Elvis Costello and his band the Sugarcanes rolled through Cain's Ballroom last night and wowed the crowd with three hours of new, supernew and classic hits.
Set songs included "Mystery Dance," "My All Time Doll," "Alison," "Sulphur to Sugarcane," "Blame it on Cain," "Brilliant Mistake," "Everyday I Write the Book" and several brand new songs. "This one's so new, it won't be written till next week," he joked as he launched into one tune, reading lyrics from a sheet on a music stand in front of him.
His set also included a slew of all-American honky tonk hits: Elvis Presley's hit song "Mystery Train," Buddy Holly's "Not Fade Away," Nick Lowe's "(What's So Funny Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding," The Velvet Underground's "Femme Fatale," Merle Haggard's "The Bottle Let Me Down," the Grateful Dead's "Friend of the Devil" and even George Jones' "The Race is On."
Costello reminisced about the first time he played the historic downtown Tulsa venue. "Dad used to say, you're name will be in lights. ... Some day you might even play cain's ballroom," he said. Costello's first visit was in 1978.
"We knew a little bit of history of Cain's," he said. "We opened with a few Hank Williams songs. ... That didn't go over too well at the time," he said. The crowd laughed. "But we also played this song," he said as he and his six bandmates on fiddle, standup bass, mandolin, accordion and guitars erupted into the music of "Blame it on Cain."
Sweat dripped from his chin. Steam floated from his heat. He swayed and laughed and hopped and even broke guitar strings. Costello's love of the venue is obvious. The band's love of its vibe was contagious.