Let no one be in any doubt about Elvis Costello's following in Ireland. It is loyal and it is certainly substantial.
Back in Dublin after a year's absence live gigging, here Elvis treated his legion of fans to a memorable display of his singer/songwriting talents in the National Stadium on Saturday night.
The concert, cancelled since last autumn due to recording commitments, saw his fans in rare old form. And for over an hour and a half they were treated to stream of Costello classics and a taste of material to come, in songs like "TKO" and "The World and Wife."
Old favourites, "You Belong To Me," "I Can't Stand Up for Falling Down," and "You Better Watch Your Step," were warmly received by the packed audience.
His early hit, "Watching the Detective," brought fans rushing from their seats to dance in front of the stage at the beginning of the 25 song set.
Versatile Attractions keyboard player Steve Nieve gave a brilliant display of his genius, excelling on numbers like "New Lace Sleeves," "Temptation" and "You Belong To Me" — a number on which drummer Pete Thomas nearly lost his kit in the rush.
The addition of a brass q4artet to the Costello sound and stage look in the form of "TKO" went down a bomb with the audience.
And the four lads with the kipper ties and crew cuts made a definite impact on numbers like "Pump It Up," "High Fidelity" and "Possession."
Favourites from early albums, My Aim Is True, This Year's Model, Get Happy and Trust filled the hundred-minutes concert and for his encore, Costello treated fans to five numbers including "Oliver's Army."
A major feature of the concert was undoubtedly the sound quality — strong, melodic and well knit.
The gig was undeniably enjoyable and a nice introduction to his new LP due out next month.