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Elvis Costello and The Imposters, Orpheum Theater Boston, Tuesday October 25th, 2016, Reviewed



Elvis Costello. There’s a name we’ve heard a lot about lately Last year at this time he was peddling his book “Unfaithful Music, Invisible Ink”. Doing Q&A’s from coast to coast offering anecdotes on his life, his family, his history and at age 60 he spoke like a man with nothing to lose.

Suddenly out of nowhere New Waves bad boy was on shows like CBS Sunday Morning, what the actual hell happed to the angry Elvis? Well that’s easy enough, ‘he’s not angry anymore’

Nor should he be. Successful enough to do as he pleases he has had his own TV show, throws down oddball out of left field tours in tiny venues. His fans will follow him wherever he may go. From his pockmarked early days to his rounder middle aged to the new, hat wearing fit- Costello endures.

There have been many reports that the old bloke’s voice is on its way out. Tuesday night at The Orpheum Theater in Boston, he proved those people have no auditory skill. Everyone imagines the first thing to go is the range- but I think tonight Mr. Costello showed he’s not degenerating yet.

The Imperial Bedroom and Other Chambers tour is on its third stop. A set list with some pretty interesting change ups and in the cavern of filth as I like to refer to the Orpheum. Elvis took us on a journey to what I consider one of his very best albums. With some added bonuses.

But there is a different element involved this go round. I sorted it out that this was my 11th time seeing Costello and there was something just not sitting right. Gone is that shy smile, you know the one I mean the ‘aw shucks’ sort of private joke smile he so often flashed. Gone is the scowl. Gone is that angst and in its place? Well, try as I may the only descriptive I can come up with is.. Bruce Springsteen.

Elvis Costello is making the grand guitar neck grabbing gestures of an arena rock god. I have never seen his pelvis more active. I have never seen him sans tie… and with a gold chain peeking from his chest hairs, wait who is this guy? In gigs past Elvis had no sexual prowess, but at the Orpheum he morphed into Elvis the Pelvis and well .. I’m not complaining.

Tuesday night with the assistance of Steve Naive, and Pete Thomas original Attractions the old trio hopped on through Imperial Bedroom and some hits for the fans. I always become slightly miffed when the crowd goes insane for mediocrity. The good news is “Accidents Will Happen” had Elvis’ voice giving me chills and despite the dim wit behind me loudly proclaiming that “Almost Blue” was (and I quote him) ‘ a standard from the 40’s’, the tempos got slowed down, bringing a softer element that I think was supposed to be sultry- it just didn’t work as such. The songs were gorgeous, but sultry? Nah.

Highlight “Party Girl”. and the encores “Beyond Belief”

Low Lights? That tired version of “Shabby Doll”, coulda done better. That and the fact that he called the Orpheum the Palace twice. (Costello plays the Albany Palace Theater tonight) I am honored and excited to see Elvis again in Connecticut on November 5th. I am hoping again for the pelvis action, but if I can make a gentle plea for a bit more awkward and a bit less thrust? Little fool little fool…

Grade B+ with a stiffy


  1. dave newman on October 26, 2016 at 5:52 pm

    and Davey Farragher on Bass,

  2. James Ford on October 26, 2016 at 7:19 pm

    Party Girl, one of my all time faves.
    Also, Riot Act.

  3. Michael Kidd on October 27, 2016 at 1:13 am

    I, too, enjoyed the show however it was my first Elvis Costello concert. Imperial Bedroom is my favorite of his albums so this event was a jackpot for me. Perhaps in Mr. Costello’s Tuesday tour through his songbook, we were both in one of its ‘other chambers’ when he referred to a palace. The vibe of Boston’s concert was ‘Get Happy – this is a great night for fans’. I felt like the King of America. I enjoyed your article except I think its Steve Nieve ( born Nason) not Naïve. The Orpheum has seen better days and frankly, so have I, I just had my hip done. A long time ago, I saw Queen on two concert tours. Elvis will never have Freddie’s pipes and life is fleeting. At 62, Elvis Costello was very good. I agree the show had that Springsteen marathon staying power and showmanship. Costello gave us his all!

  4. Mary Hyland on October 27, 2016 at 5:47 am

    I love Elvis Costello, have since the first time I saw him mess things up on SNL so long ago…who is this weirdo? Is he really as talented as he appears? And what a disgusting mouth on him! But, as they say, youth is wasted on the young. While he may not be angry anymore he can still perform songs like Green Shirt or Party Girl like it’s the first time. But he is much older now and so am I….if he’s got a mind to rework a song or perform it from a new perspective then why not? Well, the last time I saw him was a summer ago when he opened for Steely Dan. He pretty much ripped through his songs but I could see the fire was still there as he weaved in and out of beauties I’ve known and loved for over 30 years. He wore a heavily fitted jacket in the oppressive August heat and left his hat on. I kept wondering if he’d have a heat stroke. I never witnessed any pelvic action, however, or maneuvers with any of his instruments. That would definitely have given me pause to wonder, is the guy losing it? And he was wearing a gold chain? I hope it was just the glint of spotlight but if he was, well, maybe he has finally taken a page from his dad’s book of showmanship..although I am rather hoping it was merely a momentary lapse of reason.

  5. Ira Hart on October 27, 2016 at 12:11 pm

    The Boston show on 10/25 at the Orpheum had major sound system issues. Elvis and the Imposters were amazing but the sound was horribly distorted. Not sure if it was an amplifier or blown speakers.

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