The hardest working man in show business

Just got back from the Elvis Costello show. Two and a half hour concert—no intermission—that sounded at times like a mix tape; except all but a few covers were from Elvis’s own repertoire. One of the two or three best concerts I’ve ever seen.

No time to write down everything now, but hopefully I’ll be able to point to a set list and write some more tomorrow.

Which Elvis?

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.

More early Schulziana on the way

li'l folks - the first comic strip by charles schulz

I got a postcard late last week from the good folks at Fantagraphics. Apparently the first volume of The Complete Peanuts has slipped its publication date by a month, to April 1 (no jokes please). But it’s not all bad news. They offered a bundle with a new, first-time-ever collection of all Charles Schulz’s pre-Peanuts work, including both the trailblazing “Li’l Folks” strip and his single panel work. Was I interested? Oh yeah. This is the good stuff, the ur-Peanuts, so to speak, before the characters evolved into their familiar (copiously merchandized) selves.

Side note: I have been consistently impressed with Fantagraphics, both as a publisher (the Krazy and Ignatz collections have been consistently excellent) and as a business with consistently excellent customer support and communication.