And by that I don’t mean Presley vs. Costello. What I’m specifically wondering is: which version of Elvis Costello will I see at Benaroya Hall tonight? Will it be the downbeat romantic balladeer of his most recent release, North; the angry young man of 1978’s “Radio, Radio”; or something in between? The review of the LA show suggests it will be a blend—EC performed there with a mic, an acoustic guitar, and Steve Nieve on piano, but heckled back unmercifully when an overzealous fan shouted a request from the balcony.
I’m guessing Benaroya tonight will be more of the same, which is mostly fine. Some of Elvis’s ballad performances are among his best songs on record, even some of his covers like the stunning version of Burt Bacharach’s “I Just Don’t Know What to Do with Myself” that he recorded on his last big outing with Steve Nieve. Which, I am amazed to note, is available for purchase from selected Amazon marketplace sellers starting at $150. I did’t realize this box set was so rare. I’ll have to be more careful with it.