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Elvis Costello Reviews

Indie & RockConcerts

Average customer review: 2.5 star rating (2.7 Stars)

Number of reviews: 42



5.0 star rating Glenn Bergum from Minneapolis, Minnesota


Oh come on! Is anyone really going to hate an Elvis Costello concert. He was in fine voice with plenty of energy. He played a nice mix of new stuff and old classics. Steve Nieve was still great on the keys. He played for almost 3 hours, including a couple encores. He finished up with Peace, Love and Understanding. It's pretty hard to beat that. He had a couple gals singing backup which kept things lively. It was the usual great EC show.

5.0 star rating Don from Minneapolis, Minnesota



5.0 star rating Dave Parker from Oakland, California


Fantastic set, at the amazing Fox Theatre. Spare stage, emphasis on music. Great to see Steve and Pete still in fine form. Opened the show with a Rockpile tune, and played a real eclectic set. Loved the new version of Brilliant Mistake. Awesome to see him again after all these years.

5.0 star rating from Los Angeles, California


The whole show was great

5.0 star rating Gil from Rhode Island


Being 2 years older than Deklan, I am in awe of his stamina as he rocked 2.75 hrs. Straight with only brief water breaks!?the theme might have been love, but just a guess in my part. Always the poet and musician first, the performance was perfect in every way. Though I’ve read “voice” issue notes, his was powerful after two songs , and never wavered. The show was reminiscent of American Utopia by David Byrne in its coordination, style, meaning, and level of energy. This was a memory maker fir me, and I’m picky about praise. Elvis and Steve the world renowned pianist brought a level of intensity not seen in live performances often. The young wind instrumentalists were at a level that was surprising. The holding of sax notes was truly impressive. Praise lads for a the experience 🙏👍😎

4.0 star rating Karen from San Francisco, California


I love Elvis, but unfortunately his songs sounded really muddled tonight. I kept moving to find better sound and finally a good spot downstairs about 3/4 of the way through. Enjoyed it so much more after that.

4.0 star rating Bruce T from Los Angeles, California


Well the man is a legend and I personally think one of the greatest songwriters of our generation. He has an amazing voice especially after all these years. There were points where he did get a little pitchy as one of the other reviewers mentioned. I think this might be more about him changing the vocal arrangements to keep it fresh for him. I am a huge fan and love his voice and songs. I wish that he would have played 1 or 2 of the classics in the original arrangements but I know he must be tired of playing the old hits. Over all great show

4.0 star rating Elvis fan from Memphis, Tennessee


Elvis still has it! 3 hours of energy and great music. The downside was that the sound system wasn't set properly with an over abundance of bass which made it rather rough to listen to the first 60 percent of the concert. Luckily the bass was set so high that feedback was occurring and the sound techs finally figured out to make an adjustment which made the latter part of the concert much more pleasant. But the musicians and backup singers were awesome, Elvis was amazing losing very little of his voice from his prime. All in all, it was great to see him, and he is still amazing.

4.0 star rating Elvis fan from Memphis, Tennessee


Elvis still has it! 3 hours of energy and great music. The downside was that the sound system wasn't set properly with an over abundance of bass which made it rather rough to listen to the first 60 percent of the concert. Luckily the bass was set so high that feedback was occurring and the sound techs finally figured out to make an adjustment which made the latter part of the concert much more pleasant. But the musicians and backup singers were awesome, Elvis was amazing losing very little of his voice from his prime. All in all, it was great to see him, and he is still amazing.

