Elvis Costello and Blondie at Irvine

Sunday night August 6, we had a chance to take in Elvis Costello and Blondie at the Five Points Amphitheatre in Irvine.

Before I review the show a bit, let me say that Elvis Costello is positively one of the most talented songwriters of his generation. His songs are emotional, poignant, biting, insightful, often anthemic, commentaries with clever hooks, songs you can sing along and relate to…

Though I have seen easily 300 concerts, I never had a chance to see him live when he was the “angry young man” I loved so much. At this advanced stage, he doesn’t have the raw energy he once did…not his fault of course, but it is what it is…

Opening with Pump It Up and Clubland, it was clear that he wasn’t the vibrant iconoclast that said “To Hell!” to Saturday Night Live, but it was still reassuring to see him perform nonetheless.

He told some interesting stories, which I enjoyed very much, did a short stint at the piano, and performed a few of his older hits like Less Than Zero and a graphics-enhanced Watching the Detectives.

He finished with a long version of When I Write the Book and Allison. Backing him up was the three-piece band, the Impostors, and two very competent (and fun to watch) backup singers.

When he returned for an encore, we were greeted with his two biggest songs, Radio Radio, and the amazing What’s So Funny (About Peace, Love, and Understanding). This last song, to me, is one of the greatest songs by anyone, period. I get all choked up whenever I hear it.

Blondie was the opening act. There were some semi-rabid Blondie fans at the show and gave the 74-year-old Debbie Harry a rousing reception as she played about 45 minutes of her greatest hits. Not my particular favorite, but at her age, she did rather well and I have to give her and her rocking band credit.

All in all, I lamented to myself that I got there twenty years after the Man’s prime; wasn’t his fault at all, yet we were still treated to some nicer moments.

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