This DVD, a unique collection of the visual works of Elvis Costello, boasts a grand total of 27 videos and includes material rarely seen since the original release of the singles they supported. From his first Radar Record... more »s single in 1978, "I Don't Want To Go To (Chelsea)," to his final video for Warner Bros., "13 Steps Lead Down" (from 1994's Brutal Youth), this is a must purchase for all serious Elvis Costello enthusiasts and fans alike.« less
"I just got the dvd today, and although I live in the USA, having a multi-region player I took the liberty of ordering the British region 2 version that came out on Monday, 9/5/05 from AmazonUK. It is due in the states on 9/27/05. This isn't a detailed review, especially for European readers who can already get the dvd, more of a "thumbs up" for those of you in the U.S. awaiting it's release, as I was. It's better than you could imagine - the video clips look fantastic, better than ever. The commentary track is funny as hell, although sparse as it seems EC gets sucked in watching the videos himself. The best feature, though, is that you can watch and listen to the clips with EC's commentary displayed as subtitles! Kind of like the VH-1 Pop-Up video thing they did a few years back.
The extra stuff is all live, no lip-sychs. As a veteran EC video collector I can say I've not seen some of this stuff, and what I have seen, not in this excellent condition.
There is 1 "easter egg' on this disc.
You are in for a MAJOR treat!"
If you're an EC fan, this is definitely worth a look
Gena Chereck | Nebraska, USA | 10/15/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As a pop singer-songwriter, Elvis Costello is revered and respected by many music lovers, critics and fellow artists, largely for his musical versatility (though some of his "fans", those who wish he were still in his late-'70s angry-punk phase, don't consider this a good thing) and his clever lyrics; however, judging from the new DVD The Right Spectacle: The Very Best Of Elvis Costello - The Videos, he rarely brought the same level of innovation to his promotional clips that he has to his records. The song styles in this collection are as diverse as you would expect -- ranging from nervy New Wave to hopped-up R&B to classic country to lush, Beatles-esque pop to synth-driven cheese to urgent jangle-rock -- but the clips seem to suggest that music videos were never a high priority for him. That's not to say, though, that Costello's fans won't find some fun and interesting videos here...
The 27 clips can be divided into two periods -- pre- and post-MTV. The pre-MTV stuff, running from 1978's This Year's Model (EC's 2nd album) through 1980's Get Happy!!, is rather primitive yet awfully amusing. As Costello notes in his dryly witty commentary (available on this disc in both voice-over and subtitled form), the early videos were mostly about him and his band, the Attractions, getting drunk and making fools of themselves in unlikely locations, such as a white room ("I Don't Want To Go To Chelsea", "Pump It Up", and "Radio Radio"), Vancouver ("What's So Funny 'Bout Peace, Love & Understanding?"), Hawaii ("Oliver's Army"), the south of France ("I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down", "High Fidelity", and "Love For Tender"), and a car ("Possession"). There are a couple of exceptions, though: the low-key "New Amsterdam" (EC's 1st solo video, from 1980) and the animated "Accidents Will Happen" (1979).
In the post-MTV period, Costello still didn't see the necessity of music videos, but he generally felt that if he had to make them, they might as well have something interesting going on: "Clubland" (1981) and "You Little Fool" (1982) are his earliest attempts at "concept" videos; 1983's comical "Every Day I Write The Book" imagines the daily lives of Prince Charles and Princess Diana (played by Chuck-and-Di look-alikes); 1994's "13 Steps Lead Down" juxtaposes EC's joyous reunion with the Attractions (after an eight-year separation) and images of a young woman trashing her room. Three of the clips from this period stand out not only as Costello's best, but also as some of the best I've seen by *anybody*: In 1984's powerful "I Wanna Be Loved", a rare instance of a brilliantly executed video redeeming a mediocre song, was filmed in an Australian photo booth as EC was going through a rough time in his personal life; 1989's poignant "Veronica" addresses his late grandmother's battle with Alzheimer's; and 1991's "Other Side Of Summer", filmed partly in the south of France and partly in L.A., juxtaposes the antics of a bearded Costello with his all-girl backup "band" and images of urban squalor.
Some of the other videos are merely content with looking good, such as the classy black-and-white clips "New Lace Sleeves" (1981) and "Let Them All Talk" (1983). The only bum notes in this compilation are 1989's garish "This Town" -- perhaps his *least* sophisticated attempt at using video to underline the meaning of a song -- and the cutesy "win a date with Elvis & the Attractions" concept of 1984's "The Only Flame In Town." (The remaining videos include "Good Year For The Roses" and "Sweet Dreams", both from EC's 1981 country-covers album Almost Blue; "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood", a sort of "afterthought" from 1986's folky King Of America; 1991's sepia-toned "So Like Candy"; and 1994's glossy "Sulky Girl".)
I would've thought that the aforementioned 27 music videos were generous enough; but also included on this disc are about 70 minutes' worth of live performance clips -- most of which are from various European TV shows in the late 1970s and early '80s, and all of which avoid the "dodgy lip-synching" of the videos. Costello supplements these performances with written liner notes as humorous as his audio commentary for the promo clips. (Oh, and if, like me, you were disappointed that there were no videos from his classic 1977 debut My Aim Is True, you can rejoice in the live clip of "No Dancing", the two versions of "Watching The Detectives", and the excerpt of "Alison".)
