NEW YORK (AP) — Elvis Costello felt like he had some big shoes to fill when he performed on A&E's Live by Request.
"When I saw Tony Bennett do this, he made it look easy," he said, referring to Bennett's 1996 concert which was the first in the cable channel's "Live by Request" series.
Costello made it look easy, too, taking phone, e-mail and audience requests and calmly cracking jokes during a two-hour live show Thursday night.
The 49-year-old sang old favorites including "Radio, Radio," "Accidents Will Happen" and "Everyday I Write the Book," which he performed the way he said he originally wrote it — with a guitar-heavy, '60s rock sound.
Songwriter Burt Bacharach, with whom Costello has collaborated frequently called from Canada to request "All This Useless Beauty." And a woman named Alison phoned from Wilmington, Del., asking to hear — what else? — "Alison."
Costello also performed songs from his new album of ballads, North, which came out this week.
Among the celebrities in the audience were his fiancee, jazz singer Diana Krall, and Willie Garson, who plays Carrie's gay confidant, Stanford Blatch, on HBO's Sex and the City.
Live by Request With Elvis Costello airs again at 10 a.m. EDT Sunday on A&E.. Previous performers have included Neil Diamond, the Eurythmics, Phil Collins and Reba McEntire.