Talk about running with the hare and the hounds. Elvis Costello's "Spectacular Spinning Songbook” show on Tuesday lampooned the superficial, glittery milieu of the TV game show with exquisite irony while simultaneously milking the novelty values of such a format for all they were worth.
That the event was such a resounding success was due in large part to the affectionate, knowing rapport that Costello, in his Napoleon Dynamite persona, developed with the audience, plying a stock of ineffable cliches with quick-witted charm — "dreams do come true," he assured many participants.
Guided by such a genuinely random theme, The Attractions were shown to be an uncannily flexible and versatile band, and Costello to be a performer with an unrivaled presence of mind. Breaking off from a litany of cheerful platitudes to stack up four randomly-chosen titles — "Miracle Man," "Shabby Doll," "Man Out Of Time," and "Clubland" — and immediately guide the group through them in a series of seamless segues was quite astonishing. It was the best fun I have witnessed in ages.