An open letter to the concert promoters of the world


A touring festival featuring, clockwise from top left, Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson, Nick Lowe, Graham Parker and Chrissie Hynde’s Pretenders could be a big hit.

Reviewing Joe Jackson’s Thursday night concert at the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown got me to thinking: There are so many performers who flourished in the late ’70s and early ’80s who are still great in concert. Why doesn’t some enterprising entrepreneur package them together for a touring festival?

So here’s an idea I’m sending out to the concert promoters of the world: Amphitheater shows in the summer of 2018 featuring Elvis Costello & the Imposters, Joe Jackson, The Pretenders, Graham Parker & the Rumour, and Nick Lowe. Maybe with some duets along the way — could you imagine Costello and Jackson singing “Alison” and “Is She Really Going Out With Him?” together, for instance, or Parker and Hynde duetting on “You Can’t Be Too Strong”? And there could be some group encores — on, say, “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding,” or “Crawling From the Wreckage,” or “Middle of the Road.”

Some of these artists have worked together before. But others haven’t, as far as I know. Still, they’re all kind of linked, just because they emerged at around the same time and have similar musical sensibilities. I’m sure there are a lot of people — people like me, who went to high school in the late ’70s and college in the early ’80s — who are ardent fans of all five, or at least three or four of them.

I’ve seen all of these acts at least once in recent years and can attest that they all still put on a great show. An arrangement like this would allow most of them to play on bigger stages than they normally play, on a tour that would be a real “event.”

Please, any concert promoter who is reading this … these guys aren’t getting any younger. Make it happen!

Just for fun, here’s a discography of the albums these artists put out between 1976 and 1982.

Howlin’ Wind, Graham Parker & the Rumour
Heat Treatment, Graham Parker & the Rumour

My Aim Is True, Elvis Costello
Stick to Me, Graham Parker & the Rumour

This Year’s Model, Elvis Costello & the Attractions
The Parkerilla, Graham Parker & the Rumour
Pure Pop for Now People, Nick Lowe
Live Stiffs Live, Various Artists (Elvis Costello & the Attractions, Nick Lowe and others)

Armed Forces, Elvis Costello & the Attractions
Look Sharp, Joe Jackson
I’m the Man, Joe Jackson
Squeezing Out Sparks, Graham Parker & the Rumour
Labour of Lust, Nick Lowe

Get Happy!!, Elvis Costello & the Attractions
Taking Liberties, Elvis Costello
Beat Crazy, Joe Jackson
Seconds of Pleasure, Rockpile (featuring Nick Lowe)
The Up Escalator, Graham Parker & the Rumour

Trust, Elvis Costello & the Attractions
Almost Blue, Elvis Costello & the Attractions
Joe Jackson’s Jumpin’ Jive
Pretenders II

Imperial Bedroom, Elvis Costello & the Attractions
Night and Day, Joe Jackson
Another Grey Area, Graham Parker
Nick the Knife, Nick Lowe

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