It's appropriate that in the middle of his Saturday night show at Summerfest's BMO Harris Pavilion, Elvis Costello referenced his first performance in Milwaukee, saying he first appeared here in 1977 and didn't realize that we had summer here until 1983.
Costello, who with his band The Imposters played to what appeared to be a roughly half-full seating area at the venue, opened with a string of old favorites, making the show basically a walk down memory lane with just a few more recent tunes peppered into the hour-long set and an encore than ran nearly another half-hour.
Kicking off with the high-spirited "Lipstick Vogue," and following with a cover of Nick Lowe's "Heart of the City," Mystery Dance ," "Radio Radio" and "Everyday I Write the Book," Costello kept the performance uptempo and intense throughout.
Long-time fans were thrilled to get a set that featured mostly favorites – he played "High Fidelity," "Clubland," "Watching the Detectives," among others, and in the encore heaped it on with "Less Than Zero," "Chelsea" and "Pump It Up," before letting loose with another Lowe cover, this time one for which Costello is more famous, "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding."
The performance reprised an Elvis and the Imposters gig a few years earlier on the same site, on the temporary Classic Rock Stage which was replaced by the BMO.
The sound was crystal clear and the sightlines great in the new venue. It was just a shame that more folks didn't take advantage of the beautiful night to hear a high-octane rock and roll gig.
Local boy Willy Porter opened the show with a solo set to start the night.
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