Friday, June 27, 2014

Adventures in Nashville: Elvis! (Costello!)

Today we're venturing off the bookish path for a more musical one, though this journey would not have been possible if I hadn't already been heading to Nashville for UtopYA.

I've been an Elvis Costello fan for about ten years now, which is not all that long considering that his first album, My Aim Is True was released in 1977 (the year I was born). I first began really listening to his music after catching some old music videos of his on VH1 Classic, back when they played videos twenty-four hours a day. One of my favorite EC songs ended up being, appropriately enough, "Everyday I Write the Book."

I attended my first Elvis concert in 2005. I was living in New York City at the time and was fortunate enough to see him perform live twice that year, and twice again in 2006. You could say I was a little spoiled, since he played NYC often, and still does. The next time I saw him live was in 2008, the year I moved to Florida; he opened for The Police on their reunion tour.

I knew when I moved that one of the things I'd probably be giving up was going to an EC concert practically every year. In the grander scheme of life there are far worse things one could be without, but this was a big one for me, and I freely admit it because I love his music. About two years ago, and my mind is a little fuzzy on the exact date because this tale ends unhappily, Elvis was scheduled to play in the Orlando area. Not only that, but the shows were going to feature a giant wheel that audience members were going to be invited up on stage to spin. Whatever song the wheel landed on was the song that was going to get played next. Pretty neat, right? (Elvis did a similar tour in the 80's).

Of course I had to go to this show. I scored third row center seats and all was well until I received an email from Ticketmaster saying that the show was postponed. Tickets would be honored on the rescheduled date, but in a stroke of supremely bad luck, this particular show could not be made up when he returned to Florida for the other gigs that had been postponed. The venue was not available at the time because the touring production of The Lion King had taken up residence at the theater for about a month. I had never hated Simba and his pals so much in my life.

Fast forward to a few months ago. Ally, The Melissa, and I already had our road trip to Nashville for UtopYA booked. Then I happened to see a Facebook post announcing tour dates for some solo EC shows. I could not, and still sort of don't, believe that one of those dates coincided with the Saturday that we were also going to be in Nashville. If this was the universe's way of making up for the Cancelled Due to The Lion King Thing, I was seizing the opportunity.

And that's how Ally and I (The Melissa is not a fan of The EC and relaxed back at the hotel) found ourselves at the Ryman Auditorium last Saturday. The venue is renowned for its place in country music history and stellar acoustics. Although you're assigned to individual seat numbers, you actually share a long church pew. I didn't care if I had to stand on my head for two hours; I was prepared to enjoy this evening to the fullest.

At all of the shows I've been to, Elvis has been a punctual man, and at exactly 8:47, following a half hour set by opening act Larkin Poe, he took the stage. I know I had a goofy smile on my face; I hadn't been deliriously happy in a very long time. I mean, I was about to burst from happiness. Elvis opened with the fantastic "Jack of All Parades," and then, and then, and then . . . he sang my favorite song of his EVER.

At first I didn't recognize the opening notes to "King Horse" because I'd never heard it acoustic before, but when I caught on, I flailed. I think I may have even punched Ally in the arm. I never thought I'd get to hear that song live just because Elvis's song catalog is so vast. I'm not exaggerating when I say that I can now die a happy person for having heard "King Horse" live.

I'm not going to bore you with a song-by-song recap of the evening (although I'd be more than ecstatic to do so for anyone who'd like one!). Elvis rocked for over two hours with an eclectic setlist that ranged from early compositions like "Cheap Reward" to the very, very recent "The Last Year of My Youth" to an absolutely electrifying "Watching the Detectives." He also did an awesome mash-up of his own "New Amsterdam" and The Beatles' "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away." He sang "Alison," which made me very happy for our own Ally, because she's an Allison (with two L's).

Needless to say, this concert was the highlight of the trip for me. It also goes without saying that I fangirl hard over Elvis, really on a par with my book fangirling. So to tie Elvis and books together, here's a clip of him and his band, The Imposters, performing "Everyday I Write the Book" live. ;)


  1. Oh I'm so happy you got to see one of your favorite musicians while in Nashville - especially after missing out one the wonderful show they had to postpone! And you had 3rd row tickets! Ugh. I can imagine living in NYC made it MUCH easier to see him, and all your other imaginable favorites. Anyways YAY for getting to see him again and how awesome is it that he played your favorite song?! I always hope my favorite musicians or bands will play all my favorites but they rarely do so THAT is a sweet treat :D

    1. It was a phenomenal performance-there aren't adequate words to describe it. I truly would have felt the same even if he hadn't performed "King Horse," but he did, and that made the night all the more special. I would travel that far to see him again, though I do hope he'll play a little bit closer to home next time. :D

  2. It was great to read your enthusiasm for Elvis in this post! I'm not really a fan, but I totally understand the wonder of seeing your fave performer live! It's just an amazing experience. It's so funny (and unfortunate!) that The Lion King ruined your first chance to see Elvis though - I hope you have made it up with Simba now? :)

    1. When I read over this post, even I was surprised by how much fangirling I did, lol. And yes, I think Simba and I can now put that past unpleasantness behind us and move forward. ;)


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