Elvis Costello Winnipeg 1978

Elvis Costello Winnipeg 1978

The concert that changed my life—Elvis Costello Winnipeg 1978

– by Eugene Osudar

last of the lipstick vogue/
daddy live wire!

i never flicked a bic
at a concert
i’ve never owned
a lighter

my most
(im)memorable concert
was back in 1978
i was fifteen

elvis costello and
the attractions

you see
some time
in 1977

a dj on cjum
university radio
where musical freedom
and democracy
thrive
brilliantly
he coupled
elvis costello
and
ac/dc
bon scott’s
ac/dc

talk about high
voltage
electricity

and i was hooked
i was done
addicted to whatever
this was

i didn’t know
punk rock
i didn’t know
new wave
i didn’t hear
a difference
to their passionate
essence
s

the attractions
the angry young men
and the angrier
young men behind them!

from england
from australia

they were rockers
shock/talkers
the music breathed
the music screamed
holy fuck,
“move, young man, move!”

it was november
and i remember
moving
bouncing
bounding
my heart leaping
my lungs breathing
immense gulps of
cold air
electrified out
of the playhouse
with my friend
ross as we breezed
from the downtown
through the north end
to our middle class
homes in weskay
never mind the bus
never mind that bullocks
we were ready for the new
thing
coming

this is what i remember
(hand in hand)
we (all) sat in our seats
cuz we didn’t know
that we could get up
and storm
the stage
we were traumatized
(living in paradise)
by the conformity system
(blame it on cain)

they were all so skinny
(miracle man)
now they’re twice the size

it was one song after another
machine gun style
(little triggers)
attacking us
i was twisting and squirming
in my seat
foot tapping
heart pounding the bass
bruce thomas
drums
exploding
pete thomas
deep thump
rattling ribcage
this year’s girl!
let me outta here!
what the fuck!!!!!
freedom!!!!
democracy
leonard
cohen!

watching the detectives
pump it up
lipstick vogue
mystery dance
the angels wanna wear my red shoes
i don’t want to go to chelsea!!!!
accidents will happen
radio radio
waiting for the end of the world
i’m not angry anymore
the first two albums
and a taste of armed
forces
yumyum
no action!

65 minutes
at least that’s
what i want to believe
and 65 minutes
is what i firmly believe
is the perfect
concert length
(exceptions,
bruce springsteen
neil young
the weber brothers)

and this is what i remember
it was The Beat
(the song)
that played over and over in my head
why that song?
over and over
and all these years
later
over and over
it still plays
in my head
less than zero!

and this is what i know
steve nieve
taught me how to dance
he pogo/ed behind
the keys
and that’s what i did
(you belong to me!
forever steve/thank you!)
i copied his moves
to this day
i’m 45, i danced
3 hours last night
it’s always steve’s pogo

it was a mystery dance
until that night
in november
now it’s my dance

and this is what i remember
near the end of the show
elvis gestured
with his hand
roughly lewdly
grunting with his
thick brit accent
“come on!!!!”
and we stood up
some non/conformists
dared to rush
the stage

i will dare
replacements!

see, we followed orders

ah, but the democracy
of the new wave
the punk rock
was about to explode

flash forward 2004
i saw elvis and steve again
it began
like a memory ghost
he played the great songs
and i was 15 again

they were so wide
their girth
my mirth
steve’s large posterior
glued to his seat
no more pogo/ing
elvis a balloon man
the goon squad!

and then it happened
accidents will happen
don’t they?
he played songs from
north
oh fuck, how boring
i thought
and after two of these
dreadful songs
someone yelled out,
“Boring!!!!”

diana kraaaaaall’s family
in the first row
oh my
why did you have to say
what i was thinking
what so many were thinking
be polite
be,
ah fuck man
this is a democracy

speak the truth!

go ahead be a rude boy!

and on elvis went
over and over
monologuing
on and on
de/mo/gog/ging
on how they boo/ed
dylan
when he went electric

oh elvis
The Band was/is electric
and those booing people
complete music snobs
your songs
from north
are ut/ter/ly shhhhhhhite
don’t speak!
this is the last of the lipstick vogue!

the vibe was done

he was lost in the confused
anger of an old
overweight man
for 30 minutes

get to the slot machine
you say i’ve got no feelings!

see, if he had only played for
65 minutes
machine gun style
one song after another
just the beat

but you see
even that fat elvis
couldn’t take away
that night in november
1978
by the way,
that was my very first
concert

i still have my stub
if you think i’m a faker!
i’m not joking
i’m not just another mouth
i’m the last of the lip
stick/vogue
sometimes i almost
feel like a human
being
it’s you!

thank you
elvis
thank you
pete
thank you
bruce
thank you
steve
i love you!

(big tears!)

-eugene osudar, winnipeg 01/31/09

About Eugene Osudar

“born, august 16, 1963. i’m 45, and yes, i’m getting too old for this. bring out the rocking chair. my first concert, november 1978, elvis costello and the attractions. i was 15. their blisteringly brilliant 65 minute set only served somebody to affirm my new direction in the musical parallel universes, new wave punk alternative, oh sanctity oh celebration (!Freedom!) college radio! i’m old, i’m used up and i’m free. i see 50something Full sets of music every month and dance most of them. and when i dance, i mean to say, I Dance and Celebrate, 2/3/4 hours a night. The Gaslight Anthem. The Boss. The Weber Brothers. The Wind Ups. i’ll dance with Los Campesinos. i’ll move to The Long Winters. The Replacements. Husker Du. The Pogues. oh elvis costello, oh Clash! i could go/go/go Gogol Bordello forever. L(eonard) Cohen. come, Dance With Me (Old 97s) wherever you may be, sincerely, eugene
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