4.0 star rating Sam from Kentucky


Born in the UK with my teenage years in the 70's, Elvis was a hero of mine, yet I never attended any concerts of his in the UK, all these years later and now resident in KY, I ventured last minute to watch him, I was in the gods so the sound and sync were certainly not assisting in anyway and when singing along found myself a couple of words ahead, nevertheless he's earned his stripes and can sing at whatever pace he likes, he's still the man. The one slight grievance, he said trust him, he will play everything, no Chelsea or Olivers Army:(

4.0 star rating Andrew from Baltimore, Maryland


We drove from Maryland to see EC in the Indianapolis area. We saw him earlier this summer at The Majestic theater in Gettysburg, PA. He toured with Blondie during the summer, mostly playing amphitheaters. That show was a night 'off' between dates with Blondie. We felt lucky to get tickets to the show in such an intimate space. That show would get 5 plus stars. Great sound, presentation and set list. The above-mentioned show was so good, and knowing that this end-of-year solo tour was coming up we searched for a show/date that we could get to. The Palladium show fit the bill. The show started just after 8pm and went straight through without an encore. The songs of the encore that we saw in Gettysburg were incorporated into the end of this Palladium show. The backup singers were a pleasant and welcome surprise in Gettysburg and we were glad to see them again here. The Imposters seemingly can play any song as they displayed through more than twenty songs.

4.0 star rating Toby from Kansas City, Missouri


Saw Elvis Costello yesterday (8/27/21) at the Uptown Theatre. I am not sure what I thought of it. It started at 7:15 and got over at 9:20. The normal lead guitar player was not able to be with them so Charlie Sexton. He is a great guitar player, but not sure how much of the songs were new to him. The timing seemed off - but I can understand that. He played a half dozen of his hits and they were well received. Elvis made a comment that he normally won't do Allison because he can't do the guitar work, "But Charlie can..." and then they launched into it. They changed the name of the band from the Imposters to the Layabouts because of Charlie. Elvis told a story about his dad, Ross McManus, used the name of the Layabouts because he couldn't recording obligations. I am glad I went. I do wish he would have played the Kansas City song he knows - Liberty Street from The New Basement Tapes. He probably doesn't have much opportunity to play a KC song in KC. I also would have liked to hear songs like Ship Building, Motel Matches, but he played others that were very good to hear. The big tour starts in over a month so this and Omaha were more warm up concerts (I am guessing).

3.0 star rating Annonymous from Vancouver, British Columbia


The sound was terrible and ECs vocals were quite often off key. Indeed the backup singers saved the day! Would have enjoyed hearing more of his older hits. Queen E is a great venue and I’ve seen many fantastic concerts there but this was not one of them.

3.0 star rating Franco DiSalvo from Vancouver, British Columbia


I was really looking forward to seeing Elvis Costello. I have been a big fan for a very long time but for one reason or the other, never made it to any of his shows. The sound, especially the vocals were horrible. There is no excuse in this day and age. The QE Theatre generally has good acoustics. Granted EC was struggling with a cold and coming off a long tour, but the vocals were inaudible. He also had to undergo cancer treatment in July, so he pulled off a gutsy performance. His artistic flair is still evident, although I wish he had stuck to his original versions. The fans leaving early was distracting and I couldn't help but feel that EC deserved better. His set last nearly 3 hours which is unheard of these days. The back up singers saved the performance for the most part. They were incredible. Elvis Costello is a great performer and Canadian. Yes, I hope to see him again.

3.0 star rating Lisa from Los Angeles, California


We were in the second to last row. Living with (and attended with) an audiophile bf I’ve come to be quite sound sensitive and immediately knew something was up with the acoustics. Although, not sure who to blame - Venue or sound crew. Found ourselves enduring the show and leaving before encore. So not like us being huge live music and Elvis Costello fans!

3.0 star rating Jonathan from Vancouver, British Columbia


It’s going to be pretty tough to please everyone when your career spans 40 years, but we were hoping to hear some of the 70’s and 80’s stuff played in the original arrangements. Didn’t really care for the somewhat ‘wanky’ departures during classics like Watching the Detectives, and those backup singers were completely unnecessary. Elvis is still a way awesome cat though, so cool to see him still rockin’ it!

