From the moment Elvis stepped on stage, a weedy enigmatic figure with his shiny black specs, the bob didn't stop.
He launched into "The Deportees Club" and it was a case of no looking back until the last beat of the thirteenth encore faded into night. He treated us to a preview of his new single "I Hope You're Happy Now," as well as established many gems like "Oliver's Army" and "Alison."
Elvis is the kind of artist who loves performing. An indication of this was the forty-minute encore he played in response to thunderous applause from the audience, beginning with three solo numbers before being joined again by the rest of the band. Everyone knows what a great songwriter he is, but whereas many a good lyricist flounders on stage. Elvis exudes the kind of vibrant energy that makes for a memorable concert and really gives the fans value for money. From the rabble-rousing "Pump It Up" to the gentle anti-war sentiments in "Shipbuilding" (which he dedicated to Saturday's CND Demonstrators at Barrow), this performance never flagged.
The Pogues had kicked off the evening with their potent blend of foot-tappin' ear poppin' folk rock that gets right in the beer gut. Shane MacGowan & Co were in fine voice and as raucous and compelling as ever, a dour-looking female on bass did nothing for their general appeal, but even the unenthusiastic few present ("Where is everyone?") had to concede a passing interest when the tin-whistle player banged his skull off a beer tray in time to the final instrumental. Watch out for their new single — "Boys From The County Hell." Yippeeayeeh!
You can catch Elvis Costello solo, at the Playhouse on November 10th with T Bone Burnett.