Elvis Costello kicked off his 10-night series at New York’s Gramercy Theatre on Thursday night (Feb 9) by paying paid tribute to his dear friend and collaborator Burt Bacharach a day after the beloved pop composer passed away at 94 due to natural causes.
“It’s been a tough day,” Costello told the sold-out crowd about the loss of his musical compatriot before covering three of Bacharach’s most beloved hits according to Variety. “You know, a really great man left us yesterday. And people say, when somebody reaches a great age, they say, ‘well, it was a good ending,’… it’s never time to say goodbye to somebody if you love ‘em. And I’m not ashamed to say I did love this man. And for everything he gave me, Mr. Burt Bacharach.”
Costello then went on to perform a gentle, acoustic cover “Baby It’s You” — which he said he learned after hearing the Beatles’ 1963 cover — as well as one of Bacharach and lyricist Hal David’s indelible collaborations with Dionne Warwick, “Anyone Who Had a Heart” and a tender, solo piano take on the 1961 Drifters song “Please Stay.”
And while the theme of night one of Costello’s Gramercy run was songs he wrote before the 1977 release of his debut album, My Aim Is True, he promised that when his longtime bandmate Steve Nieve joins him later in the run they would tackle some of the songs that Costello wrote with Bacharach for the film Grace of My Heart and their 1998 joint album, Painted From Memory.
A four-CD box set of Costello and Bacharach’s recorded works, The Songs of Bacharach and Costello, is due out on March 3.
Watch video of the performances below.