Tag Archives: Elvis Costello

The catch-all, clean up post for 2012

Been a busy, busy year.  I didn’t get every show reviewed, but I did get a number of the highlights.

In an effort to wipe the slate clean, here’s a list and a word or two about each one.  And, a hope that I can keep up better in 2013!

January:

Kool and the Gang – PCMA – reviewed

Joe Bonamassa – Baked Potato – reviewed

February:

Frank Turner – SLO Brewery – reviewed

Estelle – Anthology – My niece is in her band, so I was there to have fun and relax.

Frank Turner – Slidebar – reviewed

Frank Turner – Fox Pomona – reviewed

April:

Springsteen – IZOD Center – reviewed

Springsteen – Madison Square Garden – reviewed

Springsteen – Sports Arena – reviewed

Springsteen – Sports Arena – reviewed

Coachella – Three days, four posts…and still didn’t cover it all.  Interesting experience…but not sure I’d do it again.  A few good bands stick out in my mind.  The Head and the Heart, Dawes, Pulp, Bon Iver, M83, Madness, Kasabian, Givers.  And others….like Radiohead really didn’t do much for me.  Coupled with the hit-and-miss, the long walks and the heat.  This will stay on my “glad I did it list”, but not my “I want to go again” list.

May:

Jackson Browne – Largo –  Took a good friend to help give him a break and sadly we had to leave early to rush home for an ill family member. What I did see was  personal and moving.  The last song before the set break really sticks in my mind.  A version of Leonard Cohen’s “Thousand Kisses Deep”.  There’s a version on iTunes you can buy (not from this show, but live….I highly recommend it.)

June:

Head and the Heart – Observatory – reviewed

Beach Boys – Irvine Meadows – Took my nephew and just hung out.  They played a generous and overall fun show.  Nothing to review though.

Spyro Gyra/Lee Rittenour – Hyatt Newporter –  Seen both numerous times over the years…always fun and always the highest quality.

Dukes of September – Universal Amphitheater – Donald Fagen, Boz Scaggs and Michael McDonald….what else can I add to that line up.  Great show, great fun.

July:

Howard Jones – Coach House – Doing two of his best albums complete.  Human’s Lib and Dream into Action.  I went on a whim, my sister passed away the day before I just needed some music.  Not in any shape that night to review, but it was a good show.

August:

Weird Al – OC Fair – I was supposed to see another show at the Fair that missed due to my sister.

Delgado Brothers – Brea Street Fair – Good friends, good music, but not really a show to review…just one to enjoy.

September:

Jack’s Show – Irvine Meadows – Joe Walsh, Pat Benatar, Toto, Mc Hammer, Gin Blossoms and Missing Persons.  Pretty cool show with friends.  The only real miss was MC Hammer, late and not a very good show.  Everyone else was fun.  The Gin Blossoms, Toto and Benatar all totally killed it.  Jow Walsh was a little self indulgent, as was Missing Persons.

Frank Turner – HOB Anaheim – reviewed

Estelle – Greek Theatre – Another trip to see my talented niece perform with Estelle….however LA traffic limited us to the last two songs…We didn’t stay to watch Anthony Hamilton headline…

October:

Elvis Costello – Irvine Barkley – reviewed

Head and the Heart – Wiltern – My third time seeing them this year….and of the same quality as the two shows I’d reviewed.

Joe Jackson – Orpheum – Doing mostly Duke Ellington from his new album, it was a very good and crowd pleasing show.

November:

Counting Crows – Grove of Anaheim – Wish I’d reviewed them…a great show, really a surprise how good they were live.  Loved it.

(I was supposed to see Steve Windwood at the Greek and I was so sick that I had to pass…disappointing.)

December:

Graham Parker and the Rumor – Wilbur Theatre – reviewed

Graham Parket and the Rumor/Lindsey Buckingham/Ryan Adams – Roxy – reviewed

Delgado Brothers – Harvelle’s – New Years Eve show tomorrow night!

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Elvis Costello – Irvine Barkley Theatre – October 2, 2012

I’ve seen a number of amazing shows so far this year.

Bruce Springsteen, four times…each different and each amazing.

Jackson Browne at the Largo holding a room spellbound.

The Head and the Heart at Coachella with the most amazing harmonies floating into the late afternoon heat.

The passion of Frank Turner twice and even the cool funk of the Dukes of September as the covered Buddy Miles, Sly Stone and the Isley Brothers.

But, tonight Elvis Costello put on a jaw-dropping show that I’d hold up alongside any of them, maybe only giving Bruce a slight edge due to the sheer force and power of his shows.  This was a different animal than that…so to compare them would be like apples to hubcaps…just not worth even trying.  Two different things, by two different artists with a clear vision and ability to age not just gracefully, but relevantly as they do so.

