When a British rock genius starts cooking with a New Orleans R&B legend, the result is a musical stew with tasty little tidbits like razor-sharp guitars, Fats Domino-inspired blues licks and a horn section that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand straight up.
Tom Petty and Pearl Jam may have been the evening's amphitheater headliners, but Elvis Costello and Allen Toussaint delivered what likely will go down as Summerfest's best overall show.
Brandishing a honey-blond Fender Telecaster, Costello and his combo, the Imposters, kicked off Thursday's headlining show at the Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard with the Nick Lowe classic "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding" before bringing the legendary Toussaint onstage.
Backed by the fabulous Crescent City Horns, Costello and Toussaint served up "Tears, Tears and More Tears," "Freedom for the Stallion," "The Sharpest Thorn" as well as the title track from their recently released CD, The River in Reverse.
Throughout the evening, Costello's distinctive, rough-edged voice blended flawlessly with Toussaint's silky-smooth vocals. Vintage Costello crowd-pleasers like "Pump It Up" and "(I Don't Want to Go to) Chelsea" finished off a great set before a packed stage.