Saturday, May 05, 2007

ELVIS COSTELLO - Live! And Not Live!

If you get a chance to catch Elvis Costello and the Imposters on their current tour, and you're a fan of his earlier work, prepare yourself for two hours of bliss. Touring to promote a couple of greatest hits compilations on Universal, Elvis has dipped back into the catalog and is delivering a hardcore rock and roll show that reminds me of seeing him in 1979... except he's got a lot more songs now. With virtually no between-song patter, his 5/2 show at the L.A. House Of Blues was a non-stop onslaught of hits, semi-hits and fantastic album tracks. High points: one of the best versions of "Riot Act" ever, a great "Uncomplicated", and a funky rendition of "Alison" (the one acoustic performance in the whole show) where he obviously forgot the words and sang the same section twice.

The two new comps are nicely put together, but with the exception of a couple alternate/live tracks, if you have his albums, you've got all this music. FWIW, Amazon is selling a boxed brick with every Costello album from "My Aim Is True" through "Blood and Chocolate", with the "Rock And Roll Music" comp tossed in as an extra bonus. No new music, but the packaging is nice and it's supposedly a "limited to Amazon" edition, whatever that means. My ears are shot so I have no idea if these are remastered yet again.

Let's see, how many times have I bought these albums? Just on CD, I have the original Columbia releases, then Rykodisc, then Rhino's double CD editions, the Japanese "mini-LP sleeve" discs, and now Universal's release. That doesn't count oddball stuff (audiophile gold discs, anyone?), all the vinyl versions (domestic + import), 100 + vinyl/cassette/CD singles, cassette tapes for the car, DVDs and that eight-track of "My Aim Is True." I'm sure I'll be buying the direct download to the brain that's coming in the year 2525... because he's JUST THAT GOOD.


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