Elvis Costello & The Imposters - The Return Of The Spectacular Spinning Songbook
Back in 1986 Elvis Costello first toured the Spectacular Spinning Songbook, a modern day vaudevillian show where a large chunk of the set was decided by audience members spinning a big wheel to decide what song would be played next. As the short film on the DVD explains it looked like brilliant fun for band and audience so, fast forwarding 25 years, Costello and the Imposters have revisited the format and this boxset is a gorgeous record of two nights’ shows at the Wiltern in Los Angeles.
The CD strips out most of the between-song banter and, as a result, rattles along with barely a pause for breath and is a magnificent reminder of the brilliant skills of a modern music legend. The DVD, however, is even better. You get to see the wheel spins, go-go dancers and the wondrous sight of The Bangles guesting on ‘Tear Off You Own Head’ before bouncing along to ‘Out Of Time’. You also get to see the sheer enjoyment that Costello and his band have delivering a set chock full of classics and seldom played tunes. Capturing the excitement of such a great show is notoriously hard but this DVD manages to do just that.
There are, however a couple of quibbles: for no obvious reason three songs on the DVD are bonus extras rather than part of the main set including the ever brilliant ‘Watching The Detectives’, a song that should never be stashed away like this. Then there is the issue that has caused quite a furore - the price of the damn thing! At over two hundred pounds it is not one for the impulse buyers among us but, in all honesty, does it really matter? People who can afford such luxuries won’t baulk at the price and, as Costello himself has said, the CD and DVD will be available separately next year at a far less wallet-bothering cost. You pay your money, you take your choice and, whatever that choice may be, The Return of The Singing Songbook will deliver the thrills you seek.