CONCERT REVIEW: Elvis Costello & The Imposters, SEC Armadillo, 5th March 2020

Elvis Costello & The Imposters // Photo Credit Stephen Wilson

What superlatives could you throw at Elvis Costello that haven’t been thrown at him a thousand times already? In a career well into its fourth decade, and a back catalogue some could only dream of, the man simply goes on from strength to strength, as he says himself even cancer can’t beat him!

Backed onstage by the usual suspects of Steve Nieve, Pete Thomas and Davey Faragher, with Kitten Kurio and Briana Lee on backing vocals, Elvis and the band ran through a collection of album tracks and singles from throughout his illustrious career, some reworked and revisited with new arrangements which went down well with the audience, with the less well known album tracks giving time for the fair weather fans to visit the bar for a drink top up.

And on to tonight’s setlist.  Opening with Strict Time, Clubland and Green Shirt, and getting the crowd on their feet, a reworked version of Accidents Will Happen, sung with Steve Nieve on piano came next, this arrangement first recorded at Hollywood High in 1978.  Watch Your Step, Flutter & Wow, I Let The Sun Go Down, all great tunes but the bigger hits were what the fans came for.  (I Don’t Want to Go to) Chelsea, A Good Year for the Roses, I Cant Stand Up for Falling Down, Radio Radio, High Fidelity, all dispensed rapid fire from his Fender like bullets from an AK-47, and all receiving a huge roar of approval from the packed Glasgow audience.

Alison, Everyday I Write the Book and Pump It Up closed the first section of the set, the band took their bows and left the stage for a well-deserved break, before returning shortly for a 4 track encore.

Opening with Shipbuilding, a song written in the early 80s and inspired by the hypocrisy of war, with Glasgow’s Clydeside in particular, and other dwindling UK docks seeing more work coming in to build ships for the Falklands Conflict, yet they fill the ships with men from the UK who go to battle with the potential of losing their lives.  The song was recorded by Robert Wyatt and was a top 40 hit a year after the conflict ended.  An aptly timed song, given the location of tonight’s venue, which was once a shipyard in bygone days of yore.

I Want You, a revamped Oliver’s Army and (What’s So Funny Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding and the evening was over.  Not one person filing out the narrow corridors of the auditorium could complain about for the lack of value for money with well over 2 hours on stage, 24 tracks and a genius at work, seeing him up close and personal in a venue with great views and acoustics and a fantastic performance from all members of the band.  Simply sublime. 

Review & Photographs by Stephen Wilson