Costello jumps onto the stage and straight into your living room: Where else would you get two hours of music and all your favourite songs.
Why? Is the Goodbye Cruel World tour symbolising a more optimistic approach? I tend to think not, yet Costello is on bent behaviour — he chats to the audience, he introduces his songs (admittedly with contempt), and he can't stop playing. When this tour stops he's decided to go out again on his own — try not to miss it.
The support band, the Pogues, are there for fun — they drink, fight and laugh their way through a short set which I crudely label as a cross between Billy Bragg and Ten Pole Tudor. In truth, they are more in the mode of the Boothill Foot Tappers, and the crowd's physical response was suitably insane.
Costello starts his set with the bouncy "Lipstick Vogue" and harshly continues into a disappointing version of "Watching the Detectives" but the fault is more than rectified with the first of many soul ballads, Clarence Carter's "Dark End of the Street." Costello's affinity for soul is undisputed but there have always been criticisms; many of these criticisms now look less and less well founded — the voice has matured to a new peak and the overall effect was at times beautiful. The solo version of "Hi-fidelity" ranks high amongst reasons why his extended tour must be seen, and his next single, a song of 'mindless spite' called "I hope that you're happy now" exemplifies the Attractions' musical success — it all makes for British soul at its best.
Ten songs are included as encores ranging from "Alison" to "Shipbuilding," hardly one favourite is left unsung; I sense that the cruel world has passed and that Costello is more jovial and ebullient on stage but I suspect that lyrically, the cruel world will never be forgiven.