Elvis Costello at the Fox Theater ~ 05/09/2011

Posted: May 15, 2011 in Fox Theater, Review

Elvis Costello and the Imposters
Fox Theatre, Oakland, CA

I was very excited to see this show as he’s only playing eight cities and I completely missed The Spinning Songbook the first time around. I first heard of it at a GD show at Kaiser where the guy sitting next to me at set break sniped the set was so ragged is sounded like it came out of Costello’s Spinning Songbook.

Elvis Costello at the Fox Theater

Elvis Costellos at the Fox Theater. Click for more photos.

If you are not familiar with it, The Spinning Songbook is a 15-foot version of Wheel for Fortune with about 40 songs on it instead of “big money”.  During the show, Elvis’s assistant selects audience members to come on stage to spin the wheel and then the band plays whatever comes. After spinning the fan watches from beside him on the stage either sipping a cocktail in the “Society Lounge” or dancing in the “Hostage to Fortune Go-Go Cage”…most people did a little of both. The wheel also has eight “jackpots” such as Happy, Girl, and Rainbow where he’ll sing medley of songs related to the theme.

It was a great show but, as my seat was in the front row right in front of the go-go cage I’m sure that colored my option a bit. What I really liked about the Spinning Songbook format was how it highlighted the breadth of Costello’s work.

Elvis came out and blasted through four songs before firing up the wheel. The second spin landed on the “I Can Sing a Rainbow” jackpot. He asked the women who spun what their favorite colors were. They responded with pink and purple and he said he could come close.  He played “Green Shirt”,   “Blue Chair”, and “Red Shoes” which flowed into the about 30 seconds of the “Purple Rain” chorus. When he ended he looked at them and said that was the only part of the song they knew.

For me the highlight of the show was “A Slow Drag With Josephine” and “Jimmie Standing In The Rain” from the beginning of the first encore. I also enjoyed “Money to Man” which I don’t believe I have heard before.

He played for well over two hours before starting the long encore block which included two trips off the stage before returning. For the life of me I can’t figure out why more and more bands are doing a single set with a hyper-extended encore.

Set List:
I Hope You’re Happy Now
Heart of the City
Strict Time
Mystery Dance
Shipbuilding (spun)
[Rainbow Jackpot (spun)]
Green Shirt
Blue Chair
Red Shoes ->
Purple Rain (I figured it would be this but I was hoping for Purple Haze)
The Other Side of Summer
Chelsea (spun)
This Wheel’s On Fire ->  (spun)
River In Reverse
Monkey To Man (spun)
Counting Darkness
Harry Worth (spun)
Alison (spun)->
Wind Cried Mary->
Somewhere Over the Rainbow ->
Somewhere ->

Encore 1:
A Slow Drag With Josephine
Jimmie Standing In The Rain
Pump It Up ->
[Girl Jackpot  (spun)]
This Year’s Girl
Doll Revolution

Encore 2:
You Belong To Me
Next Time Around
Peace Love And Understanding

Elvis Cotello , guitar
Steve Nieve, keyboards
Pete Thomas, drummer
Davey Faragher, bass


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