Friday, January 29, 2010

Elvis Costello - 1984-08-11 - Philadelphia, PA

Elvis Costello and The Attractions
(with Gary Barnacle)
Live at The Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA
FM Broadcast, very good quality
mp3 @ 192 kbps

Here's an excellent radio show from the 1984 Goodbye Cruel World Tour. Although GCW, the album, has been harshly criticized (primarily due to Langer and Winstanley intrusive and annoying pop production style), I actually have always really liked it, as it has several great songs that should have gotten more attention and repeated play on subsequent tours ('Inch By Inch', 'Deportees Club', 'Sour Milk Cow Blues', 'Worthless Thing', 'The Comedians', and 'Peace In Our Time' are classics). Regardless, though, the 1984 tour was great, as the production issues with the songs were not a problem, and it was the only chance to hear many of these songs live. With sax player Gary Barnacle added for this tour, the songs get a lttle fuller sound, but not the full horns treatment of the previous tour. In addition to the GCW songs, a particular highlight was Elvis's cover of the Byrd's 'So You Want To Be A Rock 'n Roll Star'. I have always had a particular fondness for this tour, because it was the first time I saw Costello in concert, and I was mightily impressed. Nick Lowe and His Cowboy Outfit (which also featured Paul Carrack and Martin Belmont) opened the show. That show was also the only time I have ever hung around after a concert waiting to try to see or get an autograph from a performer. Eventually, The Attractions and Elvis did come out to greet the fans and sign autographs, and it was pretty cool seeing them interact with fans.
Anyway, this particular show, in various forms, has been the source of a number of different bootlegs over the years. Unfortunately, none of them are complete. Although 28 songs were played, the known bootlegs contain anywhere from 11 to 23 songs. The one I have (which is the most complete I have been able to find) comes from a WLIR broadcast and contains 19 songs. A great-sounding 23-song version (which appears to be all that were recorded for radio) is available as streaming audio at Wolfgang's Concert Vault (, but I haven't been able to track down the downloadable audio files. Additional songs that were played, but not on this recording are 'Shabby Doll', 'Worthless Thing', 'I Hope You're Happy Now', 'King Horse', 'Young Boy Blues', 'Home Truth', 'Riot Act', 'Peace in our Time', and '(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace Love, and Understanding?'). Although only a partial show, still excellent.
For a full show from this same period (and similar setlist), check out the 2nd show posted from 1984, a full lossless recording of the 8/21 Worchester, MA show, indicated in the post below and available through the Elvis Costello Wiki site (links below).

01 Let Them All Talk
02 The Greatest Thing
03 Mystery Dance
04 Girls Talk
05 So You Want To Be A Rock 'N' Roll Star
06 I Wanna Be Loved
07 Sour Milk Cow Blues
08 Lipstick Vogue
09 Watching The Detectives
10 Shipbuilding
11 Beyond Belief
12 Clubland
13 Inch By Inch
14 The Deportees Club
-- Encore:
15 Everyday I Write The Book
16 The Only Flame In Town
17 Getting Mighty Crowded
18 Alison
19 Pump It Up-Ain't Got A Lot of Love-Tears Tears and More Tears-Intros-Pump It Up

Elvis Costello - Vocals, Guitar
Bruce Thomas - Bass
Pete Thomas - Drums
Maurice Worm (Steve Nieve) - Keyboards
Gary Barnacle - Sax

Delayed FM Broadcast from WLIR-FM, Garden City, Long Island, NY USA
Source: from off-air master cassette tape

Elvis Costello - 1984-08-21 - Worchester, MA

Elvis Costello & The Attractions
with Gary Barnacle
August 21, 1984
The Centrum, Worcester, Massachusetts
Excellent audience recording
Lossless (FLAC) Files

Here's the 2nd of the 1984 shows, a complete show from the same period (similar setlist) as the Philadelphia show, this one an excellent audience recording in lossless (FLAC) format. This show (as well as many dozens others) is available through the wonderful folks that have set up 'The Elvis Costello Wiki' site ( .
Much thanks to them for making this, and so many EC shows available.

