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The Costello Show : Live at Hollywood High   Elvis Costello and the Attractions / 1978


Some of these songs came out previously on an EP along with Costello's Armed Forces CD reissue, but this is the first time the historic concert has been available in its entirely. The music is adrenaline fueled and played in a fevered, headlong rush - you can almost see Costello twitching and snarling onstage. The coiled intensity of Elvis and the Attractions, fresh from their controversial appearance on Saturday Night Live, is palpable and jumps out of the speakers. The band was at its peak for this concert, held June 4th, 1978, at Hollywood High. 1978? Can it really be that long? Seems like that might as well have been the 50's. I remember the day I heard "Red Shoes" on the radio.
I pulled the car over to the side of the road. Something new on the radio that wasn't crap... I couldn't believe it. Elvis was 23 in 1978, skinny, pissed off about nearly everything and ready to point his finger right in your face if you got in his way. Which is why everybody loved him. Costello was the most musical and articulate artist to come out of the ranks
of English punk bands, though he was never truly a punk rocker. He did have a lion's share of the anger of the disaffected, though - you can hear it all over this record. The opener, however, "Accidents Will Happen," accompanied just by Steve Nieve on piano, is surprisingly restrained, almost tender. From there on, though, it's full throttle forward as he reels off all the big songs from his first two albums, My Aim is True, and This Years Model - inlcuding "Mystery Dance," "(The Angels Want to Wear My) Red Shoes," "This Year's Girl," "Alison," "The Beat." The last six songs constitute a pedal to the floor rave-up to the finish - "Watching the Detectives," "You Belong to Me," "Radio Radio," "Pump it Up," "Waiting for the End of the World," and finally "Miracle Man," where Costello plays the showman and introduces the band in soul revue style.
He ends it screaming "a miracle man!" which, at this point
in the evening, he knows he is.
                                                                                Will Brennan