Those who came to the Palace Theatre to see Elvis Costello on Monday got their money’s worth. The 59-year-old musician guided his audience on a tour of his eclectic and prolific catalogue. His set included big hits like “Veronica,” “Allison,” and “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding,” as well as deeper jewels such as “Green Shirt” and surprise covers such as the Beatles’ “You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away.”
The concert lasted two and a half hours and included an eleven song – yes eleven-song – encore. Most impressively, he performed the entire show solo, switching between an electric piano and an arsenal of at least ten guitars, both electric and acoustic. Costello utilized a pedal board that enabled him to loop guitar parts on certain selections like “Watching the Detectives,” and also create sonic variations from song to song. Not being a slave to his original recordings, Costello reimagined a number of his classics. For the tune “Radio Soul,” he altered some of the lyrics of “Radio, Radio,” played it on an acoustic guitar, and also changed the strumming pattern so that at times the song sounded like a hybrid of early Springsteen meets “Pinball Wizard.”
The chance to see a solo concert of Elvis Costello does not happen often. Costello has dubbed this series of shows “The Last Year of My Youth Tour,” and each night has featured a different set list. Full of energy, the singer’s voice was in fine form as he demonstrated that he still could hit most of the high notes and sing each track with genuine conviction. He even stepped away from the microphone for a section of a song to demonstrate the power of his voice, which could be heard without amplification throughout the Palace Theatre. Costello told a couple of stories and jokes between songs. He reflected upon his early days and playing Cleveland’s Agora Theatre by quipping, “I always like a place where your feet stick to the carpet.” All in all, it was a moving and inspired performance. Seeing this iconic songwriter perform in such an acoustically well-designed and beautiful venue as Cleveland’s Palace Theatre made the night extra memorable.
Here’s a video from the show that The Zender Agenda posted: