Club Date: Live In Memphis
As a promotional stunt to hype his latest back-to-my-roots release, Delivery Man, Elvis Costello staged a one-off gig at the cozy Hi-Tone Cafe in Memphis for 200 hardcore fans who camped out for tickets. Since the event was being filmed for DVD release, the polyester-encased Costello veered from his typical album-plugging strategy and stacked his sweaty set with crowd-pleasers like Radio Radio, High Fidelity, Blame It On Caine and Alison, well distributed to pick up the energy level after each lull brought on by the performance of a lame new tune. He’s got balls, though. Not everyone would try pushing his own corny rewrites of James Carr and OV Wright soul classics on the hometown crowd.
Other than the mid-set cameo by Emmylou Harris for some sweetly harmonized duets, the real kick here is the bonus Spinal Tap-style travelogue Off The Beaten Path, in which Costello and drummer Pete Thomas present their own confused history of Southern soul and blues while being chauffered around Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi in an old Cadillac with the windows rolled up. Quite revealing, however unintentionally.