Elvis Costello and The Imposters
Elvis Costello. Photo: Mal Fairclough
FORTUNE is a relative concept with some wheels. For any fan gazing up at Elvis Costello's ''giant spinning songbook'', possibilities ranged from the sublime Shipbuilding to the infinitely intriguing Beyond Belief. Those lucky enough to be hauled from the audience to give the huge multi-coloured disc a whirl, sip champers from the sidestage ''society lounge'' and jiggle in the dancing cage had obviously hit the jackpot before it stopped turning.
OK, so chance favoured neither of the above titles on this occasion, but the charming games master was exceedingly generous with bonus points, including bundles of themed tunes and surprise raids on Prince and the Rolling Stones. He and his magnificent Attractions (well, two-thirds of them, with bassist Davey Farragher) got the carnival rolling with a rowdy opening set that culminated in Uncomplicated and Radio Radio before the sequined barbie doll in the stalls led the first contestant up the stairs.
Fate served up Oliver's Army and Alison early on. More obscure gems such as Deep Dark Truthful Mirror and So Like Candy felt even more like winning the lottery. Over two hours, the dazzling vaudeville approach, the random set-list device and Kelly the shagadelic go-go dancer had comprised an ingenuously fresh and often hilarious inroad to Costello's vast catalogue.
The common people context was the clincher. Watching a loving couple slow dance to the deathly creep of I Want You or cut a manic rug to Pump It Up gave the ringmaster's tunes intense immediacy and every fan a winning grin.