Pull Out Your Thumb And Count What's Left On Your Fist

GAFFA: June 2nd, 2012

Distinguished musician between post-modernist medley and ironic vaudeville

Declan Patrick McManus -or Elvis Costello, if you like, has never been quite easy to just classify or put in pre-defined boxes.

In an interview prior to the concert, he explained as follows:

 “I think people are taking it too seriously.

 All the analysis is meaningless to me.

When it comes down to it, there is nothing more important than your loved ones lives and well-being.

We take care of each other and try not to stab each other in the back. Otherwise nothing means anything ...

There is nothing in pop music that is “genius”. There are just “good”, regardless of whether it has good intentions or if it comes from the heart

I have never made anything from an analytical point of view or as an exercise in making myself to appear smart. I have done everything, because I am curious. If it has appeared grandiose or pretentious to others, that is their problem.”

Personified Postmodernism

On the current tour-including in the evening in Aarhus, Costello decided to compound the unpredictability further by dusting of a good 25 years old trick of The Spectacular Spinning Songbook.

The Spinning Songbook helped determine tonight's set with the help of the audience, while a go-go-dancer twists herself into a cage to the left of the stage, where several members of the audience also has the opportunity to flourish in this evening's show

At the Center remains, Costello, not just as the ringmaster with top-hat and silver-top walking cane, but also as the front man for a close rockin' trio, delivering an evening with more than two hours of energetic efforts.

Characteristically, there are historical rock references in the form of chunks of songs from Hendrix ' Angel to The Beatles Day Tripper and The Animals early hit, "Don't Let me be Misunderstood.

“Characteristic”, because people say that Costello, rather than to being a genuine God-pardoned songwriter himself, presented himself  as post modernist musical melting pot.

Enough, he is a child of the end of the seventies the new wave, but steeped in pop music and rock'n ' roll musical universe from the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Mad Rock

The initial handful of songs come the nearest to a kind of distorted, insanity-rock'n ' roll, out of time, while in the course of the set it becomes more nuanced.

Costello himself emerges as a brilliant singer, sometimes even without microphone and guitarist in several wild solo-ride.

A gentle interpretation of  George Jones A Good Year For the Roses is a climax, and the involvement of the audience works excellently, with single people and couples, men and women are invited up to spin on the wheel and dancing in the cage in varying degrees of enthusiasm.

It all exploded in an ironic Vaudeville-universe with scantily ladies and Costello as the sarcastic and sympathetic compere. His perhaps most memorable hit So Like Candy was followed by Alison in honour of a young couple after a middle-aged man had played the game enthusiastically and confidently.

It's all nice and fun and works well - despite the classy musicianship, which exhibited. Tonight's show, appears as a postmodern potpourri in a deliberately anachronistic and ironic setup rather than an approximation to the authentic ideal, so prevalent in the popular musical Parnassus.

It is both entertaining and downright rockin' but on the other hand cannot avoid a degree of natural, theatrical, distance. We do not become involved in emotional terms, as at a Springsteen or Dylan in concert . We were entertained nonetheless.