This is what every Elvis fan dreams of: an evening of classics, performed by a driven singer, without any superfluous frills and with a band keeping pace. It is precisely what the loyal Elvis-fan got yesterday evening. Be it with a small handicap because Elvis suffered from "some kind of virus" and had great difficulty getting his alternately sarcastic and tender voice audible in his microphone.
Maybe this is why he was so generous with his indestructible songs from his early years. Songs like "Clubland," "Alison," "King of America" and "Pump It Up" were being played with the mild distance of the slightly older angry young man, while the well connected audience imagined the not reached notes or modulation themselves. Unlike the Stones' or Dylan's, Costello's 'greatest hits' are still fresh. Which radio-station ever plays "Oliver's Army" or "I Want You"?
Still, this is a form Costello does not show often. Loyal to the adage 'new songs first', he too very often performs songs off the latest release for a complete show. In this case, that would not have been a punishment, because the new one, The Delivery Man, is a beautiful exploration of Elvis in the Deep (American) South, but the angriest and cross-grained melodies can be found in the early repertoire.
He offered us a choice: come back another time, or finish the show to his best abilities. The audience chose for the latter and was rewarded the cheerful dedication of a Costello who took a big bunch of roses from the audience during "Good Year For The Roses," and played his tight-lipped song "(I Don't Want To Go To) Chelsea," from 1978 on a guitar from what appears to be the same year.
Only in the encore, songs from the latest release, The Delivery Man, were played. And in this way, it was all different from normal. Costello danced on with diamond-dust sprinkled boots, handed out guitar-picks and played requests. Even an Elvis with a cold still surprises after 30 years and 24 albums.