Let's stay with music today on my run-down of favorite things. Elvis Costello has long been a favorite artist of mine, since my big brother pressed a copy of King of America into my hands lo, so many years ago. While I own many of his approximately 3,012 albums, which run the gamut from merely "Good" to "Oh my fucking God, all people should be issued this album at birth in order to spread good taste", I must say, live is the way to experience the man's music. I've seen him at least four times and my favorite of the group seeing him at the Arie Crowne Theatre in Chicago on one of his tours with Steve Nieve (the keyboardist for his original band, the Attractions). The format was just Elvis with an acoustic guitar and Nieve on piano and it led to a pretty free-wheeling show, and one with lots of banter. That Mr. Costello is a pretty chatty guy, there's a reason they just gave him a talk show. Anyway, the tour he did before the one I saw was recorded and released, in part, as a series of EP's in the box set Costello & Nieve. I'll be honest, when the box came out, I hemmed and hawed while looking at it at the record store (Rock Records in downtown Chicago, the worst record store in the city, to be precise), but I eventually took the plunge, and I'm very happy that I did (doubly so now that it's out of print). Anyway, here are two excellent tracks off of the disc for the Boston show, the first a great run-through of a classic. The second, Little Atoms, was a song that I didn't care for when it was on All This Useless Beauty, but the live setting flushes it out well, and it also features some of Mr. Costello's rapier wit.