Elvis Costello may have a different guise every time he comes through town, but he has yet to unveil one that isn't intriguing. Saturday at the Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre, the spotlight was on Elvis Costello, Soul Man.
Only four months after his solo acoustic tour, Costello and the Attractions band played a 2½-hour concert with a decided Memphis R&B flavor. Costello even threw in some flashy dance moves during an old James Brown tune. (On Sunday at the Universal Amphitheatre, Costello brought out Sam Moore — from Sam and Dave fame — to sing with him on a number.)
Despite the accent on soul (particularly when the foursome was augmented by a gritty tenor sax), the set had too much depth and range to be limited to a single style. It wasn't Costello's most penetrating performance here, but it did showcase his increasingly impressive vocal abilities. Nick Lowe & His Cowboy Outfit (his new band, featuring keyboardist Paul Carrack) opened with an unpretentious set of Lowe's infectious and delightfully off-center rock.