Dear doubting Thomas,
Allegro. Maestro. Montego. OK.
Having exhausted my classical lexicon, I'll say that it's 15 years since I first saw Elvis, 50 yards across the road atop the long-gone Apollo in a sticky-floored dancehall named Satellite City.
The new-wavefulness was terrific. If you'd told me then that Elvis would wind up being backed by a string quartet doing an epistolatory song-cycle inspired by a Veronese academic's replies to a dead imaginary woman, I'd have been epistolatingly speechless, pal.
Last night's show, the first live unveiling of The Juliet Letters, was thus part of a brave artistic move, with Elvis open to copping it from both sides of the unrock/non-classical divide.
Two biker-jacketed rock traditionalists next to me lasted seven songs. No catchy choruses.
Classicists perhaps winced at Elvis's palpable lack of vocal range and his penchant for the sub-operatic quaver.
Me? Along with almost everyone else I reckoned it utterly splendid, so gripping that no-one could have complained about the absence of more familiar songs from Elvis's rock canon.
The quartet sawed and swooped, jauntily expressive one moment, driven the next.
Elvis emoted like a good 'un.
Top tune? "I Almost Had a Weakness," wheeled out as a second triumphant encore, after "Scarlet Ribbons" and before Kurt Weill's "Lost in the Stars."
I must away to play the Juliet LP anew.
PS: I've not gone completely soft; if Sting tried anything like this, I'd hate it.