3.0 star rating from Vancouver, British Columbia


Nice that Elvis sang a long (2 hr 45 min) show despite battling a bad cold. Much of his singing was pitchy and froggy. (I understand the frogginess, but does a cold make you go off pitch?) His vocals improved as the night went on. Weird rendition of Watching the Detectives, good versions of Pump It Up and What so Funny About Peace, Love and Understanding. Great band (love Pete Thomas's drumming). Thanks god for the back up singers. Elvis did offer some great tortured-sounding guitar leads. I think if he wasn't sick this would be a 4 star (or even five) star show.

3.0 star rating MatWin from Vancouver, British Columbia


His voice was not up to par. The sound could have been better. All the energy came from the 2 back up singers who were great. Did not stay for the encore, which is a first.

3.0 star rating Taps from Minneapolis, Minnesota


The Imposters are grand musicians, as is EC, and the back-up singers were great. The few rockers that they played, that did not depend on EC's vocals, were good, 'High Fidelity', etc..., and especially the closing 'Peace, Love & Understanding' were fantastic. Unfortunately EC doesn't have the voice any more. His ballads are difficult to sing in general, in terms of pitch and phrasing, and it's too bad that EC can't really sing his own ballads any more. And the thing with his songs, is no one could really do his ballads justice. I love a ton of EC's ballads, but if he can't do them any more and no one else can, then I will just have to live in the past.

3.0 star rating Deb from Milwaukee, Wisconsin


Was quite excited to see Elvis Costello live for the 1st time. Sound quality was so bad we left half way through. It was like trying to understand Dylan, muffled, garbled, and difficult to understand. But his guitar shined through most of it.

3.0 star rating Cheryl from Frankfort Kentucky


I LOVE Elvis but the sound was so horrible i walked out hoping he would fire the sound man. Doesnt someone walk around to see if the sound is clear. We litterally had zero clear songs

3.0 star rating Patrick O’Doherty from Boston, Massachusetts


Lots of sincere effort from Elvis, Steve, Bruce et Al spoiled by a very muddy sound mix and over-heavy arrangements of his classic songs rendering some almost unrecognizable. At times it sounded like Metallica covering his songs. In contrast Nick Lowe sounded great after 50 years..

2.0 star rating Big D from Vancouver, British Columbia


I love Elvis...I’ve seen him many times...but last night was kind of sad. Really bad sound, and Elvis was struggling to hit the notes and even sing on key. I hope it was because of his cold but the energy was low and overall Imwas disappointed.

2.0 star rating Neil from NV from Vancouver, British Columbia


A for effort to Elvis and the Imposters. They played for almost 3 hours, but Elvis was battling a cold and the the concert featured probably the worst sound I've ever heard - and judging from the other comments posted here and the number of people leaving the concert at different points in the night, it wasn't just me and my guest. All very surprising because the QE Theatre usually has decent acoustics. Unfortunately, the poor sound and Elvis's strained vocals won out. Ironically, the two back up singers stole the limelight. They provided pretty much the only activity taking place on stage and displayed wonderful vocal prowess when permitted, but they were also a jarring contrast to the otherwise staid band members. Pity, it had the makings of a great show.

2.0 star rating Jade from Vancouver, British Columbia


I love Elvis and have seen him 6 times. I hope his struggle to hit the notes was due to a cold and not him losing what was once such a great voice. The sound was just awful and stayed that way throughout the night. Elvis, get a better sound guy! The only spark came from the two back up singers who were also hard to hear due to the sound system . Even the amazing Steve Nieve’s playing sounded tinny. So disappointing.

2.0 star rating James Buckwalter from Madison Indiana


I agree with the other reviewers who were disappointed in the sound quality. With only four instruments on stage at a time, they should all have been as clear as bells, but instead they all washed together, and the sound was muddy enough that it was hard to hear how the base and the piano and the guitar fit together. Whose fault is this? Is it the sound people who travel with Elvis C. or the people at the Palace who dropped a heavy wet blanket on the whole musical experience?

