Best Concert of the Past 12 Months

Elvis Costello & the Imposters

Spectacles have been a part of Elvis Costello's image from the very start of his 35-year-plus career — his black-rimmed specs practically carry his trademark. But the beloved entertainer brought an entirely different kind of spectacle when his Spinning Songbook tour came to the Pageant in early July. The premise was simple and the set was garish, as fans came to the stage to spin a giant red-and-yellow wheel marked with about 40 of his song titles. With equal parts huckster charm and game-show-host smarm, Costello relished his role as emcee, tearing through his peerless catalog with the energy of a much younger man. There were plenty of surprises — Eddie Vedder popped up to sing the Who's "Substitute," Costello covered both the Stones and the Beatles, and longtime fans were rewarded with a few choice deep cuts. And in the end, it was the songs — not the spectacle — that left the biggest mark.

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