Friday, November 26, 2010

Curtain Call: Elvis Costello (4/12/79)

You've got to give it up for the Italians. They know how to assemble a good bootleg. For whatever reason, most of my Costello shows have come from "The Boot," and this one, 'I Stand Accused,' is no exception. Every time I listen to it I think, ah, if I could turn back time, this is the show I would attend. Sadly, Cher and I don't have the power. Contrary to the information on the back cover, Costello and the Attractions made this stop at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Penn., on April 12, 1979 (not Lehigh Community College).

The sound on 'I Stand Accused' is raw and a little high on the treble, but I have always been able to get past these issues since the stellar tracklist is matched only by the band's sneers. I love Costello's disdain. "Look at that lot over there," he bellows at the students. "Not a doctor's degree among 'em." Amazingly, some of these lads weren't standing near the end of the show. "We'll give you all a big drum roll, and then you can stand up after the drum roll. Will that make you all feel better?" Then there is my favorite. During the encore, just before "Pump It Up," he yells "watch out!" As the song ends and he goes into the finale of "You Belong to Me," he screams "watch out or we will taunt you a second time!" Gotta love the British sense of humor.

Now a bit about today's songs. "Rhodette's Song" is a cover of a very early Ian Dury tune that's actually called "The Roadette Song." OK, so the Italians aren't into details. It was originally released in 1975 when Dury was in a band called Kilburn and the High-Roads. Remember a couple of weeks ago when I mentioned 'Get Happy!!' was nearly a new-wave record? "High Fidelity" will give you a taste of what I meant. "Accidents Will Happen," as Costello says, was the band's new single in America. The rest of the songs I selected are here because of the enthusiasm to which they were performed. I'm not sure these guys ever sounded better.

1. I Stand Accused
2. Goon Squad
3. Two Little Hitlers
4. B Movie
5. Oliver's Army
6. Girls Talk
7. (I Don't Want To Go To) Chelsea
8. Green Shirt
9. Opportunity
10. Tiny Steps
11. The Beat
12. Rhodette's Song (mp3)
13. High Fidelity (mp3)
14. Accidents Will Happen(mp3)
15. Watching The Detectives
16. Big Boys
17. Radio, Radio (mp3)
18. Pump It Up (mp3)
19. You Belong To Me (mp3)

Also See:
Curtian Call: Elvis Costello (9/22/94)
Curtian Call: Elvis Costello (10/17/83)

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