Chewing the fat with
Elton John, Lou Reed, Tony Bennett, Rufus Wainwright and more.
By Fred Mills
As previously outlined in this space, Elvis Costello is
about to become a more-or-less talk show host when his new program for the
Sundance Channel, Spectacle With Elvis
Costello, debuts. And it’s happening this week on the respected cable
channel – Wednesday night, at 9 pm EST. Described as “a mix of music, talk, and
music-oriented talk,” it won’t be featuring Paris Hilton, stupid people tricks
or actors plugging their latest film, as one glance at the lineup should clue
you in: Elton John (who appears in this week’s debut program), Lou Reed, Tony
Bennett, Rufus Wainwright and Smokey Robinson.
To date 13 episodes have been taped in New York, both at Studio 8H and the Apollo
Theater. Costello kicks off each segment by doing a song by that show’s guest;
he’ll do “Bordertown” for the Elton John episode.
In a story published in Sunday’s New York Times the show is likened to a “a blend of The Dick Cavett Show, Inside the Actors Studio and Charlie Rose.” Quoted in the
article is Sundance Channel general manager Laura Michalchyshyn, who commented,
on approaching Costell, “When I met him for our pitch, he said, ‘I want this be
to a show about genres of music that may have been forgotten, about artists
that haven’t been in the spotlight and people performing in a way they haven’t
before.’ His big, big point was ‘We are going to film for a much longer period
than a conventional talk show. We’re going to jam.’ “
Added Costello, on why he was finally persuaded, after some
hesitation, to take the gig, “[There’s] no compulsion to talk about the new
product, the thing that’s coming out next week. And nobody’s saying, ‘Wind it
up after a couple seconds because we’ve got to get to the recipes.’ “
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