Elvis and the Brummies

January 30, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Modern Music, MUSIC, Ulalume | 2 Comments |

Birmingham Symphony Hall

31 May 2013

Yes, believe it or not, TVC stalked Elvis Costello to Birmingham to see his
spectacular spinning songbook concert.  First, a morning stroll to sneak a
peek at roadies setting up the wheel (which turns out to be somewhat
incidental during the show) and then to while away some pleasant hours at
the Art Gallery in the square – some very good pre-Raphaelites as well as
post renaissance art, including an installation featuring a sheep alarmingly
bearing human teeth;  St Paul’s embarkation by Lorrain; an excellent
portrait of Prince Faisal by Augustus John; a bust of Tagore by Epstein;
Modigliani’s Madame Z ; portrait of John Ash (founder of B’ham General
Hospital) by Reynolds; a van Dyck, a Bellini Magi; Sandys’ Medea; Holman
Hunt’s depiction of the choir singing to the morning sun atop Magdalen
Chapel Tower; D. G. Rosetti’s favourite lantern-jawed, rugby playing girl; a
pre-Raphaelite Isle of Capri; a version of Wallis’ Death of Chatterton (q.v. Love and
Death on Long Island); the over-gorgeous Arcadian Waiting by Millais;  a
(Great Scott!) pretty good St Gotthard’s Pass by J W M Turner.  Extremely
impressive – the biggest set of pre-Raphaelites TVC has seen in a while.

Then some drinks and a late piece of Elgar in the local C of E (we lit a
candle to H) after which, to fortify ourselves, we ate lovely curry at
Chaophraya, which might be Thai for ‘good eating’ or ‘vivid blue shrine near
toilet’, and then spoke to racist Barry in the pub (a Bangladeshi
complaining about Pakistanis) and set off to see EC.  L had been alert and
secured front row seats in a sell-out crowd, so that when Elvis led some of
his victims off the stage in a rhumba line he touched L’s boot!  E and the
band in great form, with a standing ovation after a 2 & ½ hour set*.  We
then had drinks in a pub nearby with Phil from I.T., who has 4 kids he
doesn’t see, a novel he doesn’t write, and an obsession with Elbow.  Compare
and contrast.



"This will put fire in your belly"

“This will put fire in your belly”


Love and Death on Long Island

Love and Death on Long Island

(Advice to young Mr Chatterton (above): Don’t try to treat syphilis with mercury…especially if impersonating a monk.)

St Gotthard's Pass

St Gotthard’s Pass

*From contemporaneous notes hastily jotted from memory, the songbook
included: I Want You, Shipbuilding, What’s So Funny (about peace love and
understanding)?, Pump it Up, Good Year for the Roses, King’s Ransom, Jimmy
Standing in the Rain, Beyond Belief, Slow Drag With Josephine, Man Out of
Time, Oliver’s Army, Tramp the Dirt Down (a special request, which TVC let
pass, not having been down the mines), Radio Radio, Chelsea, Watching the
Detectives, Lipstick Vogue, Uncomplicated, Less than Zero, Mystery Dance, I
Can’t Stand up for Falling Down, a taut and appropriately shrill version of
Out of Time and a delight of highlights in particular: a souped-up,
hyper-percussion Strict Time, and a big-time solo on God Give Me Strength.
Sterling stuff.


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