There are times during this show by Elvis Costello and the Attractions when the clock seems to have turned back. It could almost be the late '70s again when singer and band were first performing together.
The only difference is that no self-respecting punk club would have allowed in keyboard player Steve Nieve wearing that purple velvet shirt.
The band open by tearing into songs from their very early days. They are very short and very fast.
Other songs sound almost the same — but they have come from this year's album, Brutal Youth. Songs like "Kinder Murder" and "20% Amnesia" have the same mixture of manic, melodic and occasional melancholy which still works so well.
The pace does changes — the two-hour set demands, and gets, many musical variations — but the exuberant tone stays constant.
Costello's reunion with the Attractions —on album as well as tour—has been described by the Press as an exercise in nostalgia and by the man himself as an accident.
Fans can enjoy the fact that half the set is over 10 years old and includes classics like "Alison," "Watching The Detectives" and "Oliver's Army." The singer can enjoy the fact that the kind of songs he is writing now are best served by a tight, energetic four-piece band.
What is most important is not that the style recalls the past but that the songs — past and present — are still so good. Old songs are still surprisingly relevant and the new ones put a new twist on timeless concerns.
In the end, the show is not about the past. It is about songs. A great pop song is a great pop song regardless.