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9:00 pm 12:00 am

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Elvis Costello The Cabot, Beverly, Massachusetts USA

Written by on March 9, 2023

While the cold days of winter are slowly dwindling in New England, the concert scene is beginning to re-up. The upcoming summer concert roster appears as if it’s going to be an amazing one and some cool tours are already starting to swing by.

In a major coup for the Beverly, Massachusetts venue, The Cabot, Elvis Costello and the Imposters performed at the theater on March 7, 2023.

Costello has been a bit of a touring workhorse lately and has performed shows in Massachusetts this past August, and another show in Worcester just three days before The Cabot gig.

Opening with “This Year’s Girl” and “The Boy Named If”, Costello soon turned up the ’70s vibes with the iconic “Radio Radio”. “Radio Radio” was the same song that was responsible for his multi-year ban on “Saturday Night Live”, and Costello reminisced a bit about the band’s trip to New York City and taking a cab to NBC Studios in 1977.

Never one to solely rely on his back catalog, Costello played an unreleased tune, “I Don’t Want Your Lyndon Johnson”, and 2002’s stellar “When I Was Cruel #2” (which included a snippet of ABBA’s “Dancing Queen”).

Costello has been fortunate to have employed a couple of the best backing bands in history, with The Attractions (his original unit) and his current cohorts, The Imposters (Steve Nieve, keyboards; Pete Thomas, drums; Davey Faragher, bass; and Charlie Sexton, lead guitar) who were spot-on all evening.

Costello’s brilliance was on full display with the amazing “Accidents Will Happen” (from 1979’s “Armed Forces” disc) and when he resurrected his reggafied standard “Watching The Detectives.”

Costello was in a very chatty mood and told many a great story. He reminisced about how his parents had met over the counter at a record store (which added to his love of the vinyl format) and his days in Catholic school. He talked about receiving his Confirmation (at age 13) and when he had to pick a Conformation name (for those not familiar with Catholicism: a Confirmation name is usually a Saint’s name and comes after your first and middle name, but before your last name). Since The Beatles were all the rage at the time, the school superiors banned the using of John or Paul as a Confirmation name, as they were on to the reason why.

Changing things up a bit, Costello sat at a piano and ran through “Blood & Hot Sauce”. Soaked in politically-charged lyrics, (“You’re tired of the lies of politicians and of preachers/You can put your trust in me”) and a bit of a honkey-tonk beat, it reminded one a bit of, stylistically, a Billy Joel number (sitting at the piano helped make the comparison).

With such an amazing guitarist onboard as Sexton to handle the complex guitar leads, Costello did a faithful late-show version of “Allison”.

Except for “Magnificent Hurt”, the last batch of songs were vintage Costello with “(I Don’t Want to Go to) Chelsea”, “Pump it Up” and “”What’s So Funny ’bout) Peace, Love and Understanding?”, ending a tremendous and eclectic evening.

 


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