IN A SPIN WITH ELVIS

Get set for a gig with a dif­fer­ence. Elvis Costello tells Andy Welch why he will be let­ting lady luck pick the setlist when he stops off in the county this week.

Kentish Gazette Canterbury & District - What's On - - MUSIC -

Elvis Costello is do­ing one of his favourite things – re­lax­ing in New York. The city has been a sort of home to the 58-year-old for the past nine years. “The vibe is very mel­low,” ex­plains Elvis who stays in the city when he’s work­ing. The rest of his time is spent at home in Van­cou­ver with his singer wife, Diana Krall, and their twin sons Henry and Frank. It’s a busy time for Elvis, who’s cur­rently writ­ing and record­ing songs for a new al­bum to be re­leased be­fore the end of the year, while once again work­ing with Burt Bacharach on a stage adap­ta­tion of Painted From Mem­ory, their 1998 al­bum. He hopes it will de­velop over the 12 months and end up on stage in “the next few years”. “We’re writ­ing new songs, so it would be nice to write songs for that. I’m also work­ing on a book of my own,” says Elvis. “It’s not fic­tion but it’s not non-fic­tion ei­ther. I’m not writ­ing an au­to­bi­og­ra­phy. Ev­ery­one knows that story, ev­ery­one’s an ex­pert, so I can only tell peo­ple what they don’t know.” Much more im­mi­nently, he and his band The Im­posters – es­sen­tially the back­ing band of his 1980s hey­day, The At­trac­tions, with one or two dif­fer­ent mem­bers – are bring­ing the Spec­tac­u­lar Spin­ning Song­book tour to the UK once again. They did the same last year, and the re­cep­tion the shows re­ceived sur­prised ev­ery­one – most of all Elvis him­self – so they’re back for a big­ger trip last­ing all of June and into July. “We thought we’d just be able to go to the places we missed last spring,” says Elvis. “The shows were bril­liant last time, the at­mos­phere at each re­ally spe­cial, so we can’t wait to do it again.” There is a spe­cial fea­ture to the Spin­ning Song­book gigs – a gi­ant wheel loaded with the names of 50 of Costello’s songs. A mem­ber of the au­di­ence is in­vited to spin the wheel, and the band play which­ever song it lands on. There are show­girls on stage, and the lucky au­di­ence mem­ber can ei­ther stay up there in

Elvis Costello and the im­posters will be at Can­ter­bury’s mar­lowe theatre at 7.30pm on sun­day, June 23. tick­ets cost from £49.50. Call 01227 787787.

a cage to dance along­side the band – many do – or sit in a more re­laxed area at the back and drink cock­tails. It has more in com­mon with old-fash­ioned vaudeville than a stan­dard rock ‘n’ roll con­cert, while the wheel serves up in­ter­est­ing com­bi­na­tions of songs, es­chew­ing the pac­ing of a planned set list. “We have to be well-re­hearsed, we have to have 50 songs in the pocket to even play the game,” says Elvis. “We’ve delved into the back cat­a­logue a bit so I think we have about 150 we can choose from. “The wheel’s fair, too, un­til we lean on it a bit when some­one tells us it’s their wed­ding an­niver­sary or some­thing. Some songs have come up twice or three times in a night.” Nat­u­rally, there are gasps when the wheel ap­proaches any of Elvis’s big­gest hits. Of­ten what would nor­mally be a fi­nale song or form part of an en­core will be cho­sen right at the top of a show. “The wheel has made us play the older songs bet­ter, and we never know what to ex­pect,” says Elvis. “You have to drop into the dark­est, most emo­tional songs with­out any prepa­ra­tion, and one of your favourites might not get cho­sen for five shows.”

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