Spectacle: Elvis Costello with. . .

Friday, May 8 10 p.m.

President Bill Clinton joins Elvis Costello in an unprecedented and revealing chat about his early career aspirations and the astonishing degree to which music shaped him as a man, a politician and a president.

One of the most anticpated shows to hit the Canadian airwaves is Spectacle: Elvis Costello with. . . In this nice piece of musical programming former punk icon Elvis Costello brings stars to the stage like they’ve rarely been seen before – up close and personal. And the joint-venture Canada-UK series began with Sir Elton John.

Before now most people in this country associated Elvis Costello with two things: First, he was one of the late 1970’s “New Wave” acts that broke the strangle-hold of Disco. And second, he was the middle-aged, has-been who would have been a footnote in history had he not married Canadian jazz princess Diana Krall (And many thought Krall was off her nut too). This was his thrid marriage. They have 3 year-old twins.

However, the man born as Declan Patrick McManus was no lightweight in his day and some pretty impressive people think he still is something. In fact he was greatly admired and accepted by his peers and had an impressive discography.  As a result, on March 2003, Elvis Costello & The Attractions (his band) were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

CTV’s Spectacle: Elvis Costello with. . . fuses the talk show format with the old musical variety shows. Only instead of a multitude of acts it concentrates on one main act or, at most, just a few. And the entertainment doesn’t stop there. Former-President Bill Clinton is scheduled to show up as is Tony Bennett. Tonight, he welcomes John Mellancamp, Kris Kristofferson, Rosanne Cash and Norah Jones to particpate in a “guitar pull,” the name for an acoustic guitar jam said to have been invented by Rosanne’s dad, Johnny Cash.

In future episodes Costello welcomes the sidemen of famous personalities like James Burton, Elvis Presley’s guitar player, and three-time Grammy winner, jazz bassist Charlie Haden. The series of 13 one-hour episodes of  Spectacle: Elvis Costello with. . . will also feature one-on-ones with these legendary performers plus a few notable newcomers.

So, for all of you who have never forgiven an old punk rocker for turning the eye of a pretty Canadian icon watch Spectacle: Elvis Costello with. . . and let it go. Because what Costello gives back is some musical television is a magic not seen in years.

It views Fridays at 8:00pm on CTV.