With British service personnel once again in action on foreign shores, it was only fitting Elvis Costello followed "Oliver's Army" with war commentary "Shipbuilding." The poignant ballad, written in the aftermath of the Falklands conflict, gave the sell-out audience food for thought.
And Elvis's own thoughts were laid bare by rounding off the 135-minute set with the refrain "What's So Funny About Peace, Love and Understanding?" But he left the reflective element until last, following a superb feast of his best songs which left his veteran army of followers well satisfied.
The acclaimed singer-songwriter, who came in on the 1970s New Wave but has diversified and developed a range of musical styles, touched on all the jewels in his treasure chest.
Astutely though, the master craftsman chose to depend heavily on his conventional hits, such as a great rendition of "Watching The Detectives." Rarely straying into his more experimental fields, his reward for the night was a standing ovation.
His country phase was represented by "Good Year For The Roses" and his latest alliance with legend Burt Bacharach also featured with the excellent single "Toledo."
Stripped of all backing but the wonderful piano and keyboard support of Steve Nieve from the old Attractions days, Elvis's powerful and distinctive voice was to the fore, as it should be. A wonderful night.