Costello indicated that the St. Louis stop was “the last night of Spectacular Spinning Songbook" tour and checking his dance card on his website the band takes a 2 week break returning to the road in mid-July. It’s easy to see why. After one of these sets it would be like a football game, most people would have to take a week off to recover and train.
Next, Costello moved into host mode as his lovely assistants brought up a beautiful leggy audience member, Erin, to spin the wheel. He explained that the evening was “about sex, death and dancing - not necessarily in that order.” Costello advised the participant, “I don't want to alarm you, but the next five minutes are in your hands.” Her spin resulting in “Human Hands.”
After another spin for “Living in Paradise,” the following spin landed on the “I Can Sing A Rainbow” jackpot. Breaking first into the deep cut “Green Shirt,” a demo included later on This Year’s Model reissue moving into the mid’80s single “Blue Chair” from Blood & Chocolate. The color themed jackpot yielded the classic “(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes” and another surprise – Costello ended the category with a cover of “Purple Rain” by Prince. The color wheel never sounded so good!
Moving the show along, a couple is brought to the stage as the next contestants to the giant spinning wheel. Costello took the role of Chuck Woolery making a “Love Connection” joking with the two, “you might get lucky! The wheel has the power of love for couples” describing that a young man in Boston proposed to his girl on the spot. The two spun up “Every Day I Write The Book” and “Veronica” As the two left the stage after the songs, Costello quipped of the couple “I think they're starting a family tonight!”
Continuing the love theme, another couple is brought to the stage – Joe and fittingly his companion Alison. Costello directed them to the wheel, and as a hush fell over crowd the two spun for “Long Honeymoon” and with a little help from Costello, “Alison.” Costello moved into the “slow dance section of the evening” as he called it and playing a beautiful version of “Alison” with a medley of the Smokey Robinson classic “Tracks of My Tears.”
Calling an audible, Costello moved “The Long Honeymoon” later into the set list. Dispensing with the wheel for now, he called for songs in an impromptu fashion and the band ripped off four stone cold Costello catalog classics with “Radio, Radio,” “Mystery Dance,” “You Belong To Me” and “Accidents Will Happen.” Taking it up a notch (if you can imagine that) he added a cover of “And Your Bird Can Sing” by The Beatles for good measure. An hour into the show, Costello and the Imposters already have played 17 songs and the house buzzed with excitement!
In an era when many performers (especially older ones) freely use teleprompters or cheat sheets for lyrics, Costello amazed by machine gunning his lyrics throughout the night without fail engaging the audience, band or stage help with his eyes.
Back to the wheel an audience member spun to “Turpentine” and Costello broke out his Gibson Les Paul playing a psychedelic extended solo to end before being handed his Fender Jazzmaster complete with his name scrolled into the fret board for another classic tune “(I Don't Want To Go To) Chelsea.” Bringing the previously held “The Long Honeymoon” back to the mix and waded thru crowd to look for more contestants to spin up “Riot Act” and “Watching The Detectives/Help Me.”
Ending the main set with an extended medley emphasizing the American aspects of his work. Starting with a cover of Bob Dylan’s “This Wheel's On Fire” the mix morphed into The River In Reverse/On Your Way Down/I'll Take Care Of You before reprising Dylan to finish. After the song Costello proudly held up the reverse side of his Gibson acoustic guitar that contained the bumper sticker "Forget Iraq, rebuild New Orleans" and walked off stage to gushing applause from the audience. Clearly, no one in the audience thought he was done yet. However, little did the excited crowd know that this show was far from finished.
For an extended encore stretching to over 45 minutes, Costello played 12 songs that most bands would play for an opening set! Weaving in rare covers of Van Morrison and the Rolling Stones along with classics of his own, Costello began the encore with “Lipstick Vogue,” “Beyond Belief” and “Waiting For The End Of The World.” He played Morrison’s “I Can Only Give You Everything” then called for his lovely assistant to spin the wheel to specific jackpots of his choosing and played two and three songs each time. The first, Girl, elicited “This Year's Girl” and “Spooky Girlfriend.” The second, Happy, brought “I Cant Stand Up For Falling Down” and “High Fidelity” while the third contained “Strict Time,” “Man Out Of Time” and “Out Of Time” by the Rolling Stones.
Topping the previous 35 songs off with the sweetest icing on the cake, Costello called for the closer, the Nick Lowe song he stole 30 years ago, “(What’s So Funny About) Peace, Love & Understanding” that had old and young alike loudly singing along. As the set finished our host for the evening enthusiastically introduced the band to the crowd, turned and headed backstage sending everyone out into the hot humid Midwestern night a joyous sweaty mess for home having just been “saved” by the power of rock and roll. Elvis had left the building a better place than it was before and for that we thank him!
Elvis Costello set list
I Hope You're Happy Now
Heart Of The City (Nick Lowe)
Substitute (The Who) w/ Eddie Vedder
Pump It Up
Living in Paradise
(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes
Purple Rain (Prince)
Every Day I Write The Book
Medley: Alison/Tracks of My Tears/Somewhere Over The Rainbow
You Belong To Me
Accidents Will Happen
And Your Bird Can Sing (The Beatles)
(I Don't Want To Go To) Chelsea
The Long Honeymoon
Watching The Detectives/Help Me
Medley: This Wheel's On Fire (Dylan)/The River In Reverse/On Your Way Down/I'll Take Care Of You/This Wheel's On Fire
Waiting For The End Of The World
I Can Only Give You Everything (Them)
This Year's Girl
I Cant Stand Up For Falling Down
Man Out Of Time
Out Of Time (The Rolling Stones)
(What’s So Funny About) Peace, Love & Understanding (Nick Lowe)
(This review printed with special permission from the vacationing Roy Kasten at KDHX - you can also find the review at the KDHX blog when he's able to publish it.)