Elvis Costello & the Imposters | Chicago Theatre | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge Elvis Costello

Elvis Costello

Mary McCartney

Elvis Costello & the Imposters 

When: Sat., Oct. 29, 8 p.m. 2016
Price: $38.50-$153.50
Elvis Costello was just 27 when he and his crack working band the Attractions released their 1982 masterpiece Imperial Bedroom (Columbia). Made with longtime Beatles engineer Geoff Emerick sitting in the producer’s chair, it was Costello’s seventh studio album since 1977 and represented another huge leap in growth. Folks started comparing him to architects of the Great American Songbook like Cole Porter as he pushed beyond new wave toward timeless pop mastery, particularly with the devastating ballad “Almost Blue” and the quasi-bossa nova “The Long Honeymoon,” his noirlike chronicle of a crumbling marriage. Additionally, his verbal dexterity reached a new apotheosis: “The Loved Ones,” for example, opens with the lines, “Don’t get smart or sarcastic / He snaps back just like elastic / Spare us the theatrics and the verbal gymnastics / We break wise guys just like matchsticks.” It was the last fully collaborative effort Costello made with the Attractions, whose keyboardist Steve Nieve and drummer Pete Thomas are now in the Impostors, and on the albums that followed he floundered for the first time. Imperial Bedroom remains one of my favorite pop records of all time, and it will be the focal point of this visit. Costello won’t perform it in full, but considering his massive repertoire I imagine he’ll use its songs to build a platform to survey the shifting contexts of his catalog.
— Peter Margasak
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