An emotionally charged evening and the benefits go on. Organised by Costello in support of the miners, the South Wales Miners Choir appropriately made an appearance to a standing ovation. "50 geezers have just walked past me and said, 'Follow that!'," quipped Mr Bragg as he began his turn.
Bragg is the young pretender to Elvis and he has matured. His early material, such as "Milkman Of Human Kindness," sounds coy up against his newer, more political numbers. "Between The Wars" has a hard edge — a punch rather than a poke.
When trumpeter Dave Woodhead came on, someone called for Neil Kinnock. "Kinnock can't play the trumpet," Bragg replied. "It keeps falling off the fence." But the Labour Party have done well to associate themselves with Bragg's current tour. Standing alone with his guitar, he's the most potent performer around.
Elvis And The Attractions hadn't played together for four months, and it showed. Their set took time to warm up and didn't spark into life until the battery of favourites — "Stand Down Margaret," "Pump It Up" and "Shipbuilding" — were wheeled out at the end. But it was enough to raise everyone from their seats to clog the aisles. He included quite a few new songs, "Brilliant Mistake" and a soulful ballad among the best.
Bragg and Costello, two men with a message. Whether or not they can win converts, they're guaranteed to make people think. Maybe that's enough.