Tuesday, December 16, 2008
In retrospect it’s more than obvious that there might not be but one big name musician more appropriate to host a talk-cum-performance show then the smashingly erudite Elvis Costello-smart guy, smart aleck, musical culture vulture, and a quick wit on top of it all. I mean Bono would probably foam at the mouth, The Boss more than likely act far too reticent, and potential talking heads like Bowie, Petty, or even Michael Stipe might not quite possess the proper dynamics that make up a host with a most. Costello’s new show, Spectacle (Sundance, Wednesdays, 9:00 PM) in which he intertwines interview and song-playing, snaps along at a breezy pace for a highly informative and entertaining hour, which has so far included one-on-ones with Elton John and Lou Reed, with upcoming shows devoted to Rufus Wainwright, Smokey Robinson and Bill Clinton, among others. It’s an inspired concept, ably delivered by the jack-of-all-trades Costello, the unusual host brimming with intelligence, talent, and a sincere predilection for listening to what others have to say. Let’s hope this has a decent run, as the Elvis-Plus possibilities are endlessly intriquing.