Disc 1 - [58:04]
01. Green Shirt
02. Lipstick Vogue
03. Watching the Detectives
04. The Only Flame in Town - slow version
05. Mystery Dance
06. Shabby Doll
07. New Lace Sleeves
08. Girls Talk
09. Worthless Thing
10. So You Want to Be a Rock 'n' Roll Star
11. Let Them All Talk
12. Sour Milk-Cow Blues
13. I Wanna Be Loved
14. (Marie's the Name) His Latest Flame
15. The Greatest Thing

Disc 2 - [69:09]
16. Young Boy Blues
17. I Hope You're Happy Now
18. Beyond Belief
19. Clubland
20. Inch By Inch
21. The Deportees Club
22. End of the Rainbow - Elvis solo
23. Peace in Our Time / The Bells - Elvis solo
24. The Only Flame in Town - fast version
25. Everyday I Write the Book
26. Getting Mighty Crowded
27. Alison / You Win Again
28. Home Truth
29. Man Out of Time
30. Radio, Radio
31. (The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes
32. Pump It Up / Ain't That a Lot of Love / Tears, Tears and More Tears
total - [2:07:13]

New Links (Updated 08/26/20)

info and artwork:

Monday, January 25, 2010

Elvis in the Eighties (Creative Costello Concerts)

Elvis in the Eighties
This month I am featuring Elvis Costello shows from the 1980’s. So, why Elvis Costello, and why the 1980’s specifically? Well, Elvis (and for my money Costello is the only Elvis that matters) is certainly one of the premier artists, singer-songwriter-performer of our time. He’s been one of the most interesting, influential, articulate, versatile, and prolific musicians over the last 30 years, constantly exploring new areas, themes, and musical styles, breaking down the barriers between different musical genres, collaborating with everyone from rock, pop, country, jazz, and classical, and in recent years has become the elder statesmen and communicator for music and musical styles through his unique music and talk show Spectacle. Yet, he is vastly underappreciated and has never commanded the fame, sales, or respect he deserves. Sure, he doesn’t have a great voice, but he does a lot with what he has. He is a dynamic performer that always gives it everything he’s got, producing year after year of great concerts. I am focusing on the 1980’s, because, that is the time that he really began to diversify and stretch out in many different musical directions, and establish himself as one of the great songwriters. It seems much more attention (in the music blogs) has been given to his early years (1977-1979), but less so for the ‘80’s. Each year in the 80’s Elvis released a new and different album and tour, resulting in a series of unique and exciting live shows. From 1980-1986, Elvis released 7 new albums and toured every year (and from 1977-1986 released 10 albums of new material as well as a tour every year), until he finally took a break in 1987-88.

Elvis burst on the music scene in 1977, with a brash neo-punk ferocity that garnered a lot of attention and acclaim. Although dubbed one of the ‘new wave’ of rockers, it was clear even then that this odd, bespectacled man was much more than some angry young punk with a penchant for clever wordplay. His first 3 albums (1977-79) firmly established him as a new voice and force in rock music, with a distinctive musical style. In preparing the songs for his 4th album, however, Elvis was not satisfied with the sameness of the arrangements and wanted to try something different. So, after most of the songs were already written Elvis and his band, The Attractions decided to play the songs in the style of specific groups and songs from the 1960’s Motown/Stax pop soul sound. Thus, in 1980, Elvis released Get Happy!, an infectious concoction of Costello songs done in a Motown style. In 1981, Elvis released 2 new albums, 1st the straightforward Trust, and then Elvis shocked the music world, and alienated a large part of his previous rock fans, by releasing an all-covers album of country music, Almost Blue. Elvis then followed this in 1982 with his most carefully crafted album of pop songs and ballads, Imperial Bedroom. In some way this could be called his 'Sgt. Pepper’s', as he went all out with elaborate orchestrations and instrumentation to create a rich pop masterpiece. Even as great as this album was, it still tended to further alienate many of his earlier harder rock fans, as he was heading more in the direction of a crooner than a rocker. Elvis continued in the pop vein in 1983, working with producers Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley, but with far less impressive results, featuring weaker songs and a dated 80’s pop sound, on 1983's Punch The Clock. In 1984, again working with Langer and Winstanley, Elvis released Goodbye Cruel World, one of his few critically slammed albums. However, I’ve always like GCW. To me, it was a major step forward from PTC, with much more interesting songs (and a few classics). Unfortunately, the production was mired in Langer’s synth-heavy ‘80’s style production. Elvis took another turn in 1985, as he ditched the Attractions, and started working on a roots-oriented American music album, with T-Bone Burnett, and full of folk, rockabilly, and Appalachian-style tunes. This became King of America, another of his landmark albums, but again, not really a rock album. Also in 1986, Elvis re-grouped with the Attractions for Blood and Chocolate, a return to a more familiar Costello style, but with songs that were more brooding and intense. After a much-needed break, Elvis returned in 1989 with another change in direction (or several changes in direction), with Spike, a hodgepodge album that mixed many styles, from borrowing the eclectic subterranean sound of Tom Waits (with musicians Marc Ribot et al.) to pop collaborations with Paul McCartney. With each album came another tour, and through these years, a great diversity of styles, songs, personnel, and attitudes, but always a great show. Sometimes adding horns, with the Attractions, without the Attractions, acoustic solo or duos, the spinning songbook, and many others. So to highlight Elvis and this extremely productive period, I’ll be featuring at least 1 show from each year of the eighties, sometimes more. So, check them out, and get to know the wonderful world of Elvis Costello.

