Elvis is in the building!

I am becoming a grumpy contrarian.  I bought tickets to see Elvis Costello play a solo gig at the Fremantle Arts Centre.  At the end of a long day, I realised, the last thing I wanted to do was drive for an hour, see a performance of the Secret, Profane and Sugarcane album, get home at 11pm, and be exhausted at work all the next day.  Yes, it seemed like a good idea when I bought the tickets, but it didn’t at 4pm yesterday.

But, it was fricking awesome!!  Stephen and I hoed down to Fremantle and got there around 5pm.  We parked on the street across the road from the tiny venue (EC played on the ‘South Lawn’ of the Arts Centre, out of doors on a cool evening, to about 1,500 people).  After ascertaining details, we wandered towards downtown Freo where we stumbled across an organic Japanese teahouse (it’s Fremantle, of course we did). Great food was imbibed over chatting about upcoming music events etc, and then back to the venue.  We arrived just after the doors opened, so the best seats were gone. We were forced to sit right in front of the stage, nine rows back (70 feet?). Awful!  The support act, Shelley Harland, was perfectly pleasant, but everyone was waiting for the star.

Costello strode onto the small stage at 8pm wearing a jaunty hat, waved at the crowd and launched into a spirited rendition of “(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes” and didn’t falter in his stride for the next hour and a half as he tore through new materials, classics, and odd covers. You can see the full setlist here, but highlights included an unexpected “Indoor Fireworks” (one of my fave EC tracks of all time), a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Brilliant Disguise” (he’d just played it with the Boss the previous week for the Spectacle),  a beautiful performance of “Good Year for the Roses”, and many, many more. It was one of the best shows I’ve seen in years, and if he had done a second show tonight I’d be there.  Truly a wonderful experience.