Earlier this week, Elvis Costello made a surprise appearance at the Nick Lowe/Robyn Hitchcock show in New York City – of course, recordings are circulating. Here are some excerpts from one: the first is Nick and Elvis doing the song Elvis wrote for Nick, “Indoor Fireworks.” The second one is a version of a song best known by that other Elvis fella, “Mystery Train,” with Robyn taking the lead vocal and Elvis on harmonies. Oh, and some incredibly enthusiastic fan very near the recorder – we shall designate him “The Train Whistle” and imagine that it was all planned like that.
Another all-star Elvis Costello extravaganza happened about two years ago in Atlantic City. Costello and the Imposters hosted a show also featuring Death Cab for Cutie, Fiona Apple, and Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day. A tribute to American Idiot: I picked that one up a couple of years back, liked it well enough, but also thought the production and arranging were at times maybe a bit too safe, and consequently I haven’t listened to it that much. And I’m not a radio-listening guy…yet hearing the three songs from that album featured at this show – here’s “Wake Me Up When September Ends” – I recognized them instantly. Armstrong and company know how to write a catchy song, which is harder than you’d think.
Costello covered Apple’s “I Know” in his full-blown balladeer mode, while Apple dueted with Costello on his “Shabby Doll.” She also sang lead on a heart-wringing version of Costello’s “I Want You,” a performance which, unfortunately, got cut in half in my source.
Oh – and apparently following up on his amusing guest-host stint on Letterman’s show a couple of years back, Costello will also be hosting a TV show with Elton John (via Zoilus). I think Mojo Nixon was singing about the wrong Elvis. (As opposed to the wrong Eno.)
Nick Lowe and Elvis Costello “Indoor Fireworks” (live 4/9/08)
Robyn Hitchcock, Elvis Costello, and Nick Lowe “Mystery Train” (live 4/9/08)
Billie Joe Armstrong with Elvis Costello and the Imposters “Wake Me Up When September Ends” (live 5/19/06)
Elvis Costello and the Imposters “I Know” (Fiona Apple cover, live 5/19/06)
Elvis Costello and the Imposters with Fiona Apple “Shabby Doll” (live 5/19/06)