Artist: Elvis Costello
Album: Detour Live At Liverpool Philharmonic Hall
Label: Eagle Rock Entertainment
Release Date: 02/12/2016
His grandfather was an orphan who played jazz on cruise ships. His father was a showman, captivating early ‘60s England with super smooth ‘n groovy cover versions of the real thing. (Think Pat Boone doing “Tutti Frutti” or relish the footage of Ross McManus and his percussion crazed, white suited orchestra juking up “If I Had A Hammer.”) So it’s genetic that Costello take command of his hometown stage and, for just under two hours, pin you to your seat.
As an extension/conclusion to his recent flurry of reminiscence (beginning with last year’s generously sprawling memoir Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink) Detour Live finds Costello running down his life, his career, the hits ‘n misses with a self-effacing panache that makes any twist in his deep, rich canon a must hear. For exhibits A through C, I present the ever poignant and masterful “Shipbuilding.” The dark corners of “When I Was Cruel No. 2,” and the manic guitar frenzy of “Watching The Detectives.” And though he hardly needs company on stage, sisters Meagan and Rebecca Lovell of Atlanta’s Larkin Poe add an edgy charge with vocals, mandolin and snaky, lap slide guitar on the Dylan/Costello mash-up “Down On The Bottom,” George Jones’ iconic “A Good Year For The Roses,” and a get-out-of-your-seat burn on “Peace Love And Understanding.”
And though it hardly matters to Costello what I think, I will say that Detour Live, as whole in concept and performance as it is and equally entertaining, is one of those concert recordings that homies like myself are going to enthuse about much more than the neophyte or casual EC listener. Just in case you couldn’t tell.
– Mike Jurkovic