There’s been plenty of activity in the Elvis Costello camp lately. During the past year, fans have seen solo and full band world tours, the autobiography Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink and companion CD retrospective, plus vinyl reissues of his early LPs. Another U.S. live jaunt starts in late March.
Now comes “Detour: Live at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall,” a stellar new home video release on DVD, Blu-ray and digital formats via Eagle Rock Entertainment. Shot last June, the 105-minute concert film begins with a quick montage of images from around the famous UK music mecca. Then the veteran British singer/songwriter grabs a guitar to launch his 26-song solo acoustic and electric set with a vibrant “(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes,” as an over-sized retro television set flashes assorted images from the old days.
Costello is in fine voice throughout. He delivers a strong, passionate “Watch Your Step” and provides humorous background to many songs, notably “Accidents Will Happen,” an affecting “Shipbuilding” (done on piano), “Ghost Train” and a quiet “Down on the Bottom.” The latter – from 2014’s Bob Dylan/New Basement Tapes project – is among seven tracks where he’s joined by Larkin Poe, a female roots rock duo based in Georgia. They add lap steel, acoustic guitar and supple harmonies to the countrypolitan-leaning “A Good Year for The Roses,” an extended hoedown take on “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding” and more.
Among the other standouts: a down ‘n’ dirty, electrified “Watching the Detectives,” where Costello wrestles feedback from his instrument, the passionate “Alison” and “Jimmie Standing In The Rain.” Fifteen minutes of bonus live material includes the dreamy “Love Field” and “Ascension Day” (in tribute to his late collaborator Allen Toussaint). This “Detour” is one that diehard Costello fans will definitely want to take.
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