Concert-ing: Elvis Costello at the Civic Theater on March 12, 2015

Elvis at the Civic Theater in New Orleans

Elvis at the Civic Theater in New Orleans

I have seen most of the bands I have wanted to see in concert through the years.  However, I have never seen a few bands.  I probably will never see a few like David Bowie.  Elvis Costello came to town recently and I could check another one off my list.

Elvis’s show was a solo performance.  Except for the first encore, he was the only person on the stage.  This type of show, along with the setting of the Civic Theater, allowed for the most intimate show I have yet attended.

Elvis’s voice was in fine form for the entire two and half hours he played.  He also demonstrated how talented of a guitar player he is.  The setlist was all over his catalog of “some 300-400 songs” as he put it.  He played hits, covers, and some deep tracks. Songs like “Alison” and “Pump it Up” were faithful to the originals while “Beyond Belief” and “I Can’t Stand Up for Falling Down” took on a different arrangement completely. Loop machines allowed him to create big sounds on some songs most notably on “Watching the Detectives.”

The crowd was a sell out that helped sing the backing parts on most songs.  Yet, the crowd was not the only help that Elvis received.  Allen Toussaint came out to play the entire first encore. Elvis seemed to be as delighted as his fans were with this.

We have seen some concerts that have had long run times recently (Elton John and Paul McCartney).  What was unique about this one was that it was not in a big arena.  The Civic is a small enough place that Elvis could actually tell personal stories.  In fact, the show threatened a few times to turn into Storyteller, not that anyone in the audience would have minded. In fact, one of the best rounds of applause of the night came from a story about Elvis’s dad.

Elvis at the Civic Theater in New Orleans

Elvis at the Civic Theater in New Orleans

Then again, some songs, such as “Shipbuilding” hit you in the gut with their own stories and do not need to be embellished. Elvis’s songs are stories in and of themselves.

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