Thursday, May 29, 2008

Elvis Costello: From a Whisper to a Scream


Elvis Costello and the Attractions, The English Mugs Tour with their Old Chinas Squeeze. Sunday, January 25, 1981. Carmichael Auditorium 9:00 p.m. Tickets $6.00 advance $7.00 day of show.

Geoffrey Mock, "Costello pumps it up," The Daily Tar Heel, January 27, 1981:

Declan Patrick McManus, a.k.a. Elvis Costello, and his band the Attractions gave Chapel Hill's pin tie and black glasses crowd a rousing concert Sunday night in Carmichael Auditorium.

Singing with a soft nasal voice and defying gravity with that strange pigeon-toed stance of his, Costello led an enthusiastic crowd of more than 4,700 through an hour and a half set.

He played a wide variety of songs ranging from slow ballads to rapid-paced rockers with a Bo Diddley beat. He also mixed old favorites with material from a new album not yet released in North Carolina. . . . .


[Elvis and the band] exhibited a tightness characteristic of British groups and played off each other with virtuoso style.

As usual, out in front was Costello. He seems to have shed his paranoid public image and though he maintained distance from the audience, he was able to generate an atmosphere of warmth with the crowd. Costello rewarded the crowd's enthusiasm with a double encore of six songs ending to a mass of bobbing heads and bodies on the floor with "Pump It Up."


Costello crammed more than 20 songs into the set. Few songs lasted longer than four minutes, exemplifying the emphasis of group sound over individual. Guitar solos, with the notable exception of a wonderfully berserk solo by Costello on "I Don't Want to Go to Chelsea," were foregone for interplays between guitar, keyboard and bass.


It may have been simply because of familiarity, but the old songs seem to have played with a little extra power. Late in the set "Radio, Radio" brought an overwhelming response from the crowd and earlier highlights were exciting renditions of "What's So Funny About Peace, Love and Understanding," "Oliver's Army" and "I Don't Want to Go to Chelsea." The latter was transformed into an upbeat, almost funky tune that was particularly enjoyable.

Squeeze opened the show with a 40-minute set . . . [T]he show came off well, setting an upbeat tempo that prepared the crowd for Costello.

5 comments:

Danny Tagalog said...

Funny that he had the song "I don't wanna go to Chelsea" as every (soccer) man and his dog want to go there now.

You were right Erik - about Obama's dominance over Clinton, and the imminent rise of McCain.

Charles Gramlich said...

I didn't know he was still performing. Haven't heard anything about him in years.

Anonymous said...

I remember that show.

And the wind whispers "Mary"...

JC

Beth said...

Ah, I remember that tour well ...

Lana Gramlich said...

$6 or $7 admission...Wow...