Stepping onto Radio City Music Hall's famed stage with a songwriter of Burt Bacharach's
caliber and a 30-piece orchestra would seem to require a detailed plan.
Therefore, after collaborating with Bacharach on the recently released LP Painted
From Memory, singer/songwriter Elvis Costello has gone ahead and mapped out just
such a blueprint. Among other things, the strategy calls for the new-wave pioneer to lend
his vocals to some of Bacharach's biggest hits, as well as songs from his own repertoire.
It's their way of introducing the two songwriters to the world as a team.
"It's going to be an introduction to Burt and myself onstage, and we'll draw on not only
the songs on this record, but songs from our catalog," Costello said (interview excerpt). "We will leave the
stage to each other for a short period during the show, but I'll also do some of his songs,
some of his famous songs, with me as the vocalist, so that'll be something unique to that
concert. It's going to be quite an evening."
Getting underway Tuesday (Oct. 13) at New York's Radio City Music Hall, the twosome
will then take a 30-piece orchestra on a tour of one-night stands in Washington, D.C., and
Chicago before bringing the mini-tour to a close with an Oct. 20 show at the Universal
Amphitheatre in Los Angeles.
Featuring their Grammy-nominated effort
href="http://www.addict.com/music/Costello,_Elvis/God_Give_Me_Strength.ram">"God Give Me Strength"
Give Me Strength"(RealAudio excerpt), Painted From Memory is the
product of a collaboration between Bacharach -- best-known for penning, with lyricist Hal
David, such '60s pop tunes sung by Dionne Warwick as "Do You Know the Way to San
Jose" and "Walk On By" -- and Costello, whose new-wave guitar-pop past has produced
albums such as his 1977 debut, My Aim Is True, and pop hits such as "Veronica"
and "Everyday I Write the Book."
Recorded over a two-year span at Ocean Way Studios in Los Angeles, the pair wrote the
12 songs for Painted From Memory in short bursts of five days at a time, stealing
the odd moment to work in hotel rooms or Bacharach's writing room. They committed the
album to tape with Bacharach playing piano and conducting a 24-piece string section,
with Costello singing.
Despite the intricate, orchestral nature of brooding compositions such as
(RealAudio excerpt), Costello predicted there will be plenty of room for improvisation
during the four shows.
"There's a lot of discipline in what we've done, but it's only disciplined and notated to the
extent that I can then have the freedom to create something at the spontaneous moment
of performance, whether it's in front of the microphone in the studio or on the stage,"
"We're going to go on the stage and do these numbers with a 30-piece orchestra and
we're opening in Radio City. We're not opening in some little town, we're opening in
Radio City Music Hall" (interview excerpt).
Bacharach/Costello Tour Dates:
Oct. 13; New York, N.Y., Radio City Music Hall
Oct. 15; Washington, D.C., DAR Constitution Hall
Oct. 16; Chicago, Ill., Chicago Theatre
Oct. 20; Universal City, Calif., Universal Amphitheatre