Sunday, June 26, 2011

Elvis Costello and the Imposters
SONY Centre

Back in the mid-70's who would have though that Declan Patrick (Aloysius) MacManus would become a cultural icon?

We were fortunate in Toronto to see him often in his early years. He played this building in 1978 when it was called the O'Keefe Centre. I remember that show distinctly...mostly for the commotion out front as the opening band, Toronto punk-indie phenoms, The Battered Wives, were opening and being picketed everywhere they went. (Toby Swan was a member of this band and had a single hit with a cover of Somewhere Over the Rainbow...a song that makes an appearance tonight.)

In the summer of 1980 Elvis was co-headliner at the Heatwave Festival just outside Toronto. This is the show that made The Talking Heads an ensemble. They were paid $200,000 for their set and went from a minimalist new wave quartet to the mega-band they became. I was the first person to buy tickets for that show, standing outside the Danforth Music Hall. Right out of the promoters trunk as the venue was slow to open. Didn't make it to the show because a ball hockey tournament in Montreal took precedence. Fuck I was stupid(er) when I was young.

Caught him next when he brought Squeeze over the ocean in the spring of 1981. Those were some great years for rock n roll but in the mid-80's music started to suck horribly, I had 2 kids and a mortgage and it would be a long time before I saw him again when he opened for Dylan in 2007. I kept buying the records though.

Elvis has resurrected the Spinning Songbook which he first rolled out in 1986. A carny wheel with hits, rarities, covers and a couple wildcards tabs. Throughout the evening, in the persona of MC Napoleon Dynamite, he invites audience members up to give the big wheel a spin. Most are inticed to spend some time in the go-go dancer cage beside the onstage lounge, where they are treated to a cocktail.

It was an exhaustive career retrospective, the show ran 2 hours 39 minutes and 30 seconds long and spanned his entire catalogue. There was something for everyone; the terrific early power pop songs, the ballads, a rarity in Earthbound, a few covers and some wonderful mash-ups, most notably the Alison medley and Pump It Up.

Disc 1
t01 I Hope You’re Happy Now (Blood & Chocolate, 1986)
t02 Heart of The City (Rockpile cover)
t03 Mystery Dance (My Aim Is True, 1977)
t04 Uncomplicated (Blood & Chocolate, 1986)
t05 Radio Radio (single, 1978)

t06 Spinning Songbook #1; w/ MC Napoleon Dynamite and guest Simoni
t07 Everyday I Write The Book (Punch the Clock, 1983)

t08 Spinning Songbook #2; Mary
t09 Joanna (Scott Walker cover, sorta)

t10 Spinning Songbook #3&4; Alison and Gord (double spin)
t11 Turpentine (Momofuku, 2008)
t12 Long Honeymoon (Imperial Bedroom, 1982)

t13 Spinning Songbook #5; Kaylee
t14 I Want You (Blood & Chocolate, 1986)

t15 Beyond Belief (Imperial Bedroom, 1982)
t16 Big Tears (This Years Model, 1978)
t17 Shabby Doll (Imperial Bedroom, 1982)

Disc 2
t01 Spinning Songbook #6; Kimberley
t02 Accidents Will Happen (Armed Forces, 1979)

t03 Leave My Kitten Alone (Kojak Variety, 1995)

t04 Spinning Songbook #7&8; Norma and Nikki (double spin)
t05 Living In Paradise (This Years Model, 1978)
GIRLS Jackpot
t06 Spooky Girlfriend (When I Was Cruel, 2002)
t07 Party Girl (Armed Forces, 1979)
t08 Girls Talk (Dave Edmunds cover, sorta)
t09 Girl (Beatles cover)

t10 Alison/Tracks Of My Tears/Tears of A Clown/No More Tear Stained Makeup/Wind Cries Mary/Somewhere Over the Rainbow (My Aim Is True, 1977)
t11 Commercial Break - Sting Ray
t12 Stations of the Cross (National Ransom, 2010)
t13 Shipbuilding (Punch the Clock, 1983)

Disc 3
d3t01 A Slow Drag With Josephine (National Ransom, 2010)
d3t02 For More Tears (got no idea?)
d3t03 2nd encore break

d3t04 Spinning Songbook #9&10; Betty (double spin)
d3t05 Earthbound (unreleased demo, 1992)
d3t06 (What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding (Brinsley Schwarz cover)

d3t07 I Don’t Want To Go To Chelsea (This Years Model, 1978)
d3t08 Waiting For The End of The World (My Aim Is True, 1977)
d3t09 I Can Only Give You Everything (Van Morrison cover)
d3t10 Pump It Up/Subterranean Homesick Blues/Purple Rain (This Years Model, 1978)
d3t11 Man Out Of Time (Imperial Bedroom, 1982)
d3t12 I Hope (National Ransom, 2010)

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