Pops Goes Elvis

Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Elvis Costello talks about filming music videos in Hawaii and his weekend appearances with the Honolulu Symphony Pops, his first island concerts

Friday - March 31, 2006
By Chad Pata
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Elvis Costello: The English rocker’s new album takes a jazzy turn with a full orchestra
Elvis Costello: The English rocker’s
new album takes a jazzy turn with a
full orchestra

Elvis Costello and the Honolulu Pops? What’s next, Ozzy Osbourne and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir?

Yes, it’s true, London’s acerbic wit, anti-establishment icon and intellectual yin to the Sex Pistols’ emotional yang is playing the Blaisdell Concert Hall this weekend with the symphony.

It is the second stop on his tour promoting his new album, My Flame Burns Blue, which he recorded with the Dutch orchestra Metropole Orkest. It is a collection of not just classical jazz compositions, but remakes of some of his hits only with a 52-piece backing band.


He has turned Watching the Detectives into a ‘50s television theme song while the formerly innocuous Clubland has been turned into a psychedelic soundtrack for a Latin Merry-Go-Round.

But as fun as those songs are, he perhaps strikes home best with the opening track Hora Decubitus. The music belongs to Charles Mingus, but the lyrics were penned by Costello in the hours after the 9/11 attacks. His staccato delivery really captures the racing that all our minds and emotions endured as we processed the events of that day.


These tracks and others will be featured in the second half of his show, while the first half will be the symphony performing Costello’s classical composition Il Sogno, which he wrote for an Italian dance company’s version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

He will follow up his two-day stint here with a Sunday show on Maui featuring just Costello and his pianist Steve Nieve, which he says will be much more free form than the stringent structure of the symphony.

Despite his new formal style, his ideals

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