The Return of the Spectacular Spinning Songbook - Elvis Costello Album Review
Some 40 years ago, a bespectacled and scrawny art-punk unleashed the first of what was to be an incredible catalogue of over 30 albums. "My Aim Is True" appeared in 1977 and promptly tore up the UK and US charts, completely at odds with the punk-rock scene operating in its own spit-filled parallel world alongside less-obvious antagonists such as Declan MacManus, aka Elvis Costello.
So with all those albums behind you, what do you do with your live repertoire? In the case of Elvis Costello, you re-imagine a nifty idea that you dreamt up some 25 years ago - yes folks, roll up, roll up, it's the Return of the Spectacular Spinning Songbook. The premise is simple - play the first quarter of your show jammed with popular raucous favourites, then hand the remainder over to the audience, tasked with being called to the stage to spin the aforementioned (and garish) circus-like wheel of destiny, in order to choose the next song. I wish every band did this, it's fun. And 'fun is something Costello has discovered in recent years after appearing on Sesame Street and reintroducing this interactive format to his shows.
The DVD is a must-see - you've never seen so many Americans waver at the prospect of gripping a gaily-lit wheel and applying muscle to circulate the fairground-attraction in favour of their chosen song. 'Brian' looks gutted at choosing lengthy ballad, "God Give Me Strength", but it's all part of the fun. Life is a lottery and so is a Costello spinning-songbook show. In fact taken as a whole concert this release, which couples a DVD and slightly rejigged CD, is a bit of a successful and lucky dip. You get "Radio Radio", "Mystery Dance" and "Clubland" within the first 20 minutes, plus Costello's Imposters blast their way through "Tear Off Your Own Head" (with The Bangles), Chris Farlowe's "Out Of Time" and the '80s funk of "Every Day I Write The Book". It's a lottery, but one where any Costello fan ends up a winner. Trump-cards include Nick Lowe's "Peace, Love and Understanding" and Costello's own weepie "I Want You".
Whilst many compilations and live-documents focus on 'greatest hits', "....Spinning Songbook" is a genuine dissection of Costello's underrated career with performances that sound just as fun and as fresh, if not fresher, than when they were first performed. Well worth spinning that big wheel for and something you'll be able to do on his upcoming May 2012 UK tour.
- Fri 31st May 2013 Elvis CostelloSymphony Hall (Birmingham)Buy Tickets
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- Sun 2nd Jun 2013 Elvis CostelloColston Hall (Bristol)Buy Tickets
- Tue 4th Jun 2013 to Thu 6th Jun 2013 Elvis CostelloRoyal Albert Hall (Kensington)Buy Tickets
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- Fri 12th Jul 2013 Barclaycard British Summer Time in Hyde Park 2013, Elton Joh...Hyde Park (Knightsbridge)Buy Tickets
- Sat 13th Jul 2013 Forestry Commission Live Music 2013, Elvis CostelloThetford Forest (Suffolk)Buy Tickets
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