Elvis Costello has returned to Perth twice since he last played Kings Park back in 2007. He delivered a blistering solo set at the Fremantle Arts Centre in 2009 and then was here for West Coast Blues 'n' Roots two years ago.
However the London-born erstwhile punk rocker has distinct memories from his previous evening in the park, in particular of fans wading through the duck pond to get close to the stage.
The seating now covers the water.
At the final date of Costello's Australian tour with his long-time band, the Imposters, he told close to 4000 fans that he was "glad you didn't have to swim out to me."
We didn't get the giant song wheel the man born Declan MacManus used to randomly select songs at the east coast shows but we did get a terrific greatest-hits set performed with gusto that's rare in a bunch of blokes the wrong side of 50.
Costello was joined by former Attractions, keyboardist Steve Nieve and great rock drummer Pete Thomas, as well as bassist Davey Faragher, an Imposter since 2001.
The foursome hit the stage with steely intent, running through five songs — including "High Fidelity," "Radio, Radio" and a robust version of "Everyday I Write the Book" — without breaking stride.
Sweat began to drip from the brim of Costello's hat as fans in the front rows followed his exhortation to stand up.
The hit parade took a breather as Costello covered Johnny Cash's "Cry, Cry, Cry" after performing "Song With Rose," a song he wrote with Rosanne Cash. From country to 1920s- style jazz, a solo Costello then performed "A Slow Drag with Josephine" and "Jimmie Standing in the Rain," both from his most recent album, 2010's National Ransom. "This is how rock used to be in Western Australia in 1922," he remarked.
The history lesson continued with Costello and chums showing us how rock used to be in the late 70s, a police siren heralding an epic take on early singles "Watching the Detectives" and "(I Don't Want to Go To) Chelsea."
With the vigour of the early part of the show re-established, fans got a greatest- hits finale, with "Alison," "Pump It Up" and "Oliver's Army" rubbing shoulders with a couple of Nick Lowe numbers, "Heart of the City" and a feisty finale of "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding." Brilliant.
After Stephen Cummings and Jo Jo Zep and the Falcons performed in the late afternoon — the twin saxophones on the latter's "Shape I'm In" could be heard throughout Kings Park — reunited Sydney power-pop outfit the Sunnyboys impressed fans who probably hadn't seen them since the 80s.
Jeremy and Peter Oxley, along with gun guitarist Richard Burgman and drummer Bill Bilson, put the band back together last year for the Hoodoo Gurus' excellent Dig It Up festival. Given the rapturous reception for 1981 hits "Happy Man" and, especially, "Alone With You," there could be more Sunny days ahead.