Regarding the "easter egg": There is a superior alternate video for "Only Flame In Town" that you may access by going to the Video Selection menu, highlighting the original "Only Flame", pressing the "up" arrow on your DVD remote to make a pair of green eyeglasses appear, and then pressing "select" or "enter". "
Very fun (plus one of the best videos ever made)
race_of_doom | USA | 11/13/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As noted by everyone including the lovably pithy Elvis Costello, the earlier videos consist of him and his bandmates being reasonably drunk and mischievous at several different locations. Most of these were made by Chuck Statler, who did a few of Devo's (notably better) videos.
Watching all of these early videos in a row may be a bit dreary, as not much of anything exciting or innovative happens, but who can complain with the fantastic soundtrack? And, besides, they're all rather cute and funny. Watch Costello squirm without a guitar on "(I Don't Want to Go to) Chelsea" near the end. Also, see how noticably more drunk they get on "Pump It Up," both recorded during the same night. All very amusing.
Other than the detour with "Accidents Will Happen" (a schizo-animated artsy piece), things finally take a turn for the more interesting with "New Lace Sleeves." It's not exactly groundbreaking, as it's still just the band performing in some other random room, but it's very, very classy. Filmed in black and white, Costello notes dryly on the commentary that he's sure it inspired the Police for "Every Breath You Take," and I can definitely see where he's coming from.
"You Little Fool" is *quite* an eighties "new wave" (as much as Costello hates the term) piece, almost looking like an a-ha video. In fact, it resembles many videos from that era, and in quite a charming way. It takes the lyrics literally and is about a boy and girl falling in love.
"Everyday I Write the Book" is strange; a Prince Charles look-alike is seen trying to woo Princess Di as she watches romantic films. Hmm.
Despite the goofy, giddy (and unavoidably dated) video for "The Only Flame in Town," the other video from the much maligned album "Goodbye Cruel World" is one of the best videos ever made, and is a strong canidate for my personal favorite. "I Wanna Be Loved" is very emotional, visually lovely and even slightly strange.
Costello notes in the commentary that before the video was shot, the director (Evan English) told him to not sleep for a night prior. Sitting in a photo booth, Costello looks straight ahead at you and, for the most part, looks utterly depressed. As he off-handedly sings the lyrics, people from both sides of him kiss him on the cheek, which ties into the whole "I Wanna Be Loved" theme. At several moments, he breaks down and almost appears to be in tears, and Costello lets the viewer know that it's actually genuine, which makes it even more powerful than it already is.
After that, the only video worth noting is "Veronica," which is a nicely filmed and classy piece of art, and also takes the lyrics rather literally. It won a few awards and deservedly so.
Overall, it's a very fun package, and also includes many television apperances. Well worth the money for the Costello completist, and I'd even go as far to say the casual fan."
A must-have for any EC or classic rock fan...
Justin | Oklahoma | 01/02/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Elvis Costello is truly one of the greatest singer-songwriters of his, or any, generation. Before I heard this DVD was being released, I always thought, "Elvis probably never needed music videos to enhance some of the masterpieces he wrote and performed." But after I bought THE RIGHT SPECTACLE, my opinion changed.
The 27 videos included here look good (even though some images indicate age easily). Certain highlights include the stunning "Accidents Will Happen" (a combination of hand-drawn & computer animation), the art-influenced "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood," and the family-inspired "Veronica" (about his grandmother's eventual losing battle with Alzheimer's). But like many reviewers before me, I can say the best video of this DVD is "I Wanna Be Loved." It's a good song in its own right (albeit featured on a bad album in GOODBYE CRUEL WORLD), but the video makes the song's message totally clear. Filmed inside a photo booth, with Elvis looking depressed and almost a total mess, the emotions are easy to see. When Elvis first sings, "Why must I...be so lonely," I literally felt the hairs on my body stand up. It's just so powerful. If this video doesn't tingle the spine or leave you stunned, then you have no soul.
The DVD also includes some great commentary from EC himself. Even though the comments are few and far in between during each video, it's always good to hear EC talk about his past (especially with the late 70s and early 80s videos he made).
And there's also some great TV concert footage of EC and the Attractions doing what they do best...rocking and performing live.
For any music video aficionado, or classic rock fan, or Elvis Costello fan...this DVD is a must-have. "The Right Spectacle"? It sure is."
Gary Bowden | Fort Smith, Arkansas United States | 09/28/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This dvd has all of his early videos and some that have never been released before.Not only does it have the videos,but also has rare footage of EC and the Attractions in concert,too...Plus,if that's not enough,EC does a commentary track on every video as well...You can't beat that!!! This is perfection indeed...Now,can we expect another dvd with his newer videos,like Monkey to Man and others that didn't make it on this one?? Hope so..Maybe have some more rare footage,too?? Let's keep our fingers crossed,but until then,this dvd is superb!!!! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED......."