After a 30-year absence, Elvis Costello returned to Madison on Thursday night for a performance that seemed designed to prove a single theory: He’s just gotten better over the years.
Elvis Presley would have turned 80 years old on Thursday. Amid the remembrances and reflections on Presley’s transformational impact on stardom and his unquestionable role in popularizing rock music, few might know that Wisconsin was the setting of two remarkable incidents that occurred as Elvis’ life neared its end.
Rock legend Elton John gave a Vegas-honed performance Thursday night in Madison that paraded some of the greatest pop-rock songs of the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s in front of America’s Dairyland. And this without any assists from Cirque du Soleil.
His lyrics harken back to the poetry of the Romantics and often drift back to the Belfast of his youth, but Van Morrison is a notoriously unsentimental musician when it comes to playing his greatest hits. This makes his decision to release a live album celebrating his most mystical, beguiling record more than 40 years after he first recorded it all the more intriguing.
Two years ago, Prince strolled onto a stage in front of a Twin Cities crowd and grabbed everyone’s attention from the start by strumming the menacing riff that leads into “Sign ‘O’ The Times.” At Saturday night’s show in St. Paul, Minn., most people didn’t even notice him when he snuck onstage for a cameo appearance during the opening act.
Beyond the music, the success of the Buena Vista Social Club project has been its story — that of older, forgotten musicians rediscovered as Cuba’s national treasures. With a string of albums and a documentary about the project celebrating this rebirth, members are currently touring the U.S., bringing with them almost a century of Cuban music.