Elvis Costello at the State Theatre in Ithaca and the Vegan Connection



Since I was in high school I have been obsessed with Elvis Costello. In many ways, I feel as though his words and music ushered me into adulthood. I can distinctly remember the first time I listened to “Armed Forces” on a cassette tape on my boom box in my bedroom at my Mom’s house on Park Avenue. While “Armed Forces” actually was released in 1979, I didn’t discover it, or Costello, until around 1982. It was this album that sent me on a mission to buy everything Costello had ever recorded (and in those days, I had to buy two copies of everything: vinyl and cassette tape).

I had never heard music like that and it changed my life.

I bought “My Aim is True” and discovered “Watching the Detectives” and “Allison.” I bought “This Year’s Model” and fell in love with “Radio Radio.” I bought “Get Happy” and fell in love with the entire album. It was this album that made me realize how incredible Nick Lowe is and I had to buy everything by Nick Lowe which later made me buy everything by Dave Edmunds and Graham Parker and John Hiatt. The list goes on.

Every album in my collection traces back to Elvis Costello.

Through the years I explored all of Costello’s albums and made connections to all his collaborators. I started a band. We covered Costello. “Imperial Bedroom” and “Punch the Clock” remain two of my favorite albums to date and now, with The Roots, Costello once again is redefining himself and writing incredible music … 37 years after “Less than Zero” was a UK-only release.

That brings us to today. In just over a month, on November 7, I am finally going to see Elvis Costello, solo, in concert at the State Theatre in Ithaca. I originally didn’t want to go.

I’ve had other opportunities to see him perform in the past, and turned them down. I was always selfish about my love for Costello and felt I didn’t want to share him, and the music that raised me, with 2,000 other people. I wanted Costello to myself. Have him come over for dinner and we could talk about the Stiff Record days and everything he’s been up to since. But this concert is different.

It’s where I live. In an intimate venue featuring a solo show. I got one ticket. Front row. Center.

Turns out I am friends with both the Executive Director of the theatre where he is performing as well as the booking agent for the show. They both convinced me that this was the concert. The opportunity. My moment to share with Elvis Costello. This was as close as I could come to having him over for dinner.

Now, since this is a vegan blog, I always insist that each post have something to do with being vegan … so, here it goes (in the style of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon):

  1. Elvis Costello recorded with Nick Lowe.
  2. Nick Lowe married Carlene Carter.
  3. Carlene Carter is Johnny Cash‘s stepdaughter.
  4. Joaquin Phoenix played Johnny Cash in “Walk the Line.”
  5. Joaquin Phoenix is vegan.

Boom. Go Vegan.

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