In retrospect, Blondie and Elvis Costello represent the style and the substance, respectively, of the New Wave pop revolution of the late ’70s. Both in some ways signaled a return to pop’s verities and basics in the height of the eras of prog, arena rock, the decadent decline of the singer/songwriter movement and the commercial era of slick fusion. Costello was sold as a punk; spend about five minutes with My Aim Is True to laugh that off. He hit like a really urgent and angry Randy Newman, commanding enormous musical and verbal resources and the contextual awareness of a pop musicologist dressed as a punk nerd. Blondie, on the other hand, were pretty much exactly what they appeared to be: a joyous return to pop values and sentiments with a dash of New York subversive cool and a lot of musical savvy hidden just under the hood. Elvis, of course, has had a historically prolific eclectic career, frequently reuniting with his old mates the Imposters (who are the Attractions sans the great bassist Bruce Thomas, with whom Elvis can simply not get along). Blondie’s lineup this year is as close to vintage as it could possibly be. This music probably never thought it would be nostalgia. It should have known better.
Elvis Costello and Blondie co-headline the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts on Saturday, July 20. Seated tickets range in price from $48 to $171.50. Grab a slice of lawn for $36.50.
Elvis Costello & Blondie in concert, Saturday, July 20, 7 p.m., Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, 200 Hurd Rd., Bethel, www.bethelwoodscenter.org