Adorned in his trademark hat and thick rimmed 50’s style glasses, Elvis Costello walked onto the gigantic Pyramid Stage and rocked the crowd with some of the most intricate and descriptively amazing songs ever written.
This isn’t his first visit to the massive world famous music festival: He first performed there as a solo artist in 1987, only a year after splitting from his band The Attractions, where he played a setlist of 28 songs to an audience of 60,000 people.
Opening his slightly shorter 2013 set with the 1986 hit I Hope You’re Happy Now, Elvis quickly got the audience on their feet, singing and dancing. Being quite shy, he didn’t interact too much with the sun kissed crowd, however they were there for the music, so that was all that really mattered!
As he was performing on the UK’s Armed Forces Day, he played his classic song Oliver’s Army as a tribute to the armed forced.
Elvis even made several little digs at the unpopular ex-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and the current government headed by David Cameron before launching into Tramp The Dirt Down. The politically charged lyrics, written in 1989 while Thatcher was in power, sees Costello expressing his desire to live long enough to see her die, vowing, “I’ll stand on your grave and tramp the dirt down.”
Despite the main man being front and centre, the rest of the band was fantastic too. Costello announced each of them separately during (I Don’t Want To Go To) Chelsea, allowing them each to take their own solo: Davey Faragher on bass, ‘proffessor’ Steve Nieve on keys, and Pete Thomas on drums.
The bands live setlist is often very diverse, and wildly varies from show to show, but despite omitting such greats as Alison and Accidents Will Happen, the mix of songs was fair and brilliant, and they provided a fantastic form of entertainment for the thousands of fans waiting for the Rolling Stones who were set to headline the Pyramid Stage that evening (review here).
The previous night saw Sheffield rock band the Arctic Monkeys headline (review here).
Elvis Costello setlist
I Hope You’re Happy Now
Heart Of The City
I Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down
Everyday I Write The Book
Watching The Detectives
Good Year For The Roses
Jimmie Standing In The Rain
Tramp The Dirt Down
(I Don’t Want To Go To) Chelsea
(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes
Less Than Zero
Pump It Up
(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding
Out Of Time