The Police, Smokey Robinson Join Elvis Costello For A Night At The Apollo

Last night cup o’ soup supporter Elvis Costello welcomed fans into a taping of his Sundance television series Spectacle: Elvis Costello With…. There was this note up at his site:

We’re announcing a unique opportunity for you to take part in a historic music television event in New York City next week. We have 150 tickets for lucky Elvis Costello fans who would like to attend a special taping of Elvis’s forthcoming TV show Spectacle: Elvis Costello with…! The taping will not only include a performance and interview with Smokey Robinson, but a live set by Elvis Costello & the Imposters!

It went on to specify that the location was to be announced 24 hours before the performance and that doors opened at 8:15, among other details. We didn’t make it, but one of our readers did. Take it away, Steve:

So I was lucky enough to go to Elvis Costello’s Spectacle taping last night at the Apollo. Upon arriving, the first thing you saw was the giant marquee, which said “Elvis Costello with Smokey Robinson and The Police” and we all completely freaked out, figuring it was a secret set with the police, a highlight of a lifetime … whatnot. But apparently The Police’s set was even more secret and exclusive and reserved for industry only. After I got over the disappointment, it was a great show. The stage was set with an interesting backdrop that looked like a page of torn lyrics, with a chandelier behind the drum kit. Elvis came out and talked for a few minutes then played some lesser known Smokey Robinson songs with the Imposters, he did a few false starts (I guess it is TV afterall) but mostly everything was one take.

After about four songs Elvis sort of sang/rapped an intro/bio of Smokey as the band played “Goin’ To A Go Go” then they went into an interview. Although the stories were very interesting, it seemed to go on forever. He talked about Ray Charles arranging the Miracles songs in the basement of the Apollo, writing with Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder, all sorts of great Motown Stories. After a while Smokey played “Tracks Of My Tears” as a duet with Steve Nieve on piano — Elvis watched from the side — then he did “Don’t Know Why” (yes, the Norah Jones tune) with The Imposters. Elvis again watched and looked like a little kid full of joy.

They closed with an Elvis/Smokey collaboration of “You Really Got A Hold On Me,” which was fantastic. No original Elvis tunes. He did show a clip of his video for “I Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down,” where he tried to rip off some Miracles dance moves, and everyone got a good laugh. A great night overall, I’m just a little bummed I didn’t get to see his interview with The Police.

Thanks, Steve. Anyone else get to the the Police? Regardless, the episode will air as part of the Spectacle’s series starting 12/3 on Sundance (as well as CTV in Canada and Channel 4 in the UK). So far, other guests have included Lou Reed, Bill Clinton, Tony Bennett, and Elton John. All said there’ll be 13 one-hour episodes. You can get more info over at the Sundance site.