Elvis Costello could have played "Baa Baa Black Sheep" for a fifth encore in the Olympia last night and the response would have been the same that greeted every other number. There was good-humoured pandemonium in the aisles for the first of three concerts in a row and if last night was any indication, the next two could be epic.
Last night it was the turn of Costello's regular band, the Attractions, to strut their stuff with the bespectacled and crumple-suited troubadour.
They gave a spirited and tight performance that ranged through their by now massive repertoire, with hits from the debut My Aim Is True album sounding as fresh as this year's model, Blood & Chocolate.
Elvis Costello, sometimes known as Declan Costello and more recently, Napoleon Dynamite, has astounded and confounded his critics for years.
Refusing to adopt a pigeon-hole, he has pushed the barriers of performance, the limits of rock music into new dimensions. No stranger to these shores, every concert has helped to confirm the public's respect and admiration.
Through no less than 25 songs, spanning two hours and four encores, he did the same last night. "You've no idea what's going to happen next," he said, early in the night, "Neither do I," he added, "we'll probably do every song we know."
A very relaxed and, dare we say it, happy Costello had this packed audience on their feet very early on, but the bouncers in the Olympia didn't want to know about it. "No disrespect, but this is a dancing song," said Elvis, and the floodgates opened.
The night began with the classic "Accidents will Happen," and the night continued with an electric selection from the band's back catalogue, liberally sprinkled with gems from the new album such as "Blood and Chocolate" and the highlight of the night, the beautiful "I Want You."