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Location: Houston, Texas, United States

My name is David Stone. I live in Houston, Texas. I am a 30-something single white male. I am an Orthodox Christian and am a member of an English-language parish of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR).

Friday, April 14, 2006

Elvis Costello

Photo from www.chron.com/

Last night I saw Elvis Costello perform with the Houston Symphony in a concert at Jones Hall.

After joking that the venue was to be renamed George Jones Hall Elvis explained that the first half of the concert would be a performance by the HSO of a suite from Il Sogno.

This orchestral suite had a few interesting moments but it is not really a compelling piece of classical music. To be fair it is pretty remarkable that a pop musician would take the time and effort to acquire the technical orchestration skills needed to compose a piece like this. I just did not find it particularly interesting musically. Still, every classical composer has to start somewhere and it looks like Elvis is going to continue composing classical works.

Immediately after the performance of the ballet suite Elvis grabbed an acoustic guitar and launched into a solo performance of a new song The River in Reverse which is the title track from his upcoming album with Allen Toussaint.

Next the HSO joined Elvis and his keyboard player Steve Nieve in a arrangement of All This Useless Beauty. This was followed by another orchestral arrangement of The Birds Will Still be Singing which is one of my favorite songs from one of my favorite cds The Juliet Letters.

After an intermission Costello, Nieve and the HSO returned for the second half of the program which featured a mixture of old and new songs written by Elvis and a few other songwriters.

Highlights included "crooning" versions of Still from the North cd, Upon a Veil of Midnight Blue from his newest cd and Almost Blue which was origanally written for Chet Baker.

The audience favorite though seemed to be a strikingly original new arrangement of Watching the Detectives complete with overtones of the soundtracks from popular fifties era television crime shows. I especially liked the use of the low brass to simulate the well-known opening bass guitar riff from this classic.

Next Elvis, Steve and the HSO did versions of She (a Charles Aznavour song), God Give Me Strength, and I Still Have that Other Girl from his cd with Burt Bacharach, and then another audience fave Allison.

Elvis ended the concert by performing the song Couldn't Call It Unexpected #4 without a microphone showcasing just how strong and flexible his voice really is.

Overall it was a very enjoyable and interesting concert.

Here is another review from one of the Houston Chronicle affiliated blogs.


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