'Elvis Costello - Detour Live'
(Elvis Costello / DVD / NR / 2016 / Eagle Vision)
Overview: In a little over 100 minutes in front of his home crowd (and his mom), Elvis Costello, performer and songwriter extraordinaire, takes you on a musical journey through his vast songbook.
DVD Verdict: I have LOVED Elvis Costello ever since I first purchased his 'Oliver's Army' 7" vinyl single back in 1979. One of my very first 7" vinyl singles - there were to be thousands more added over the decades - it still holds a dear place in my heart. Born Declan Patrick MacManus, but always better known by his stage name Elvis Costello, he is an English musician, singer-songwriter and record producer. He began his career as part of London's pub rock scene in the early 1970s and later became associated with the first wave of the British punk and new wave movement of the mid-to-late 1970s.
For those that only know him as that occasional character on 'Two And A Half Men' and the husband of Diana Krall (whom he married in December 2003 at Elton John's home), his critically acclaimed debut album, My Aim Is True, was recorded in 1977. Shortly after recording it he formed the Attractions as his backing band. His second album, This Year's Model, was released in 1978, and was ranked number 11 by Rolling Stone on its list of the best albums from 1967–1987. His third album, Armed Forces, was released in 1979, and features his most successful single, the aforementioned 'Oliver's Army'. His first three albums all appeared on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
Here on 'Detour Live at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall,' Costelllo brings is a solo show quite like he has never done before. Set in a 1960's living room with an oversized television broadcasting never-seen-before personal photos, 'Detour Live At Liverpool Philharmonic Hall' sees Costello up front and proto-punk with guitar, powerfully heartfelt at the grand piano, and in playful mood sat down with the uke.
The presentation opens with various shots of the UK city of Liverpool. With Costello himself a keen football fan, supporting Premier League football club Liverpool F.C. since childhood, it meant right way that this live show was like returning to his birthplace, one assumes. As he takes the stage, unassuming in a white hat, jeans and jacket, behind him on the big TV screen a gorilla is vacuuming!! Staying front stage Costello gives us acoustic guitar versions of 'Red Shoes,' 'Watch Your Step,' a stunningly bare 'Accidents Will Happen,' and a quite stirring 'Church Underground.'
"That's my Ma'm," he says, casting a quick look over his shoulder at the TV screen and seeing an old black and white photo of a lady there. "Never misses a show. Yep, that's my Ma'm in our bohemian basement back in the 1950's," he adds before launching into the rarity rocker '45'. Once that is done he sits down at his piano, a big red letter N emblazoned megaphone at his side, and relates the story of how he was once a computer operator. He then goes on to relate a story of how a fellow computer operator once said to him, "When it comes to all machinery if it misbehaves just creep up on it unexpectedly"! He then adds that he's taken the same approach to the piano! Then comes a quite brilliant double bill in both 'Shipbuilding' and one of my all-time EC favorites, 'I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down.'
As you can already tell, in-between songs, Costello treats the audience to stories about his earliest memories and reveals through anecdotes more about his family, the origins of his music and traveling life on the road. Next up is a whistle-happy 'Walkin' My Baby Back Home,' which leads us into 'Ghost town' ("I wouldn't be sitting here on this stage now if it wasn't for the fact that my dad was a singer before me," he admits, head bowed slightly now as if in genuine remembrance), and then both 'When I Was Cruel No. 2' and a delightful 'Watching The Detectives.'
Spontaneously entertaining, acerbically witty and slapstick funny, looking back to look forward, and at times highly revealing, 'Detour Live at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall' continues on in much the same vein throughout the entire show: 'If I Had A Hammer,' a rousing rendition of a collaborative piece he did with Paul McCartney 'Pads, Paws, And Claws,' 'That's Not The Part Of Him You're Leaving,' an emotive Bob Dylan reinvention of 'Down On The Bottom,' 'Blame It On Cain,' ' a stunningly brilliant 'Alison,' 'A Good Year For The Roses,' 'Side By Side,' 'Jimmie Standing In The Rain,' and then both 'Peace Love And Understanding' and 'Golden Tom - Silver Judas.'
Expecting the unexpected was always the underlying burning ember of this live performance and so we get some delightful Bonus Tracks here in the form of 'Love Field' (with Larkin Poe), 'Either Side of The Same Town,' a rather haunting 'Brilliant Mistake' (again with Poe), and then finally, 'Ascension Day.' 'Elvis Costello: Detour Live At Liverpool Philharmonic Hall' is something that if you are a fan you need to own, but even if you are a casual observer of great music, is something that if you give just ten minutes to, I can guarantee you will become a lifelong fan thereafter. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.
Own it on Blu-ray™ and DVD 2/13!