For more info on the albums and shows, and for all things Costello, be sure to check out the great fan web site The Elvis Costello Wiki (formerly The Elvis Costello Home Page)(, which includes everything you could ever want, biography, discography, pictures, artwork, and including lossless audio files of many concerts.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Elvis Costello - 1983-09-07 - Austin, TX

Elvis Costello & The Attractions, with The TKO Horns
Frank C. Erwin Center, University Of Texas, Austin, Texas
The Ultimate Gangster
FM Broadcast recording
mp3 @ 192 kbps

OK, continuing with the 'Elvis in the Eighties' theme, for 1983, I've decided to post 2 shows, 1 for the mp3 fans, and 1 for the Lossless fans. This first one, is a classic Elvis bootleg from a radio show from Austin, known as 'The Gangster is Back', but enhanced to include the songs from the show that were left off the original bootleg. This is now known as the 'Ultimate Gangster', with sources indicated below. Although Elvis's 1983 album, Punch the Clock, is not one of my favorites (It was a big disappointment when it came out on the heels of the excellent Imperial Bedroom), these '83 shows are nonetheless great, partly due to the addition of the TKO horns. The horns are used not only on the new songs, but on many of the classic Elvis tracks, and it is just alot of fun to hear the horns on tracks like 'Watching the Detectives', 'Clubland', 'Pump It Up', etc. Just great fun all around and an energetic Elvis keeps things jumping.

01 Let Them All Talk
02 Possession
03 Watching The Detectives
04 Secondary Modern
05 The Greatest Thing **
06 Man Out Of Time *
07 Kid About It
08 Mystery Dance
09 Shabby Doll **
10 Temptation
11 New Lace Sleeves
12 (What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding?
13 Shipbuilding *
14 Big Sister's Clothes *
15 Stand Down Margaret *
16 Beyond Belief *
17 Clubland **
18 The World And His Wife
19 Watch Your Step
20 Backstabbers / King Horse
21 Clowntime Is Over *
22 TKO (Boxing Day)
23 Everyday I Write The Book
24 Alison
25 I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down
26 Pump It Up

Source A: "The Gangster Is Back" original silver bootleg
* Source B: "The Complete Gangster" FM broadcast, possibly KLBJ-FM
** Source A + B (Matrix)

Elvis Costello - guitar/vocals
The Attractions:
Pete Thomas - drums
Bruce Thomas - bass
Steve Nieve - keyboards
The TKO Horns:
Dave Plews - trumpet
Paul Speare - saxophone
Jeff Blythe - saxophone
Jim Paterson - trombone

New Link! (Updated 04/10/20)

Elvis Costello - 1983-11-08 - Utrecht, Netherlands

Elvis Costello & the Attractions, with the TKO Horns and Afrodiziak
Utrecht, Netherlands

Very Good Audience Recording
Lossless (FLAC) Files

Here's the 2nd of the '83 shows, for all those that prefer Lossless. This has a similar setlist to the Austin show, but in addition to the TKO Horns, this show also adds Afrodiziak as backup singers. This show (as well as many dozens others) is available through the wonderful folks that have set up 'The Elvis Costello Home Page' site ( .

