How often have you seen a live band who just look bored by the whole process, as if the very task of taking your money in the name of entertainment is just too much hassle? To cap it all, they’re normally only on their second or third album. Imagine being Elvis Costello then, still cranking it out in his fifth decade as a pop star. His ability to move from genre to genre has helped keep both himself and his audience on their toes, yet it’s his live Revolver tour that has proved the most engaging development.
Originally released at the end of last year as a deluxe package that Costello himself disowned on account of cost (telling fans to steal it instead), his upcoming European dates have seen this live document re-structured in a lot more manageable audio and DVD format – enabling far more people to get a taste of the show whereby the audience and chance dictate the setlist. If the aim was to keep the experience fresh, then this LA recording proves the approach has definitely worked. There’s fire in the belly of the singer and his band, as they tear through a selection of hits and album tracks with enough gusto to put all of those miserable youngsters to shame.
Thus you get ‘Radio Radio’ performed with exactly the same energy and attitude as it was on Saturday Night Live in 1977, a sublime ‘Every Day I Write The Book’ and an epic ‘Man Out Of Time’. The stage show nature of it all is played down on the CD version, leaving instead the sound of a group of musicians playing out of their skins and one that proves that sometimes there’s just no substitute for experience.