Elvis Costello Brought The Imposters To Manchester

The band are currently on ‘The Boy Named If and Other Favourites’ Tour Across The UK

Over 500,000 music fans were estimated to be heading to the city on Saturday night, with the likes of Ed Sheeran, Alicia Keys and The Killers all in town, as well as Parklife festival. Instead of opting for one of those, I chose to go for something a little bit more chilled, and headed to Manchester’s incredible Opera House to join around 1500 Elvis Costello fans to witness his current tour.

Ian Prowse played a short but captivating set to kick the evening off. During his set, he dedicated the track ‘home’ to the late Janice Long, who passed last year and was a big fan of the band and close friend too. The band return to Manchester as a full 6 piece in September, where they will play a headline gig at Gullivers in the Northern Quarter. If you’ve never heard any of Ian’s material, then it’s definitely worth a listen, his blend of folk with acoustic rock is something rarely seen or heard these days. Unfortunately, there were a few technical hitches during his set, where the sound was dropping out, but they played on and delivered a brilliant warm up for Elvis Costello. 

It’s the first time I’ve been to a gig at the Opera House, and for bands like Costello, it’s a perfectly suited venue. If more bands played here, the venue could become something really quite special on the live music scene in Manchester, allowing for intimate gigs, something which some Manchester venues do struggle with due to the immense size of the majority of them. I hope there’s more to come from this venue, and if there is, then I can’t wait to see what it brings to the live music scene.

After a short break, the lights were dimmed and on to the stage stepped Elvis Costello, backed by his incredible band, The Imposters. The atmosphere was calmer than what I was expecting, but that just increased the intimacy of the evening, and everyone was awaiting for those first notes of the set. As he has done throughout the tour, the set opened with ‘Heart Of The City’, with ‘Green Shirt’ and ‘Either Side Of Town’ following on to complete the opening trio. At this point, it was camera away and grab a seat to watch him command the crowd as he ploughed through the set.

He didn’t take a lot of time in between tracks to talk to the crowd, but when he did, he filled it with jokes and stories about the songs and about his fellow band members. Some prefer it when the artist just cracks on with their music, some prefer it when there’s a bit of crowd interaction, I like an equal balance, and I feel that Costello delivered that in Manchester. Without him ploughing through the set, he wouldn’t have gotten through ~20 tracks, and the set list was incredibly strong, and included a good mix of his biggest tracks from his various projects, along with some tracks you don’t hear all that often.

The set list for the evening looked like this:


Heart Of The City
Green Shirt
Either Side of the Same Town
Hetty O’Hara Confidential
Hey Clockface/How Can You Face Me?
Mystery Dance
Truth Drug
The Difference
Indoor Fireworks
Penelope Halfpenny
What if I Can’t Give You Anything but Love?
Newspaper Pane
A Good Year for the Roses
The Comedians
The Death of Magic Thinking
(I Don’t Want to Go to) Chelsea
Magnificent Hurt
Mr. and Mrs. Hush
Pump It Up
(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding
We Are All Cowards Now
There are still plenty of UK dates left on the tour, before Elvis and the band head over to Europe and the US to finish the tour off. For dates, and any remaining tickets, head to his website!