Review: Elvis Costello leaves memorable impression on only Scottish tour date

Elvis Costello - Edinburgh Festival Theatre. Calum Buchan

Elvis Costello - Edinburgh Festival Theatre. Calum Buchan

0
Have your say

This magical evening saw Elvis Costello take the audience on a journey through his and our past.

DOWNLOAD THE EDINBURGH EVENING NEWS APP ON ITUNES OR GOOGLE PLAY

Elvis Costello performing his Detour in Edinburgh's Festival Theatre. Picture Calum Buchan

Elvis Costello performing his Detour in Edinburgh's Festival Theatre. Picture Calum Buchan

200 Voices: find out more about the people who have shaped Scotland

The only Scottish date on his Detour tour, for two and a half hours he freewheeled through his vast back catalogue, charming with anecdotes and recollections from a lifetime in and around the music business.

Opening with 1978’s This Year’s Girl, a giant 60s-style TV dominating the set flashed up images to illustrate the various songs. On guitar and piano, crowd favourites included Shipbuilding, Watching the Detectives, Oliver’s Army, Accidents Will Happen, a spine-tingling version of Alison, sung without any amplification, and She.

As striking as his musicianship and lyrics was his voice, which sounded gorgeous. He can deliver heartbreak like few can. He played four songs from A Face in the Crowd, a new musical he is working on, including a jingle-inspired Vitajex (on ukulele) and They Call Me Mrs Lonesome.

As he swapped musical styles, Elvis traded his red trilby for a white one or dispensed with it all together when the electric guitar came out. All the while, he was tugging at the musical thread that links him to his father, band leader Ross McManus, and grandfather Pat, who was a bandsman in the First World War and then a musician on cruise liners.

Other stand-out tracks played included 1998’s Toledo, which he co-wrote with Burt Bacharach, Indoor Fireworks and the haunting Church Underground. Ensuring we saw a flash of grit and steel, he ended with anti-Thatcher song, Tramp the Dirt Down. Only then did Elvis leave the building.