We ducked out the other night and saw Elvis Costello at the Palais here in Melbourne. As usual Elvis provided an amazing performance. (A review of which is here) Here too is a short film made by his support Shelley Harland who was herself pretty spectacular. Amazing voice and band and lots of great material they’d written themselves.

I have a strange relationship with Elvis. While I’ve always admired what he does I have never felt inspired enough to actually buy any of his CDs. Despite this, I’ve seen him at least five times over the years, each time in a different Elvis-incarnation, and have always been blown away by his performance.

The first time I saw Elvis was in 1985 at the Melbourne Concert Hall with the Attractions. At this stage I quite liked some of his music but he was a little too mainstream for me. A friend had been given a job as an usher at the Concert Hall and so I was able to see him for free, otherwise I wouldn’t have bothered. I was impressed with his and the band’s performance though.

I’ve also seen him perform at a very small Jazz festival in Rotterdam, unlisted, and hidden away in a wharehouse space that didn’t even feature on the Festival program or map. This performance was some seriously funky jazz and probably my favourite. My least favourite was with the Concertgebouworkest at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, more a big-band type of thing and while still very good, it lacked the passion of other performances I’ve seen him give. Mind you, as the Concertgebouw has the most Calvinist seats (ie: least comfortable) in the universe the venue itself may have contributed somewhat to my own lack of enthusiasm.

A very close contender for favourite performance was in Utrecht with the Imposters at the Vredenburg in 2005. Elvis had almost lost his voice and after giving us all the option to go home, delivered the kind of performance that is the stuff of legends. Its still talked about on the internets today! 😉

This week’s performance was a different Elvis again and as always, he proved himself a consummate performer. Maybe I should finally buy some of those CDs?