A mesmerised capacity audience at the Royal Court last night were presented with a Christmas gift they are not likely to forget.
A bearded and slimmer Elvis Costello gently introduced himself with guitar solos "New Amsterdam" and "The World and Their Wives" before bouncing into action with The Attractions.
Musically much matured, he demonstrated a polished versatility with classics like "My Aim is True" and more recent gems, as "Shabby Doll" and "Town Cryer," from the inimitable L.P., Imperial Bedroom.
In each he put every ounce of poignancy or punch, taking his fans' breath away and then speeding up their pulses.
An exciting, late surprise were the Imperial Horns, a trio playing saxophone and trombone who accompanied three of four lengthy encores.
It was their first appearance with The Attractions — a little seasonal extra from the one-time Liverpudlian to his growing legions of followers.