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Elvis Costello & the Attractions

Elvis Costello & the Attractions (Universal Amphitheatre; 6,127 capacity: $ 32.50) Presented by MCA Concerts. Band: Costello, Steve Nieve, Bruce Thomas, Pete Thomas. Reviewed Aug. 27, 1996. Elvis Costello has never been a slave to album versions of his songs when he plays live, but Tuesday's show, the first of two for him and his better-than-ever Attractions at Universal, was a dynamic, sometimes spectacular trip to previously undiscovered nuances and versatility in the man's oeuvre. At more than two hours, including 45 minutes of encore, show rarely dragged. A new and vibrant psychedelic layer has been slipped into songs from throughout Costello's 19-year career, adding further intrigue to the "unplugged" arrangements heard during Elvis' spring tour with keyboardist Steve Nieve. From such nuggets as "Mystery Dance," from 1977's "My Aim Is True," to "The Other End of the Telescope" from Costello's recent "All This Useless Beauty" album (Warner Bros.), most every number was reconfigured. A new walking blues bass line enlivened "Clown Strike," the boisterous "13 Steps Lead Down" featured the ending of 1978's "Radio Radio," while the new "Distorted Angel" and oldie "(I Don't Want to Go to) Chelsea" were spun into a terrif medley that climaxed with the Isley Brothers' "Who's That Lady." Costello's ever-loyal Attractions, the trio whose music helped propel him to the top of the burgeoning late-'70s alternative rock scene, were as in-the-pocket as ever, powerful and heavy when the song demanded, and experimental as well. Costello has said recently this may be his last full tour, and that his music career may even soon be over, facts that add further credit to the risk-taking show undertaken here. Troy J. Augusto

Elvis Costello & the Attractions (Universal Amphitheatre; 6,127 capacity: $ 32.50) Presented by MCA Concerts. Band: Costello, Steve Nieve, Bruce Thomas, Pete Thomas. Reviewed Aug. 27, 1996. Elvis Costello has never been a slave to album versions of his songs when he plays live, but Tuesday’s show, the first of two for him and his better-than-ever Attractions at Universal, was a dynamic, sometimes spectacular trip to previously undiscovered nuances and versatility in the man’s oeuvre. At more than two hours, including 45 minutes of encore, show rarely dragged. A new and vibrant psychedelic layer has been slipped into songs from throughout Costello’s 19-year career, adding further intrigue to the “unplugged” arrangements heard during Elvis’ spring tour with keyboardist Steve Nieve. From such nuggets as “Mystery Dance,” from 1977’s “My Aim Is True,” to “The Other End of the Telescope” from Costello’s recent “All This Useless Beauty” album (Warner Bros.), most every number was reconfigured. A new walking blues bass line enlivened “Clown Strike,” the boisterous “13 Steps Lead Down” featured the ending of 1978’s “Radio Radio,” while the new “Distorted Angel” and oldie “(I Don’t Want to Go to) Chelsea” were spun into a terrif medley that climaxed with the Isley Brothers’ “Who’s That Lady.” Costello’s ever-loyal Attractions, the trio whose music helped propel him to the top of the burgeoning late-’70s alternative rock scene, were as in-the-pocket as ever, powerful and heavy when the song demanded, and experimental as well. Costello has said recently this may be his last full tour, and that his music career may even soon be over, facts that add further credit to the risk-taking show undertaken here. Troy J. Augusto

Elvis Costello & the Attractions

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