I saw Elvis with the Impostors back in 2002 in Long Beach, then I saw him solo in a show similar to this at the Queens Hall in London in 2002.  That show was good, this show was great.  (Even though Richard Thompson guested with him in London…)

Surrounded by an array of guitars and piano, he played a near two hour set that ranged from the feedback soaked loops of “Watching the Detectives” to the un-amplified hushed tones of his set closing “Allison”.  He played the hits, but some of the most compelling moments were the newer songs and covers.  Opening with a strong “Angels Wanna Wear My Red Shoes” and it’s brilliant opening line: “…Oh, I used to be disgusted, now I try to be amused…” that transitioned into one of the best covers of Bob Dylan’s “When I Paint My Masterpiece” since Levon Helm did it back in the 70’s.  That seemed to set the tone for the evening…even though the tour was called the “2054 The Centenary Tour” in a mocking reference to his 100th birthday…(coming up in only 42 years…)  He later mentioned learning after naming the tour that Americans call it a centennial, and thus many had read it as the “cemetery tour” and expected a Halloween show.

He was an engaging host throughout the evening, telling stories about his dad singing in workingman’s clubs, singing a song about his three sons and dedicating a sweet version of “Walking My Baby Back Home” to his “gal” (Diana Krall, who he admitted missing very much in the intro).  It had all the best informality of sitting around and listening to the most talented friend you know play music, but he never wandered too far or slowed the momentum of the show.

Three tracks from his National Ransom album from a couple years ago really stood out to me, as did a gripping version of “Bedlam” from his DeliveryMan album.  The National Ransom songs: “Jimmie in the rain” which told the sad tale of a performer with a suitcase containing a book of poetry and a lariat he used “late at night” with further comments reserved as it was a family show…”A Slow Drag with Josephine” with it’s 1920’s swing…and most grippingly a menacing take on “Stations of the Cross” that traded the produced feel of the album version for a version that was deeper and richer in it’s stripped down simplicity.  I couldn’t find a good solo version on YouTube, so here’s one with the Roots from Jimmy Fallon.

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Other standouts were the hits: “Veronica”, “Everyday I Write the Book” and a ukulele plucked version of the old Glenn Miller standard “I Know Why”.  It was just one of those amazing nights when it all clicks.  Sure, I’d have loved to have heard a dozen different songs…he has a big catalog.  But, I wouldn’t trade a single note out to replace anything he did.

This one goes right to the top of my annual list into some very good company.  Shows like this are why I go in the first place…magic happens that you’ll never get off a recording.

Until next time…

(Which is actually Friday night for the Head and the Heart at the Wiltern!)

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Wrapping up 2010

Wow, where do I start….

As evidenced by the previous posts I had a pretty amazing year of concert-going.  A near lifelong quest completed, an epic show I’d missed 30 years ago revisited.  A music oriented couple weeks in London.  Countless HOF members of the Rock Hall of Fame….heck a ton of them in just a single week.  Shows with good friends old and new.  Hard to even wrap my head around the whole thing.

Here’s the list:

Keb’ Mo’ – Coach House – Jan 14

The Blasters, John Doe, Rumble King – Coach House – Feb 20

Peter Gabriel – Hollywood Bowl – May 7

Styx, Kansas, Foreigner – Citizens Bank Arena – May 19

Richard Thompson – Royal Festival Hall – June 19

Green Day, Joan Jett – Wembley Stadium – June 19

Elvis Costello – Royal Festival Hall – June 20

Glastonbury – June 23-27

Jackson Browne – Albert Hall – June 29

Jack Johnson – O2 Arena – June 30

Laura Marling, Fanfarlo, Peggy Sue, Smoke Fairies – Hyde Park – July 1

Hop Farm – July 2-3

Jools Holland – Kew Gardens – July 6

Barenaked Ladies, Kris Allen, Angel Taylor – Greek Theatre – July 22

Blondie, Gorevette – Pacific Amphitheatre – August 8

Rush – Irvine Meadows – August 13

Al Yankovic – Pacific Amphitheatre – August 14

Scissor Sisters – DAR Consitiution Hall – August 23

Neil Finn – Largo – September 11

Muse, Passion Pit – Staples Center – September 25

Gorillaz, N.E.R.D. – Gibson – October 27

Bonobo – Music Box – November 26

Roger Waters – Staples Center – November 29

Roger Waters – Honda Center – December 13

Roger Waters – Honda Center – December 14

Twenty three shows and two festivals in all.  I don’t think I could even pick a “best”.  However a few things to note do occur to me.

Worst sound, Scissor Sisters.  Horrible mix that completely left the vocals out, and it’s not like I had a crappy seat, I was in the 5th row.  Really guys?  Totally detracted from an interesting performance.

