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Elvis Costello's Spectacular Spinning Songbook Revival Delights Fans & Press

Spinning-songbook Elvis Costello is back on The Revolver Tour featuring the "Spectacular Spinning Songbook". With a setlist powered by a gigantic wheel of fortune, Costello has been reviving early hits as part of a unique selection of songs from his catalog along with "unexpected covers" and surprise guest appearances.  The shows are an excellent example of a great artist taking a fresh approach to presenting his classics, delighting his fanbase and keeping the press attentive.

Marriage Proposal at Elvis Costello Concert, Boston 2011

Elvis Costello revived the Spectacular Spinning Songbook back in May for a month of appearances that brought a great deal of positive attention from the press documenting the shows and their fan participation elements. Positive response was so strong that he kept it up through his summer gigs and is now starting back up after a series of cancelled shows.

The stage is dominated by a gigantic roulette wheel, previously used in 1986, featuring the names of songs. Selected audience members spin the wheel to choose the next song then have the option to perform in the "Hostage to Fortune Go-Go Cage" or hang out in the onstage "Society Lounge" where they watch the show and enjoy refreshments. Backed by The Imposters, aided by lovely ladies in costume and flanked by the wheel and gogo cage, Costello headlines shows that have included such surprise guests as ?uestlove, Eddie Vedder and T-Bone Burnett.

Fan involvement has ranged from sheer exuberance to drunken collapse. Special moments have included a marriage proposal with Costello's participation and apparent gogo cage appearances by Costello himself!

Friday night's set in Atlanta featured a setlist that included spin results as well as off-the-cuff choices made by Costello during the show. The Revolver Tour is scheduled to continue tonight in Indianapolis with a handful of shows to go.

I haven't seen anything about filming but this seems like it would be a great tour to document and take to theaters or release on DVD. It's very much a crowdpleaser from a well-established artist who could probably take his audience's high regard for granted and play whatever he wished from an aloof distance. But Costello's decision to revive the Spectacular Spinning Songbook shows that he's still willing to please his fans while creatively marketing himself through his art.

Hypebot contributor Clyde Smith is a freelance writer and blogger. He blogs about web business models at Flux Research and the world of dance at All World Dance. To suggest music services and related topics for review at Hypebot, please contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.