and place he produced them.

Throughout his 40-year career, he has turned his consistently sophisticated and adventurous compositions into great-sounding records. But live, he has treated the songs as organic, dynamic vehicles, and shown himself unafraid to rearrange, reorchestrate and reimagine even his most popular hits.

Which is to say that in concert, he mixes it up some.

So appearing with his backing band the Imposters at the Wolf Trap National Park for Performing Arts in Vienna, Va., on Thursday, the 62-year-old singer-songwriter turned “… And in Every Home” into “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”; invited the Irish rockabilly singer Imelda May out to trade verses on “I Can’t Stand Up for Falling Down”; and stripped his signature song, “Alison,” down to voice, his electric guitar and two female singers — to name just three of many examples.