Elvis at The El Mocambo

Elvis Costello at The El Mocambo - Toronto 1978

My philosophy regarding live photography was simple, instead of wasting film, study the show on the first night, see where the best opportunities occur, then concentrate on getting the best photographs during those numbers the following night.

Given that Elvis was playing the El Mocambo, a small club in Toronto,it meant using flash, and that meant taking as few pictures as possible.

I saw that during Less than Zero and Watching the Detectives EC gave his most animated and manic performances. Not only that, he dropped to his knees in Detectives just after singing "she's painting her nails as they're dragging the lake" and my aim was true, it was to catch that particular moment.

I waited patiently and caught him right on cue, I was mighty happy with myself, but his manager was not happy with me.

Whilst accepting that Elvis did this every night Jake did not want the public to know, he wanted each audience to think it was spontaneous, so he told me quite bluntly that I could not use the photo.

I reluctantly agreed, because I could see the logic behind this decision, it was strategic in nature and I respected that. Jake respected me for agreeing and from that day on gave me total access to EC whenever I needed it.

So I waited thirty five years before making it available, to me it sums up those early years perfectly.