Classic, but unessential
Live at Hollywood High originally appeared as a three-song EP accompanying Elvis Costello’s 1979 album Armed Forces. It’s expanded here to include the 20 songs that comprised the full concert, and filled out with a batch of previously unreleased tracks. The resulting album careens from great song to great song, most dereived from Costello’s first two classics My Aim Is True and This Year’s Model.
Is it essential? Not quite, particularly if you already own the oft-bootlegged Live At The El Mocambo, a slightly better early concert recording finally released officially last year. The set list and performance isn’t much different on Hollywood High, though the stripped-down version of “Accidents Will Happen” is a nice touch. But every serious rock ‘n’ roll fan needs to own at least one slice of live Costello in his Angry Young Man prime, so take your pick. If you don’t already own Live At The El Mocambo, this one will do nicely.