Song of the Day #4,370: ‘You Bowed Down (Live)’ – Elvis Costello

The streaming revolution has no doubt changed music listening for the better.

For a small monthly price, I now have practically every song or album I’ll ever want to hear at my fingertips. I can listen to new releases by artists I might have otherwise never heard, and I can dive deep into the catalogs of great artists, unburdened by the costs that used to come with being a completist.

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Song of the Day #1,017: ‘Little Atoms’ – Elvis Costello

I’ve been lucky enough to see Elvis Costello in concert four times. Every one of the shows was simply amazing.

The first was on Halloween night, 1999, in Sunrise, Florida, and like the SOTD’s from yesterday and today, it featured just Costello on guitar and Steve Nieve on piano. The 39-song (!) set list is posted here and I believe it might have been submitted to that site by my cousin (though certainly there were other “Heathers” who attended the show).

Song #39 on that list, ‘Couldn’t Call it Unexpected No. 4,’ was delivered “off mic” by Costello in one of the most intimate moments I’ve ever witnessed at a live concert. He was about ten feet away, belting out the song with no accompaniment.

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Song of the Day #1,016: ‘Black Sails in the Sunset’ – Elvis Costello

In 1996, Elvis Costello toured in support of his All This Useless Beauty album with a series of low-key shows featuring just him on acoustic guitar and his longtime keyboardist Steve Nieve on piano.

The same year, Costello released a limited edition box set compiling performances from five nights of that tour. Each 5- or 6-track CD contained recordings from one U.S. city: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston and New York. It wasn’t the most fan-friendly packaging (each CD runs a little more than 20 minutes, meaning the whole thing could have fit on one or two discs) but it was a special collection.

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