Elvis Costello And The Imposters performing at The Royal Concert Hall Nottingham on Friday 15th June 2018.

Images and Review by Kevin Cooper

Since first bursting onto the punk scene in the 1970’s, Elvis Costello has been making music for nearly fifty years. Embarking upon a twenty date tour of Europe, he made a stop last night at Nottingham’s Royal Concert Hall and drew upon a song catalogue that has gained him distinction as one of the best songwriter’s of his era.

Touring with The Imposters, which now comprise bass player Davey Faragher, drummer Pete Thomas, keyboardist Steve Nieve and the addition of two very talented backing singers, Kitten Kuroi and Briana Lee, who did a splendid job of occasionally covering for Costello who unfortunately seems to have lost some of his edge. Whether it was first night tour nerves or that he was just feeling under the weather, there was without doubt some spark missing.

With a set list that showcased his lengthy career, there was no shortage of both hits and obscurities. Songs such as Tears Before Bedtime taken from Costello fans least favourite album, Imperial Bedroom, was completely re-arranged but just served to highlight the fact that Costello was not firing on all six.

Hits like A Good Year For The Roses seemed to be strained and Watching The Detectives was under whelming. (I Don’t Want To Go To) Chelsea seemed to up the tempo a little before Costello and his band left the stage to bring his hour long main set to a close.

A fifty minute encore began with just Costello and his backing singers gathered around a microphone to produce a choral effect for Alison which went down a treat and then the rest of the band came back for a rousing re-arranged version of Accidents Will Happen, a lovely Talking In The Dark before a real highlight of the night, Costello’s incredible poignant anti war song, Shipbuilding, which was as powerful as ever.

Things were slowed down again for Charles Aznavour’s She, which was followed by Adieu Paris, an unreleased song recorded for the late Johnny Hallyday, which had the crowd back in their seats.

Finishing with Pump It Up and Nick Lowe’s (What So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding they were back on their feet again to deliver rapturous applause but some left the venue feeling that perhaps Costello could have done better last night.