2.0 star rating from Providence, Rhode Island


I've seen Elvis Costello more times than I can remember since the 70's, starting at Rhode Island College, and traveling back and forth to venues in every decade since. I've seen him play angry (even though he isn't any more..) I've seen him play drunk, not feeling well from illness, and everything in between. This performance, in my opinion was a moody, VooDooish , Halloweenie kinda vibe and very difficult to get into. Something more than acoustics was in play here. At times he could barely warble a sentence, other times he sounded like he did in his 20's. I get it...We're much older now. It doesn't excuse poor, sound adjustments, rambling songs just wandering into who knows where, and vilifying great songs and turning them into throw away's I've never accepted the" tired of playing them" excuse. With a catalog as large and varied as the band has that doesn't cut it. He was very engaging, the extra guitar was great but It was the first time I ever left a Costello show before it was over.

2.0 star rating Joey from Boston


I have seen Elvis many times and last night's show was the most disappointing by far. My first time at Providence Performing Arts, I was wowed by the beauty of the place. But the sound system was awful. Over 1/2 the concert was just one loud bass thud with the vocals often inaudible. I don't know whether it was because of the sound or monitors but it was the least energetic I have ever seen him. His voice was often pitchy and his timing was consistently behind the band's playing. I felt he was just going through the motions with a few exceptions....King of America and I Want You come to mind. And the poor guy must be so bored playing Pumping it Up, Watching the Detectives, and Peace Loving and Understanding as his encore (I think it was every other time I've seen him, too). I can't help but wonder if he takes it easy in smaller cities so he can rock harder in bigger ones. Such a mediocre way to experience a beautiful concert hall. Is the sound there always that bad?

2.0 star rating Eugeria from Providence, Rhode Island


Band tight, great set list, terrible, and I mean terrible, job projecting Elvis's voice. Completely muddy, unintelligible and buried by the band. Very disappointing concert.

2.0 star rating Tracy from San Francisco, California


The sound was awful, really horrible, so bad tried moving about the theatre & couldn’t find anywhere that wasn’t cringe worthy. People complained & walked out. There was no energy even when he played his old time hits. It felt unrehearsed, his tone was awful, the bass was deafening & not necessarily because of volume. The rhythms were off. ….. no depth, his voice was mostly off, total lack of energy. What a sad performance. A waste of time & energy. I’m a long time fan & I’ve seen his live performances in the past ….. I walked out after an hour of what felt like an assault on my ears.

2.0 star rating Mike C. from Washington, District of Columbia


Let me start by saying I think Elvis C. is a great lyricist and musician. Hence, I gave two stars instead of one. I saw him last night at Wolf Trap in Vienna, VA. Not sure if he was having an off night (which I hope was the case) but he was out time (with the band) for most of the show and wasn't in key for most of the songs. It just sounded really bad. So bad, in fact, I left after about forty minutes. So, I suppose its possible that he got better and I missed it. I have only ever walked out of one other concert in my life (and that was more because of rainy weather than performance). I've been to hundreds of concerts over the last four decades. Last night was the worst live performance I have ever experienced. Still love him but will not pay to see him live again. On a positive note, his opening act, Nick Lowe, was fantastic. Mike C.

2.0 star rating Mike from Easton, Pennsylvania


I have been a fan of EC since the "My Aim Is True" Album. Unfortunately, acoustics in Wind Creek events center were terrible. Line of site to stage is poor as well as the venue doesn't slope toward stage. Music was very distorted with sound bouncing off metal ceiling and cement walls creating echo effect making vocals and music difficult to hear clearly. I had been to two other concerts there( side and front sections) and sound was almost as bad and only a little better in the center section. I dont know if accoustics were throwing off band timing as some of the instruments seemed off time with others for several songs. Vocals were off a bit as well- maybe acousitics? Show started about 20-30 min late and they played for just about 90 min. One complaint regarding multiple artists concerts I have attended in past couple of years is the song selections. I can only speak for myself, but I dont overpay for show tickets to hear more obscure B side songs( that were never popular for a reason) than the popular songs even if they may have been played at the show just prior to mine.

