So far, most music fans have only seen new wave musician Elvis Costello on NBC's Saturday Night TV show a couple of months ago, when he was a last-minute replacement for the Sex Pistols. If they've seen him at all.
Then, Costello seemed a tiny, combative figure besieged by demons on all sides. He won his battle that night through the intensity and hostility, with which he punched out his songs.
Friday night at the Tower Theater in Upper Darby, Pa., it was a different story.
Costello was in complete command as 3,000 in the packed house image created by his photographs and one TV appearance. His performance showed that not all new wave acts just suddenly appeared, untutored and raw.
Costello, clearly, had done this sort of thing before.
The 23-year-old Englishman knows how to fit gesture to the apparently authentic emotion generated by his music. He is theatrical but not dishonest.
But, although Costello has had experience as a performer, he has not had success.
That is starting to come, too, and it's a delight to see him revel in it.
When the bespectacled Costello, wearing a light suit but no tie, sneakers and a waterfall haircut, announced "The Angels Want to Wear My Shoes," the crowd cheered and loved it.
He strummed his guitar flourish and swaggered to the