Gig review: Elvis Costello and The Imposters, Edinburgh

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ELVIS Costello’s Revolver tour has come round again, but no two shows are the same, thanks to the Spectacular Spinning Songbook, aka “the showbusiness marvel of the age”, a colourful fairground-style wheel of musical fortune which dictates the set list according to turns and choices made by audience members.

Edinburgh Festival Theatre


It’s an entertaining way to keep things fresh, which is interesting and unpredictable for the musicians as much as the fans.

Costello was a consummate vaudeville MC and his Imposters trio were on invigorating form from the moment they hit the stage, tearing through Radio, Radio at some velocity.

Scott and Kat from Glasgow hit the Lips jackpot and got Lip Service but not lip service.

Auntie Ann got her wish and was personally serenaded with Alison.

Costello himself decided it was time for the surging country soul of Just About Glad and made a couple of forays into the auditorium, while Mike from Ottawa successfully wielded the Hammer of Songs and made the connoisseur’s choice of Clown Strike.

Much of the joy of this gig was derived from watching the fans make the most of their time on stage, some listening rapt by the bar, others becoming part of the performance, frugging away in the go-go dancer’s cage.

But, novelty aside, this was a show with inherently infectious spirit, powerful moments such as the political one-two of Shipbuilding and Oliver’s Army and the Thatcher-inspired Tramp The Dirt Down.

There were pockets of haunting intimacy threaded through the general mischief and two – count ’em – whistling solos. Now, that’s entertainment.