Although he could never really be fully considered as part of the punk rock scene, Costello did emerge from its cover during that era. Going on to diversify his talent as a composer and recording artist covering a broad spectrum of musical influences, he has now come full circle to team up once more with former collaborators, the Attractions.
One of rock music's great partnerships tore into "No Action," "Accidents Will Happen" and "Watching the Detectives" with barely a pause for breath. This was what the capacity audience had come for, having received the opening "new song to get you in a slightly different frame of mind" with due indifference.
The stark and haunting "Deep Dark Truthful Mirror" followed, then it was on to the new single, but the real crowd pleasers in an impressive 100 minute set were the spiky, punchy tunes of yore. The impulsive drumming of Pete Thomas, flamboyant keyboard playing from Steve Nieve and the solid bass strumming of Bruce Thomas laid down an insistent backbeat for Costello's sincere, controlled yet energetic vocals.
"(I Don't Want To Go To) Chelsea," the number two hit "Oliver's Army," and the ballad "Alison," were all featured, as was his version of the tearjerker "Good Year for the Roses." The highlight, for me, was the steaming "Lipstick Vogue," which rattled along so furiously it was a wonder the band managed to keep it all together.
He may no longer come across as the angry young man he set out to be, but in this mood, Costello still a hard act to follow.