Boasting a back catalogue of over 400 songs, Elvis Costello’s show at The Bord Gais Energy Theatre was quite hush-hush for a gig that had so much potential. The venue itself is rarely used for gigs like this, so it was exciting to see how the Liverpudlian would use it.
As billed, it was Costello in solo mode, no gimmicks, minimal lighting and two signs either side with “ON AIR” to his right and an arrow to stage left. Sitting amongst the two signs are three mics, 6 guitars – although more were swapped between songs – and a small organ. With this set up in mind, were the audience about to hear the hits, or was this one of those gigs that new material is pushed upon them.
It was the former, as he appeared on stage in a blue suit and white hat, Costello’s set was filled with stories and tracks that gave the fans an insight into the musical mind and background of the musician who brought up ‘Pump It Up’, ‘Alison’, ‘She’, and ‘A Good Year For The Roses’ to name a few of his popular tracks.
To be honest, his voice is still in great condition given the high intensity of some of his songs, maybe the theatre lent a helping hand at times. But in saying that, a solo show with no guests is though to pull off, especially when Costello’ whipped out the electric guitar to ear shredding pitches and wailings that this show could have done without.
Something that would have gone down a bit better was more reminiscing, stories about hearing his song on BBC radio for the first time, how he wrote ‘Everyday I Write This Book’ in ten minutes and hated it because of that, or even the tales of watching his father perform for the Queen were enthralling, the audience wanted more of that to make the gaps between songs easier.
Two encores, 15 songs, and two standing ovations were enough to put this gig to rest it seems. Four out of five stars for Elvis Costello.