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Elvis returns

Posted by Matthew Gilbert  December 8, 2009 06:54 AM

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The first season of the music-interview show "Spectacle: Elvis Costello With…" was excellent. Costello really managed to get both honest commentary and unpredictable live performances from his guests, who generally appeared just to talk and not to promote a specific product.

Although Elvis is a star himself, as a host he never seemed bent on making the show about his own ego. Some hosts do ego and do it well; most of the late-night talk shows are ultimately all about the guys behind the desks and their humor and sensibility. It's an art. But Elvis seemed more interested in being a background player and letting the guests take front and center.

The series returns for season two Wednesday night at 10 on the Sundance Channel, with Bono and the Edge. If anyone can get Bono to be less of a Rock Star and more of a regular guy, it’s probably Elvis. The U2 pair will also join Elvis on “Alison” and “Pump It Up.” One thing I love about "Spectacle" is the performances, because they're so often under-rehearsed and imperfect. They feel real. Here's a clip from last season of Rufus Wainwright, opera singer Renee Fleming, Kate McGarrigle, and Elvis doing "In the Pines."

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