Disc 1 (46:02)
01. intro
02. Let Them All Talk
03. New Amsterdam
04. Possession
05. Watching The Detectives
06. The Greatest Thing
07. Watch Your Step
08. High Fidelity
09. Kid About It
10. Mystery Dance
11. Shabby Doll
12. Temptation
13. Shipbuilding
14. Big Sister's Clothes
15. Beyond Belief -- fades out early

Disc 2 (48:59)
16. Back Stabbers
17. King Horse
18. Alison / Living A Little, Laughing A Little
19. The World And His Wife
20. Clubland
21. TKO (Boxing Day)
22. - encore break -
23. Man Out Of Time
24. Everyday I Write The Book
25. Clowntime Is Over
26. - encore break -
27. Riff Riff Riff
28. I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down
29. Pump It Up / Ain't That A Lot Of Love / Tears, Tears And More Tears / band intro
Total (95:02)

w/Afrodiziak -
- Naomi Thompson - backing vocals
- Caron Wheeler - backing vocals

Link to lossless files (FLAC) courtesy of the excellent web site for all things Costello, The Elvis Costello Home Page (
Utrecht Show:
Elvis Costello_1983-11-08_Utrecht_FLAC Files

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Elvis Costello - 1982-10-06 - Leeds, UK (FLAC)

Elvis Costello & The Attractions
October 6, 1982
Leeds University, The Refectory
Leeds, UK
Very good audience recording
FLAC (lossless) files
Artwork Included

Continuing with my 'Elvis in the Eighties' series, here's a great show from 1982. In 1982, Elvis released what I consider to be his masterpiece, the exquisite Imperial Bedroom. Although the elaborate arrangements, complex instrumentation, and subdued nature of many of the songs from that album kept them from being easily translated in concert, or in becoming concert favorites, It is still great to get to hear at least some of them live. And although Elvis toured extensively that year, there seem to be very few available recordings from 1982. Here is a great show from Leeds. In addition to the Imperial Bedroom songs, Elvis still features many of the country covers from the Almost Blue album as well as a generous assortment of earlier tunes.

Disc 1 - [61:40]:
01. I Got You (I Feel Good)
02. Pidgin English / Hand in Hand
03. Shabby Doll
04. Watch Your Step
05. Back Stabbers / King Horse
06. ...And in Every Home
07. Watching the Detectives / Help Me
08. Kid About It
09. Temptation
10. From Head to Toe
11. Tonight the Bottle Let Me Down
12. Everyday I Write the Book
13. You Belong to Me
14. New Lace Sleeves
15. Alison
16. Beyond Belief
17. Clubland
18. Imperial Bedroom

Disc 2 - [40:48]:
19. All These Things
20. I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down
21. Good Year for the Roses
22. Why Don't You Love Me (Like You Used To Do)?
23. Man Out Of Time
24. Mystery Dance
25. Pump It Up
26. Danger Zone
27. (What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding?
28. Shipbuilding
29. Oliver's Army
30. Big Sister's Clothes
31. Radio, Radio
32. Clowntime Is Over
total time - [1:42:28]

New Links! (Updated 03/29/21)
Disc 1: Elvis Costello_1982-10-06_LeedsUK_d1_FLAC.rar

Monday, January 11, 2010

Elvis Costello - 1980-08-23 - Toronto, Ontario

Elvis Costello & The Attractions
Heatwave Festival, Mosport Park,
Toronto, Ontario
Very Good Soundboard Recording
mp3 @ 320 kbps
Artwork included

My New Year's Eve Elvis post reminded me of just how great, prolific, diverse, and versatile Elvis was during the 1980's. So, for the next few weeks I will be featuring an Elvis show from each year of the eighties. It seems alot of attention is given to his early shows (1977-1979), but somewhat less so for the 1980's. But, it was starting in 1980 that he began to branch out in different directions with specific genre albums, which further demonstrated his range and genius as a songwriter and performer. The NYE show was from 1981, featuring songs from Almost Blue, his country album. This show, a very good recording from the 1980 Heatwave festival in Toronto, was ostensibly in support of his newest release at that time, the 1960's Motown-inspired Get Happy!, but as usual, Elvis throws in numerous songs from all his albums, and several yet-to-be-released gems from the upcoming 1981 album, Trust. So, I hope you enjoy this one and keep coming back for more info and shows from 'Elvis in the Eighties' all month long.

01 Shot With His Own Gun
02 Accidents Will Happen
03 The Beat
04 Temptation
05 Green Shirt
06 You'll Never Be A Man
07 I don't Want To Go To Chelsea
08 Secondary Modern
09 Lovers Walk
10 Less Than Zero
11 Big Tears
12 High Fidelity
13 Alison
14 Lipstick Vogue
15 Clubland
16 Oliver's Army
17 Watching The Detectives
18 You Belong To Me
19 Radio Radio
20 Pump It Up
21 (What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace Love And Understanding
22 Mystery Dance
23 I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down

New Link! (Updated 07/09/20)