Elvis Costello: Trade (and Sound) Till Your Last Breath

Years pass and Elvis Costello maintains his unwavering commitment to the profession of a musician. At 69, his schedule is as busy as ever. Study sessions, meetings with musicians who admire him, a thousand plans conceived, tours around the world and an addiction to the stage that undoubtedly left him with the public during his most elusive and unstable years. An Elvis Costello concert is an example of an effort to satisfy those who pay to see him. Especially if he appears alone with his pianist Steve Thing.

But over time, something has decreased. This is something that does not express restlessness or professionalism in the composition entertainment They were able to keep intact: the voice. The voice fades, the throat cracks, and there comes an age when some singers lose control of their main instrument. Costello is one of them, and last night at the Palau de la Música, it was evident from the first bars of the concert. What was intuited during the startup when i was cruel number 2 Where pre-recorded bases and swinging the breeze Dancing Queen They saved the garbage from Abba, this was confirmed in the second song. that interpretation talking in the dark It was devastating.

When the throat no longer obeys

Many years ago, when J from Los Planetas was already immersed in the psychedelic flamenco scene, he told me this: “When I was young, I had a voice, but I wasn’t interested in singing well. Now that I want it, I don’t have it anymore. exactly. There comes a day when if you don’t have a privileged throat, you want to, but you can’t. A voice in your head bursts out determined to draw thin and sassy tunes, but you open your mouth and out comes the clucking of chickens. The vocal cords have lost their elasticity, the throat is cracked. Costello’s voice still sounds weird, yes, but it’s less expressive than before because it doesn’t obey the brain’s commands. And the more he forces it, as he continues to obsess over touching those already unreachable notes, the louder the interpretation can be.

Thus, in the vocal competitions, the third performance of his Spanish tour was moving forward. modes Kroner Evicted, with an endless songbook, but practically according to his recitals in Granada and Madrid. And also, with this ace, there are always speaking interventions in which he explains the origin of many stories that he passes on to his employees. shot with his own gun It was one of the first songs he performed in 1980 after earning enough money to buy a piano. Accidents will happen He completed it after a taxi ride to a hotel between Texas and Mexico. letter tart, Instead, it appeared closer: in Seville.

A few days ago, while in Italy, Costello invited Sicilian singer Carmen Consoli to sing with him. constant center of gravity By Franco Battiato. That being said, this man continues to squeeze every last drop of his craft, taking any chance he gets to share the stage or studio with artists he admires. In Spain it was not like that, but it introduced songs similar to the local eye Waiting for the end of the world In which a “legendary hitchhiker” appears who wants to go “to Spain or someplace like that”. He also explained why he doesn’t speak Spanish or Catalan. This is because of his father, who has shown a strange distaste for learning languages. “My father knew Spanish, but one day, in Almeria, a man asked him where he learned to speak so well. And without blushing, he answered: in bed.

his anecdotes Number of songs They entertained the evening, but the vocal riffs that light up a recorded song and transform it into a pure presence, the kind that inevitably send chills down your spine, only appeared sporadically. And without these pinches, the concert went off without further ado. the last scream Allison He provided one such amendment. Or, I don’t know, that’s how I thought I perceived it.

From Burt Bacharach Tailoring

If 1,500 people attended the Palau de la Música, there are only so many ways to explain last night’s concert. In fact, there will be 1,500 different concerts. The one I saw in has changed appearance Toledo. It was one of two songs recorded with Burt Bacharach that covered the concert. Before his performance, Costello gave a lengthy speech in which he described working with the towering American composer as “terrifying” with his perfectionist obsessions. And before he finished, he improvised a couple of verses mentioning the city of Barcelona. But the important thing is what happened between these two moments. For some reason, his voice came out moderate, sure, graceful. Maybe it was magic. Rather, tailor Bacharach makes perfect suits that always look great; The costumes are designed so that the sound always looks great. For the first time in over an hour, another Elvis performance was convincing and exciting.

It’s time to conquer the highest peaks of the night. would be almost blue (especially overnight) I still have that other girl (Again excellent in the vocal department and with Steve Thing embroidering his role on the piano) and he Charles Aznour’s version. At the end of the latter, Costello stepped away from the microphone and closed the job Acapella With such skill that even a gesture of surprise was avoided. He shrugged as if to ask: Did I do it? And even so, the most memorable moment was on the apparent comeback block Jamaican Looking at the detectives. With Snow belting out the melody over a pre-recorded rhythmic background, the duo put together a powerful duet number in which Costello interacted with his own canned voice. It sounds silly in writing, yes, but live it was thrilling and unnerving.

It’s been 30 years since Elvis set foot in the Palau de la Musica. It was in March 1993, with an album he had just recorded with the Brodsky Quartet. To celebrate this other compositional success, he rebuilt the last song Letters of Juliet. Without the string arrangement, obviously adapted for piano by Nieve, The birds will sing It was a real gift for Barcelona. In the last 20 years, he has performed only three nights. During the last, colossal challenge he took on last winter in New York, which consisted of playing over 200 different songs over ten nights. Yes, that’s how Costello knows his trade.

Five encores without leaving the stage

The concert was coming to an end, but the rite of passage had to be performed. Costello asked with his index finger if anyone wanted another one. called Ship building And the movements of his left hand emphasized the anti-war intent of the text better than his voice. called Five minutes with you With lyrics in Spanish and pre-recorded bases, but in a frame-in-half frame, at the end of which more than one person must be wondering: What was that? and called (How funny) Peace, love and understanding A subtle but crucial addition. Snow sang the second verse and joined the chorus. And, indeed, seeing and hearing these two boys, who have known each other since 1977, persistently asking themselves what is so funny about the search for love, peace and understanding, brought a plus of expressiveness to the composition, which was so used and finished. time.

Technically, none of these three songs were encores, as neither Costello nor Nive ever left the stage. But they were. The concert ended, but as they received a standing ovation, Costello whispered something in Snow’s ear, patted him on the back, and sent him to the piano. Barcelona will have another song. was whirlwind, The one about a woman who wants to start a new life in a town where no one knows her. “That woman was me,” he added. Perhaps in 2047, on some stage, at the age of 83, he will tell more about this story. Meanwhile, yesterday it served as the icing on the cake for the Upward Curve recital. While the public applauded his interpretation of the title, the most important of his career, Elvis took off his hat and was hailed as a bull that made the final pass.

There were a few moments of palpable satisfaction. The final triumph came with the most unexpected weapon. Excitement pulsed through Costello’s veins. this was. Then, without even looking at Snow for complicity, he ran to his electric guitar and started playing. I want you Like someone who desperately needs to confess something. that I want you Chosen in milliseconds, unprecedented on this tour, and a narrow-eyed Costello visibly engrossed in the song, he used the electric guitar’s steering wheel to steer his voice in the right direction, avoiding the mess and rumble in his tired throat. It could have lasted another hour. With invented lyrics, increasingly whispered, but still in an audible register, the audience is completely absorbed. I want you, I want you, I want you

That’s how the concert that started like that ended. Not everything has a job. You have to practice. You have to squeeze it.

Source: El Diario





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