Sitting next to Elvis Costello's self-proclaimed No. 1 fan made it hard to be objective, but what the heck. It didn't matter when the concert was as good as the one performed Friday, Sept. 9 at the Dallas Convention Center Arena. Costello and The Attractions led a small but devoted crowd on a musical roller coaster ride.
On tour to promote his latest album, Punch The Clock, Costello was simply outstanding. Roaring through 28 songs in two hours, he kept the audience spellbound throughout the evening.
Opening with "Let Them All Talk," a song from his new album, Costello let everyone know that this was going to be a show filled with soul. He was aided by his band, plus a horn section, which helped to provide a little extra punch for the show.
Portions of the show were not so light. One of the definite highlights occurred when Costello did two back-to-back anti-war songs: "What's So Funny About Peace, Love and Understanding?" and "Shipbuilding."
While the two songs deal with the same subject, the former is a fast, simple song, and the latter gives a mournful, more mature view of war.
Costello never let the mood stay somber for very long. Each time he did a ballad he seemed to counter it with more soul. In fact, this concert almost seemed like a tribute to Smokey Robinson.
Costello's band, The Attractions, was impeccable throughout the evening. The keyboard player, Steve Nieve, had his own following among the crowd and it was well-deserved. There were several standing ovations, especially for "Shipbuilding."
Costello ended his regular set with "Clown Time Is Over," which featured an incredible vocal performance. The crowd went wild. They were rewarded with two encores in which "Every Day I Write The Book," his current single, was included.