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Comments by YACCS
Monday, May 30, 2005

Fuck the show, there's a game on

Inter fans thank Liverpool for beating AC Milan

This came across the e-mail desk today

thought you'd get a kick out of this - apparently, elvis costello got himself into a bit of hot water the other day by delaying a show so he could watch the liverpool match:
Booing, beer throwing and Liverpool won the cup!

Some key facts first - the ticket said doors open 7:30, no support. The European Cup final was on TV. Elvis is an enormous Liverpool FC fan who were in the final.

So here we are and at 8:10 the support band takes to the stage, plays a few songs and comments that they are such-and-such and were here while Elvis watches the football. They were a good little band and the crowd gave them a warm reception.

Then Liverpool got the football score back from 3-0 to 3-3 and there was 25 minutes of normal time left. Will he wait that long? Yes he did. Slow hand clapping between background music and the crowd of middle-aged nice people started to get annoyed.

Then full time came, the TV's went off and the band took to the stage to a bit of booing. Elvis went to the microphone and shouted "Norwich, I have only one thing to say to you - Let's Be Having You" - a comment made by the Norwich Football Club Director, celebrity cook Delia Smith, at a recent match. This was met with more booing and a pint of beer being thrown over Costello, who was startled and almost amused. So we were back in 1979 and it was brilliant. The beer thrower was hustled out by Security and Costello walked the stage, coming to the side and mouthing
"Come on you F*%$&ing W*%^ers". The band was now electric and they were rattling through the set.

Half an hour later a rumble went through the crowd and a roadie came on from the side of the stage with his thumbs up, Liverpool had won the cup on penalties after extra time. This led to an impromptu version of You'll Never Walk Alone with the crowd singing along.

After two hours the set was finished. A blistering concert with no encores, but time was up as the venue had an 11:30 finish time.

I spoke with Pete Thomas after the gig and he commented that it was surreal playing as they could see the only TV from the stage and new the score as it happened. He agreed that it had been a very crisp set with a few "Muddy Waters moments" where he thought to himself "Hmm we seem to have missed a chorus and a few verses". I told Pete that it was really nice to meet him as I had seen him play often, the first time being in 1978, to which he commented "I think we played the same set tonight".

Lots of highlights in the music, but just a wonderful unrepeatable night. Great stuff.
more here under "gigography/recent appearances/5-25-2005/norwich uea":

When Americans think they are sports fans, remember this story. Not only does Elvis Costello watch the game despite a full house, he antagonizes the crowd as well. And then gets them to sing the Liverpool song "You'll Never Walk Alone". Which was pretty amazing considering Norwich's season in the Premiership. It's stories like this which keep me writing about soccer.

Update: Elvis Costello writes his side of the story

I can’t say that our entrance to the stage was greeted with wild acclaim. The lights finally went down and the booing actually increased. The lights came up and at first glance the people of Norfolk seemed to be divided into two sub-groups. Those who like to eat biscuits and go to bed early after a little light jiving and a handful of the kind of untamed flatlanders who are sometimes portrayed in Seventies horror films brandishing flaming torches at a lynching.

It had been suggested by my Chelsea-supporting friend that I might further ingratiate myself with a Norwich crowd by echoing the recent emotional outburst of Delia Smith. So my opening remark was “Let’s be having you” and I promptly received a glass of water across the neck of my guitar.

Now I have had many things thrown at me over the years but none of them has been less terrifying than half a glass of lukewarm water. At least it could have been some beer, preferably still in the bottle. I’ve had people seriously intent on killing me, and not just in the late Seventies, when a man wasn’t dressed without a hatchet in his head at couple of our more lively gigs. As recently as “Woodstock 3” , in 1999, Nieve and I faced down what looked like an irate mob of method actors auditioning for a remake of Apocalypse Now. Once the audience have their faces painted green and twigs in their hair, you know you are in deep trouble. Those crazy kids seemed to want to maim us for no other reason than that we were older than them. They were throwing full cans of lite beer and Diet Coke at us, but we pressed on regardless and managed to get out of town unscathed before they started to enact any of the more grisly scenes from Lord of the Flies.

Back in Norwich, it started to become apparent that some people had not got the message about the late start. The drunk who threw his glass of water was ejected by security but not before I identified him, in strictly literal terms, as “a tosser”, along with a couple of other adjectives that might have offended some Daily Mail readers, even if they are not usually that prominent at my shows, because I hate their guts. The offender was promptly taken outside and beaten to a pulp . . . by his girlfriend, who was angry about missing the show.

Once we got rolling, the boisterous start gave a different flavour to the show, although the Imposters played with their customary swagger and panache, not unlike the Liverpool team of the Hansen/Dalglish era. I tried my best to keep my eyes from the TV screen over the bar at the back of the room but the words “Oh s***, he’s missed” might have accidentally crept into the lyrics of Good Year for the Roses .

And suddenly it was all over. I could see people in the bar area punching the air and a rolling cheer overwhelmed the applause for Kinder Murder. Our security man, Paddy Callaghan, capered in the shadows at the edge of the stage with a balletic grace that belies his frame and this was all the confirmation I needed to cue You’ll Never Walk Alone, a song that we had never performed before as a band.

posted by Steve @ 7:34:00 PM

7:34:00 PM

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