Elvis Costello's live album from his 2011 American theatre tour, The Return of the Spectacular Spinning Songbook box set was branded too expensive by the man himself and he advised his fans not to buy it. Conscious of this, and perhaps stunned by an understandable lack of sales, the record company have now released three slimmed down versions of the full set; a CD and DVD Deluxe Edition, a 19 track live DVD and a 16 track audio CD.

Putting the controversy over the box set to one side The Return of the Spectacular Spinning Songbook live CD, recorded over a 2-night stand at The Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles in May 2011, is an explosive run through of some of the best songs and a few of the lesser lights from Costello's impressively productive career. Far too often the value of live albums is, at best, questionable and at worst they're little more than rush jobs to cash in on an artist's brief 15 minutes of fame. They're either for true fans or for those who were there on the night of the gig. Not so with The Return of the Spectacular Spinning Songbook, this is one of those rare live albums that makes you wish that you were there and, if played loud with your eyes closed, you can almost believe you were.

Costello has always been a lover and a fighter, and on this disc he presents both sides of his personality for public consumption. Despite his veteran status he's still biting the hand that feeds him like the young skinny punk of the 1970s. The blistering version of 'Radio Radio' is two and a half minutes of pure vitriol that's as relevant today as it was when it was first released more than 30 years ago. If you've listened to Radio One or any of the poor commercial copycats recently then you can't argue with him when he screams "And the radio is in the hands of such a lot of fools/Tryin' to anaesthetise the way that you feel." On the imperious 'Man Out Of Time' he rips into the duplicitous, the hypocritical and mendacious. It's a perceptive put down of the seedy underbelly of the British ruling class disguised as a love song. You won't like Elvis when he's angry, you'll love him.

After beating everyone up until the teardrops start he shows his loving side soothing you with bewitching versions of "Everyday I Write The Book', 'God Give Me Strength' and 'I Want You'. As the songs that Costello performed on the tour were selected via the unique method of a member of the audience spinning a giant wheel with song titles on it lesser known tracks get a welcome work out. The fast, furious rock 'n roll of early b-side Mystery Dance, the hidden gem Tear Off Your Own Head (It's A Doll Revolution), written for the Bangles and performed with Susanna Hoffs on the night, and an interesting cover of the Jagger and Richards penned Out Of Time combine to make this a must have for the Costello completist. However a chance based approach to song selection also means that tracks like Alison (although the track does make an appearance on the DVD), 'Pump It Up', 'Less Than Zero', '(I Don't Want To Go To) Chelsea' or 'Good Year For the Roses' (which surprisingly didn't even make it onto the wheel!) are notable by their absence. Add these to the mix and a very good live album becomes a must have classic.

He may have rightly told fans not to fork out their hard earned cash on the box set but believe me if you buy one live album this year make it The Return of the Spectacular Spinning Songbook.