Elvis Costello - vocals, guitar; Steve Nieve - organ; Bruce Thomas - bass; Pete Thomas - drums
Recorded on the tour promoting his Goodbye Cruel World album, this classic King Biscuit Flower Hour performance shows the musical transition Elvis Costello was going through during the mid-80s. His band, the Attractions, had received a facelift with the addition of Gary Barnacle on sax that brightened up many of the new songs in the show, and Costello himself somehow juggles his trademark new-wave sound with the more sophisticated and complex songs he had begun writing and recording at the time.
The classic Attractions line-up consisted of Steve Nieve on keyboards (who, on this tour only, called himself Maurice Worm for some unknown reason), Pete Thomas on drums and Bruce Thomas on bass. Costello and the Attractions had been popular for nearly seven years when this tour was launched, but he had already written and recorded ten albums of mostly short songs. Needless to say, there was a wealth of material to choose from on this tour and some of his greatest songs are featured here. At the time, Costello was enjoying one of the last chart hit singles he would have in his career with "The Only Flame In Town."
Specific highlights include "Shipbuilding," the haunting anti-war jazz song written by Costello and Clive Langer and later recorded by ex-Soft Machine founder Robert Wyatt, a rousing re-vamp of The Byrds '60s classic, "So You Wanna Be (A Rock 'n Roll Star)" and the always energetic "Pump It Up."