Elvis Costello in Newcastle ...
Well, the day has finally arrived! After three months of waiting, I finally got to see Elvis Costello live in concert, and it was well worth the wait!
The day began by waking up for breakfast at 8 a.m., as usual, followed by a shower and general nothingness unil noon. With my pack of essentials, I headed into downtown Hull. It was quite hot outside at first, nearly unbearable. But the temperature gradually became more comfortable as I went along.
I bought a few things while I was in town: Two Peanuts books that I needed and three 45s, including Cliff Richard and The Young Ones doing "Living Doll." I also bought some food, bateries, a train ticket, and lunch at McDonald's once I reached the city centre.
At 2.50 I met Cat in front of the movie theatre, and then went over to Ferensway where shortly thereafter we were on a bus bound for Newcastle. The journey took three hours, and included a short pit stop, but it went rather quickly as we listened to Elvis Costello over the bus stereo most of the way up.
We arrived in Newcastle at about half 6, so Cat, Nile and I had a few minutes to walk about Newcastle before we could go into City Hall. Nile, incidentally, bought a ticket a few minutes before the bus left for the concert. Talk about a last minute decision!
Anyway, it was noticeably cooler out now, so after a run-in with some photo shoot going on in the street, we stopped at a Kentucky Fried Chicken for some coffee, and then returned to City Hall to get our seats for the show.
I was a decadent individual today. I bought an Elvis Costello tour t-shirt, a tour poster, and a tour program. Good deal, though... I only paid £13 total for everything!
We then grabbed our seats and waited for the show to commence. The concert hall was rather small, about the same size as The Forum in Harrisburg, which gave the show a nice personal feel.
At 8 p.m. the lights dimmed and out came Nick Lowe, who performed quite well. I was impressed with his performance, and especially at his sense of humour (at one point he said, "I will now play a medley of my greatest hit," and then began to perform "Cruel to Be Kind.") I was also impressed by his new songs from his forthcoming album. I will have to check that out.
Lowe played for about a half an hour, and after a short break, Elvis Costello ran onto the stage and jumped right into an acoustic version of "Accidents will Happen." In fact, most of this brilliant show was simply Elvis playing acoustic solo versions of his songs, both from his new album and his classics from the past.
The songs he performed included: "Watching the Detectives," "Alison," a medley of "New Amsterdam/You've Got to Hide Your Love Away/American Without Tears," "My Radio Sweetheart," "Loveable," "Veronica," "Deep Dark Truthful Mirror," "Pads, Paws & Claws," "Any King's Shilling" and "Let Him Dangle."
Next was the most brilliant song of the evening, a 15-minute humorous version of "God's Comic." In this song, Elvis talked of his inspiration from being on a Swedish talk show where God was a guest. My favourite part was after the lyric "wondering if I should've given the world to the monkeys," Elvis suddenly stopped, then broke into a few verses of "Last Train to Clarksville."
Even with a lot of his political jokes throughout the concert, I found myself laughing in spite of myself.
Next he brought Nick Lowe out on stage and they performed "Indoor Fireworks" and, of course, "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding" (which Lowe wrote). Their duet was excellent... certainly a rare treat for an Elvis fan to see live. I thought Lowe's style complimented Elvis very well with these numbers.
As the show wound down, Elvis concluded with three of his politically-themed songs, the last two being among my least favourite songs. He brought out the piano and performed a nice version of "Shipbuilding." But that was followed by a very bad "Pills and Soap," and concluded with "Tramp the Dirt Down." It's alright musically, but I hate the lyrics. In my opinion he should've ended the concert with something more upbeat, as he had now become quite serious in his demeanor. It was a downer of an ending to the show.
Apart from that, the show was brilliant and well worth the journey. As I sat in the audience, I thought to myself, "this is what it's all about." A definite climax to the journey. It was amazing how he could be the most amusing entertainer I've ever seen in a concert, and then the most serious. Will we ever be able to see the real Declan Patrick Aloysius MacManus, or have we?
At the end of the day, I would call this the second best concert I've ever experienced (Ol' Neil Young in Hershey still holds that title, with Peter Gabriel a close third).
All told, Elvis played for over two hours, so we did not leave the venue until after 11 a.m. That meant we were going to be getting home very late. We arrived in Hull at about 2.30 a.m., and the bus driver decided to take us all right to our homes, which was very nice.
When the bus arrived at the corner of Cottingham Road and Newland Avenue, we contemplated asking the driver to just let us off there, and we could do the 10 minute walk back to The Grange. But we decided not to.
As a result, he turned another way, and we ended up on the bus for another hour. Then, when he did finally drop us off, it was at the corner of Cottingham Road and Beverley Road... about 200 yards away from the Newland Avenue intersection. Cat and I had a good laugh about this... an hour to travel 200 yards! It was dark and quiet, and we walked back most of the way in the road, while Nile walked swiftly back along the sidewalk.
Tired and approaching 4 a.m. by now, I still managed to hang my new posters up in my room - not only the Elvis Costello tour poster, but I also "liberated" the poster that was on the bus as well.
I let Shannon run around a bit, cleaned up, and then, completely and utterly knackered, I went to bed.
What a brilliant day!