Elvis Costello traveled to the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall to deliver a message, and by the end of his 2 hour performance, the sold out audience had received it with unanimous approval! “This is a gospel show”, an oft repeated statement throughout the evening, was Elvis’s way of sharing with us the zeal and passion he has for his chosen craft. That feeling was amplified by the fact that he was clearly inspired by his surroundings, the expertly restored and acoustically superb Music Hall. He offered selections from every corner of his vast songbook, some tender, some rough and ragged, all delivered with emotional honesty and enthusiasm. Highlights included, “All This Useless Beauty”, “Deep Dark Truthful Mirror, “Hoover Factory”, and a particularly gripping take on “Shipbuilding”. On the raucous side, we were gifted with “Monkey to Man”, “Less than Zero” and a spine tingling re-working of “Watching the Detectives”, complete with looped guitar riffs, underpinning some reverb drenched leads, and a vocal that gave no indication of the song’s vintage. He even pulled off some respectable whistling, none better than during a heartfelt take on Nat King Cole’s “Walking My Baby Back Home”, dedicated to wife Diana Krall. And even this “know nothing about gear” guy was impressed by the guitars he chose, nothing was wasted or overindulgent, song matching sonic.
I have been blessed with seeing some tremendous live shows this year, and this was without a doubt right up at the top. A gospel show indeed, where the message is received by the ears, the mind and above all the heart. Others apparently agree.