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3.6 out of 5 stars19
3.6 out of 5 stars
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on 26 May 2012
Elvis doesn't release all that many live albums, but when he does he pulls out a cracker of an album.

More often than not, Elvis's live tracks appear as bonuses on reissues, i.e the live recordings on the 2cd sets of Almost Blue, Punch the Clock, Goodbye Cruel World, and King of America. I know these are now long-since deleted. Likewise, I think the collaboration with Bill Frisell from 1995 at the Meltdown Festival is also deleted. Archive recordings from El Mocambo and Hollywood High have been issued, but we tend not to have anything contemporaneous. This, however, redresses the balance.

Now the contentious issue: who's better, the Attractions or Impostors ? By far The Impostors, as Bruce Thomas' tenure was becoming impossible. The Impostors backed Elvis on, quite possibly, his greatest album, The Delivery Man, and on the amazing River In Reverse with Allen Toussaint. They also show, as evinced from this album, that they can be brilliantly subtle on God Give Me Strength and All Grown Up, unlike the Attractions.

I would also add that the opening salvo, from I Hope You're Happy Now through to Radio Radio, are improvements on their previous recordings. Steve Nieve's organ work has certainly improved from his time, way back when, as an Attraction. It is also a nice tip of the hat to the Nick Lowe basher productions. I would also add that Every day I Write The Book is a great improvement upon the over-produced Clanger Winstanly version on Punch The Clock.

Years' back, in 1995, Elvis supported Bob Dylan at Brixton Academy. I had the pleasure of hearing God Give Me Strength for the first time. Herein, it retains its greatness, and is on a par with the My Flame Burns Blue live album version. I would also add that Watching the Detectives follows, and is given a wonderful treatment. I prefer the Bernard Hermann influenced version from My Flame Burns Blue, but this is almost as good.

I Want You is nine minutes of a tour de force. I have always liked this track, be it with the Attractions at Royal Albert Hall, in which Elvis medleyed it with I Say A Little Prayer, or with the Rude Five during an unplugged session. It is nice to see a live version of it on an official album.

The surprise of the album is Out of Time, a cover of Aftermath era Rolling Stones. The Stones wrote some corking Brit pop, be it Yesterday's Papers, Who's Been Sleeping Here, Mother's Little Helper, She Smiled Sweetly, which influenced Elvis on This Year's Model. I think he refers, within the sleeve notes to Girls Girls Girls, as using Aftermath as an influence. Here he returns to this influence with aplomb.

What else do I like about this album ? The fact that Elvis revisits the 1986 Spinning Wheel vibe by collaborating with The Bangles on Tear off Your Own Head. The Bangles appeared in 1986, supplying harmonies on Blood & Chocolate's Next Time Around. They also covered Tear Off your Own Head, too. I would add that it was nice to see this underrated track appear, as When I Was Cruel seriously slipped under the radar, and is, in my opinion, the most underrated of Elvis's back catalogue.

Furthermore, I also like the fact that Elvis returns, albeit more maturely, to the revenge and guilt era of the 1970s and 1980s with Lipstick Vogue and Man Out of Time.

All in all, this is a fine album, and anyone that thinks that Elvis has lost his voice, and that he is destroying his back catalogue is a Man Out of step, out of time.
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on 8 April 2012
The foremost songwriter of his generation has always - well, nearly always - been able to be relied upon to come up with the goods and this is not only an absolute belter of a live album but fantastic value at £13 for a CD and a DVD. I doubt whether it will convert many people but then whenever did a live album do that? It is, however, a superb show, great fun to watch and whilst I'm sure there are those who will complain that the songs aren't as good as their originals, of course they're not! it's a live album! Unpredictable and brilliant!
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on 11 April 2012
I bought the Deluxe Edition of CD and DVD and consider it good value. I'm not wild about Costello playing 'Mr Showbiz', with the cheesy game show idea of the audience selecting songs from a spinning wheel, and the Go-Go Cage (in which even one of the Bangles makes an appearance!). However, this does not obscure the fact that Costello and the band really deliver, with Elvis himself on lacerating and supremely self-confident form. Not many people have a back catalogue to match his, and he knows it.

And when I tire of the showbiz aspects, I can always stick to the CD (from which you've little idea of the Songbook shenanigans).

I've deducted one star for the cheesy aspects of the DVD, and one star for the fact that the accompanying booklet is impossible to read because of the dark colours and small, unfriendly typeface. However, I've put one star back for Steve Nieve's performance on keyboards and theremin. This guy now gels so well with Elvis that it's hard to conceive of a Costello performance without him.
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on 29 April 2012
Surely Elvis Costello is one of the most underated artists of our time , with a unique instantly recognisable voice, you cant help but be drawn in by his fabulous lyrics.
Yes there are much better singers than Elvis , but his voice just seems to capture the mood of every song he performs perfectly , but then listen to "God give me strength" and try and tell me he hasnt got a fabulous voice.
With an array of classics being performed such as - Man out of time , Watching the detectives , I hope your happy now , lipstick vogue , you will not be dissapointed when purchasing this album , the only dissapointment is that it doesnt go on for another couple of hours more. 5 Stars from me
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on 21 May 2012
This certainly whets the appetite for seeing Costello live again in the near future - lots of energy in the performances. However, it's fairly raw live material and the songs lack the subtlety of the originals - so not a good choice if you'd be buying it in lieu of a Greatest Hits package, or to listen reflectively...
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on 26 January 2013
As previous reviewers have said, this is probably not for the casual fan. I saw Elvis perform the 'songbook' at Newcastle last year, so had to get this. This album gives you great insight into the concept of the spinning wheel tour and shows the sheer energy and variety of the evening's performance. With only a three exceptions all the songs work well for me. I could have done without the cover of 'Out of Time', the Bangles singing 'Tear of your own Head' and 'Stella Hurt'. If he'd included 'Party Girl', 'Couldn't call it Unexpected' and 'Love for Tender', then it would be a pretty perfect setlist. But given the number of songs he's written you can't please everybody - going to see him at York in June so maybe they'll be included there. If you only go to one concert this year then you must go see him perform - he must be our most under-rated songwriter of the last 35 years. Strange that he's more highly rated in America than he is here.
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on 8 September 2012
I caught Elvis on his recent tour of the UK, and the great man was in barn-storming form - as good live now as he was thirty years ago. This CD and DVD makes a perfect reminder. Excellent setlist and the band is on cracking form. True, mainly for hardcore fans - but it you are one you should get it.
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on 10 April 2012
I love this for the live songs and the way the artistry and interpretation of Elvis comes through. I last saw the wheel in Liverpool and will see Elvis again in Liverpool in May. Theremin is cool. My only gripe is that I have bootleg recordings that are better than this in terms of sound quality...
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on 2 June 2012
I saw Elvis do this show at the Royal Albert Hall recently and it was amazing. This isn't that show but it is from the same tour - and it is a must for all music fans.
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on 22 December 2011
As covered on the front of The Times newspaper, Elvis Costello recommended to his fans not to buy this collection at this ridiculous price. There are plenty of other places to start with the brilliant EC, just not here!!
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