Only show I left early, Jack Johnson.  It was okay, but very one-note.  I like his studio stuff, but in a huge arena it was lost.  Put the same show in an intimate venue and I might have loved it.  Add to the experience that I was a bit sick that night and it was just not a compelling show.

Most disappointing, Muse/Passion Pit.  Passion Pit left me cold and Muse after all the hype just didn’t live up to expectations.  Lot’s of copped riffs and wasted technology that didn’t go anywhere.  If you want to use technology look to Gabriel, Waters or even the Pet Shop Boys.  This was “sound and fury that signified nothing”…

Most intimate, Neil Finn.  The Largo is magic when Neil plays there and the September show was no exception.  An obscure setlist that actually added to the special feeling of the evening.  You knew even while watching this was the sort of thing that would never be duplicated.  Jackson Browne in the acoustic tent at Glastonbury was a close second.  While the masses grooved to Stevie Wonder….Jackson held court for a few hundred lucky folks and spun magic with his sidekick David Lindley.  Moving and unique almost sell short just how very special a way it was to end my Glastonbury experience.

Surprises…How awesome Gorillaz were in LA after disappointing in Glastonbury.

Bonobo, Midlake, Hot Chip, Fanfarlo, Laura Marling, Mumford & Sons, Two Door Cinema Club, Magic Numbers, The Bees….none of whom I knew before 2010 and who all get extensive spins regularly on my ipod now.

How great Rush could be at doing “Moving Pictures” after being somewhat average the other time I’d seen them previously….this show made up for that one in spades.

Disappointment….U2 having to cancel in Anaheim and Glastonbury…(of course it does give me a couple shows to look forward to in 2011 already…)

Well, that’s it…another year in the books, and an amazing one at that.  Curious to see what 2011 (and beyond) will bring?  But, it’ll be hard for any year to reach the heights of 2010 for me.

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My Concert Agenda for London

Well, since this is going to be a trip mostly about seeing concerts, I now have most of my shows scheduled and tickets bought…Only one more show to still book, and more about that later.

The Plan:

June  19 – Richard Thompson – “1000 years of popular song”.  I have the CD of this show he did a few years back.  He touches on songs from the 12th century right on up to Bowling for Soup.  This is part of the Meltdown Festival at the Royal Festival Hall and he’s one of those guys who somehow I’ve missed each time he’s passed through town.  Critically, he’s names as one of the top 20 all time guitarists.

June 20 – Elvis Costello – Solo Acoustic. Also part of Meltdown.  Really, what can you say about him?  Plus, seeing him in London…should be awesome!

June 23-27 – Glastonbury….MUCH more about this later…

June 29 – Jackson Browne & David Lindley.  Found a great single floor seat for Royal Albert Hall when I get back from Glasto.  They are playing twice at the festival, but knowing I can see them here will free me up for others acts at the festival itself and reduces my potential clash list of bands by one.

June 30 – Jack Johnson at O2 Arena.  Another show I found a great single for.  Love his music and never seen him live.  He’s also playing Glastonbury, but for the reasons above, knowing I’ll see him in London takes another potential conflict away at Glasto.

July 1 – Laura Marling – Serpentine Sessions in Hyde Park.  Honestly, don’t know much about her, but the little I’ve heard puts her into the Regina Spektor, Imogen Heap class.  Close to my hotel (short walk) and I’ve always wanted to see a show in Hyde Park.  She’s also at Glasto and Hop Farm.  But, the setting of Hyde Park is too cool to pass up.  Support acts still to be named…so many be Mumford & Sons who record with her?  One can only hope…

July 2 – Hop Farm with Van Morrison!  Just amazing…a chance to see Van in the UK at a really interesting sounding smaller festival.  Still no idea who else will be playing, but Van is enough draw to get me out there…

July 3 – Hop Farm day 2…No ticket yet, but leaning this way.  Bob Dylan, Ray Davies top the bill….pretty sure I’ll end up going to this.

A small gap with the potential to see Dr John, CSN or Buddy Guy…still not nailed down…and I may need a night off…:)

July 6 – My last night- Jools Holland at Kew Gardens.  An outdoor show in a botanical garden with one of my favorite bands that never tours the US.  A suitable way to wrap three full weeks of music.

So, there you have it.  Less than three weeks that includes pretty much a who’s who of the rock and roll hall of fame (U2, Stevie Wonder, Ray Davies, Jackson Browne, Elvis Costello, Van Morrison, Bob Dylan) my favorite songwriters (Squeeze, Nick Lowe, Al Stewart, Willie Nelson, Jack Johnson, David Lindley) and newcomers that I’m enjoying already (Muse, Midlake, Hot Chip, Magic Numbers, Imelda May, Laura Marling)…and all to be seen live and in person in less than 20 days in the UK!

WOW, am I excited?…a little, just a little….

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