Elvis Costello celebrated his past and present work during a sold-out solo show at George Washington University’s Lisner Auditorium on Friday. For more than two hours, he used an array of Gibsons (and, occasionally, an electric piano) to play songs from five decades of his catalog, as well as several loved by his father and grandfather, who were also working musicians. Costello’s voice still retains a snarky punch for songs like “Watching the Detectives,” in which he used a looping pedal to cover the various guitar parts, as well as that vocal lilt that still makes “Bullets for the Newborn King” and “Allison” so emotive. The best part of hearing Costello’s songs in such stripped-down form was the focus it placed on the lyrics, allowing the audience to revel in his eloquent ability to perfectly capture a mood.
See photos from the show in the Gallery.