Elvis Costello Sings, With A Political Undercurrent

When I last saw Elvis Costello at New York’s Beacon Theatre, it was just days before the election 2016 Presidential Election and feelings were raw. He opened the show with the fascist-themed “Night Rally.”

Elvis Costello at City Parks Foundation’s SummerStage
Elvis Costello at City Parks Foundation’s SummerStage

This year at at City Parks Foundations SummerStage show on June 15, after more than a year touring with the “Imperial Bedroom” tour, he was somewhat more subdued, but no less political. He opened the show by saying events “Every song we thought of singing tonight sounded like the beginning of a terrible satirical routine: ‘Waiting for the End of the World,’ ‘American Gangster Time,’ ‘Brilliant Mistake’ — and this one,” before diving into “Accidents Will Happen.”

Elvis Costello at City Parks Foundation’s SummerStage
Elvis Costello at City Parks Foundation’s SummerStage

He was accompanied by longtime keyboardist Steve Nieve, drummer Pete Thomas and bassist Davey Faragher — and Kitten Kuroi and Brianna Lee who sang backup.

Elvis Costello at City Parks Foundation’s SummerStage
Elvis Costello at City Parks Foundation’s SummerStage

The “Imperial Bedroom” songs took Elvis back to recalling a powerful writing moment in his long and varied career.

Elvis Costello at City Parks Foundation’s SummerStage
Elvis Costello at City Parks Foundation’s SummerStage

Elvis told the crowd of when he and his band The Attractions went into London’s AIR Studios in 1981 to begin work on Imperial Bedroom “you could look out into the center of London, down there into Oxford Circus, and see people coming home from work late at night when we were recording. You didn’t know whether they were heartbroken or happy and on their way to the greatest night of their life, and I tried to put some of those things in the songs.”

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