The first hot day of the year. I’m happily drinking rose and nibbling at a rather excellent prawn and avocado salad, giggling and gossiping whilst keeping a beady one on my emails – when a note comes in from a pal with tickets to Elvis Costello.
So we’re off to the Albert Hall. In a box. With important folk from Universal. Drinks brought to us. And an epic view direct to the front of stage. Sitting down. Knowing all the words.
We have probably seen Mr Costello’s every stage persona – skinny specie boy, serious songster, and happy man – and last night he was at his most bouncy. The stage was filled with a gorgeous and energetic go-go dancer called Dixie in a cage, the Imposters giving it their all, and a huge spinny wheel.
Punters were plucked from the crowd and asked to spin the wheel to ‘randomly’ pick the next song. The bravest of them then took their turn a-bopping behind bars, or lounged excitedly on the makeshift bar on stage.
Now, a real reviewer would have the set list in her paws, with some insightful remarks on ice, ready to thrill her readers with comments about the tightness of the band, the sharp lighting. I can only say it was an awesome night. Mr MacManus controlled the mood from beginning to end. Fast, slow, angry, funny. Stories, political satire, name-dropping.
He brought his brothers on, with a tear-jerking verbal tribute to their late dad. And after two and a half hours of continuous stage presence, on came special guests to help out. Out of nowhere a rocking Russell Crowe, overjoyed to be singing Elvis with Elvis. Then, a delightful and delighted Glen Tilbrook.
By the end, with Steve Nieve playing the spectacular organ, and when all of us were on our feet and chanting ‘What’s so Funny about Peace Love and Understanding’ – we totally meant it. Grinning from ear to ear, out into a balmy South Ken night.
Words: Susie Innes