“These rooms are lined with pictures”
I think it was William Shakespeare who once wrote, “You can check-out any time you like but you can never leave."
“Imperial Bedroom & Other Chambers” was never conceived to be a show for stamp-collectors or taxidermists but rather as a series of interlocking rooms, like those of a once abandoned, grand hotel.
“I hate to break it to you but not all the songs are going to be miserable.”
Some chambers are decorated in the Imperial style, described in “Variety” as going “Baroque To The Future”, while others are a little more shabby and distressed, the “O.C. Register” noting “a beautiful piano-driven take on “You’ll Never Be A Man”” and a re-arranged version of “Tears Before Bedtime,” which “Baltimore Sun” remarked “spread out until it becomes something more sultry”
The shows came close to crashing the curfew every night, offering as many as thirty songs and on occasion stretching to nearly three-hour performances, taking in the “blue mood of “Watching the Detectives,” with vintage film noir movie posters on the big screen behind him” and concluding the main set with a blast of “swirling Beatles-y psychedelia” in the coda of “Pidgin English” before returning to the stage for “Beyond Belief” and “Man Out Of Time”, often closing the “Imperial” folio with “Town Cryer".
Elvis Costello and The Imposters, augmented by the vocal stylings of Kitten Kuroi and Briana Lee presented the entire “Imperial Bedroom” songbook on one or two occasions but on other nights elected to connect the thread of heartbreak to songs such as “Indoor Fireworks” from “King Of America”, “This House Is Empty Now” from “Painted From Memory”, the McCartney/MacManus ballad, “The Lovers That Never Were” and even the rare and abject, “In Another Room".
None of this would have been possible without the superb playing of The Imposters, a band that has now existed five years longer than the Attractions.
Pete Thomas continues to be the only drummer of his generation who deserves to be spoken about in the same breath as Charlie Watts, keeping the show moving forward right through the band-call on “Everyday I Write The Book” to the final call for “Peace Love and Understanding”, while the most extraordinary flights of fancy spring from the fingers of Steve Nieve.
Davey Faragher’s contribution goes beyond his groovy basslines, working as vocal arranger, collaborating closely with Kitten Kuroi and Briana Lee to bring Costello’s complex and eccentric studio vocal overdubs to the stage and adapting Allen Toussaint’s wild Crescent City Horns arrangement for vocal group in a single performance of “Bedlam” up in Canandaigua.
However, not all of the songs in the show are about the bleak interior, some like “Bedlam” and Steve Nieve’s techno-primitive arrangement of “Greenshirt” look out of the bedroom window in a timely fashion, as does a brand-new song, “Go Tell (Your Quiet Sister), which nevertheless, “sounded as if it might have been an “Imperial Bedroom” outtake” to the ears of the “Baltimore Sun”.
Elvis Costello is currently developing a stage musical version of the Budd Schulberg story, “A Face in the Crowd” – a warning about the power of television to summon up monsters and falsify motives.
The oldest song in the set, “Alison” and the title song from that score, received successive standing ovations at Wolftrap, when performed by Costello with just vocal support from Kitten and Briana .
Other show highlights included Steve Nieve’s extraordinary piano interlude on “Shot With His Own Gun” and the first full performances of the rarest of the “Imperial Bedroom” songs, “Boy With A Problem”.
As the “PhillyNews.com” declared, “Elvis Costello is willing to play along, but only if he can do it in his own unpredictable way.”
Playing to packed houses and gathering throngs; 5000 people attending Summerstage in Central Park, NYC - just eight months after the show played for two sold out houses at the Beacon Theatre - and an audience of 6000 witnessing the closing night of this run at Wolftrap, VA. “Imperial Bedroom & Other Chambers” will open again for business on July the 16th at the Riverside Theatre, Milwaukee, WI and will be presented for a further seven performances in Kettering, OH, Grand Rapids, MI, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Cooperstown, NY, Shelburne, VT, Portland, ME before closing in Providence, RI on July 25th.
The Amy Helm Band will be joining the bill for the shows in Cooperstown, Shelburne and Portland. To avoid disappointment, book tickets now.
“These rooms play tricks upon”
Sadly, there are currently no plans for this show to visit Europe, this decade, “due to popular demand”.
Ticket holders may also purchase the new Lupe-O-Tone 10” vinyl release, “Bright Blue Times”, a very limited edition, available only at “Imperial Bedroom & Other Chambers” dates. Limited stock on-sale each night, one copy per customer.
Look out for other Lupe-O-Tone releases of interest in the very near future.