1.0 star rating James Martin from Vancouver, British Columbia


This is the 3rd time I've seen Elvis C and I have to say, I was very disappointed. I now read from other reviews that he was battling a cold, which explains some of the poor quality vocals and sound. We left after song 5 and cut our losses. I'm going to leave my memory of the last 2 concerts and try to erase this one. I appreciated the early night, so every cloud has a silver linning.

1.0 star rating Jennifer from Vancouver, British Columbia


Muddy sound really ruined the show. Need to hire some decent sound men because an artist of this stature should sound so much better. Could not understand vocals at all. His guitar playing was excellent but overall a very amateur show

1.0 star rating Donn B from Northern Ca.


Long time fan however we couldn’t make out any of the words and were very disappointed. Three songs and we decided it most likely would not improve so we headed back to our room.

1.0 star rating Connie from Louisville, Kentucky


Hated it! Sorry.

1.0 star rating Symon from Providence, Rhode Island


This may be an unfair review because I did not see the entire performance. I was excited to see Elvis after about 20 years (I first saw him at Brown University in 1978). Charlie Sexton's inclusion in the band was also a huge plus. I have always loved his work. At about 7:40 the show started. The sound quality was terrible! (to the point where it took half a minute to figure out what song Elvis was singing ("Is that Green Shirt?")). The band was lost in a muddy mix with some sort of bass fog permeating it. This improved somewhat over the next few songs but I then was treated to a run of four songs that left me cold. Either Side of the Same Town, Hetty O'Hara Confidential, Hey Clockface / How Can You Face Me? &The Death of Magic Thinking. The crowd seemed to appreciate them which I found baffling. This was followed by (The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes. An excellent early song! Elvis was off key and his timing was off. This was followed by Stations of the Cross and my departure. Perhaps my feelings were exaggerated after seeing Midge Ure play a flawless solo acoustic set to about 75 people in Boston the night before. Perfect vocals, an excellent set list & great in between song insight into the songs. The contrast to that event and what took place at the PPAC last night was immense.

1.0 star rating J.t. from Indianapolis, Indiana


Horrible Sound!!! WTF...people payed over $70.00 and no one does a sound check? The set list was for someone...but not for me....maybe for E.C. Fifth show I have seen of his over the years...extremely disappointed. I stuck it because...because it was E.C. Several people left. I don't think there will be a sixth show. M.O.O.

1.0 star rating Jolly Brown from San Francisco, California


We walked out after 3 songs as the sound team for Elvis was a shade bit worse than terrible! NEVER COME SEE ELVIS AGAIN! AND PROBABLY NEVER AGAIN TO THE FOX!

1.0 star rating Love to listen. from Boston, Massachusetts


I went thinking I would make through Nick Lowe just to get to EC. Yet, Nick Lowe and his awesome band had me jumping in my seat. While EC was unbearable because sound was atrocious. So sad to see this same type of review over and over.

1.0 star rating Joe B from Atlantic City, New Jersey


I have been a longtime fan of EC and have seen him perform multiple times live during the past 30 years…last night’s show at The Ocean Resort was unlike any previous performance, unfortunately for all the wrong reasons…we initially thought that there must not have been a “sound” check” prior to the show because everything just seemed off…my GF had enough, and after only 6-7 songs, she decided to leave early…I hung in for another 2 songs, and then checked as well…not every performance will be epic, I get it…but something was definitely off in AC…I’ll give EC a mulligan on this one…Still love you Elvis!!!

1.0 star rating Ricardo from Kingston NY


Fire the soundman. Could barely hear a word of lyrics. Completely unbalanced musical noise. We walked out early. So disappointing and honestly, inexcusable with no redeeming social value. Time for EC to hang up the guitar strap. Feel bad for the other musicians to have to endure these terrible performances.


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