Elvis Costello and Steve Nieve at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
23 April, 1999
Review by Rupert Cocking
Here is a scan of Glasgow’s Friday night’s set list as removed from the Nieve Steinway. [This is not currently included in this review ] The only deviations were that Poor Fractured Atlas and Telescope were dropped on the evening in question. As you can see the ‘spontaneity’ of the five encores is quite well orchestrated in advance. Otherwise it was a typical blinder of a performance from EC & and a rather subdued, at least by his usual manic standards, Steve Nieve.
Elvis’ voice having had five days rest was in fine fettle. The normally excellent God’s Comic was marred only slightly by The Man’s insistence on lapsing mid-song in order to take verbal pops at Celine Dion, and among other things The Verve’s ‘The Drug’s Don’t Work’ as being typical examples of naff pop music. This meandering vamp ceased immediately (not surprisingly) when some wag in the crowd quipped ‘What about ‘Party, Party’ then?’
Few surprises during the evening. A couplet from 24 Hours from Tulsa crept into the back end of ‘Accidents’ but, apart from that, it was straightforward Costello all the way. My personal favourite, Indoor Fireworks, was absolutely flawless throughout and, surprisingly, the only song where I actually pined for the absent Thomas’ rhythm section was the always excellent Peace,Love & Understanding which, considering we’re talking about a marathon two and a half hour show, amazed me.
And how to finish off? Although it was well anticipated, by some, the completely unplugged Couldn’t Call it Unexpected #4 still had the old neck hairs at right angles, what a damn clever idea. Who could possibly have thought that twenty two years on, the wee man with the big chip on his shoulder would still be up there giving it laldy and still getting better?