Cactus Festival, Belgium- Rock'n'Roll in 1921

Rock’n’roll in 1921 Saturday, 9.45 pm Despite the persistent rain falling by the bucketful, no one could wipe the blissful grins from our faces. And the reason for our joy? Elvis Costello. He chose to wear a silly, white boater, assembled a band of superb guns-for-hire (with guitarist Jim Lauderdale deserving special mention) and entertained himself with bluegrass, gypsy jazz and Americana for an hour. Furthermore, the mariachi keyboards in ‘Blame it on Cain’ were hard to resist, while ‘Slow Drag with Josephine’ sidled unabashedly up towards vaudeville. “This is what rock’n’roll sounded like in 1921,” was how the British songsmith introduced the song with a grin. Earlier on, ‘New Amsterdam’ flirted beyond belief with the Beatles’ ‘You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away’. We weren’t the only ones to savour it: the audience was also clearly under Costello’s spell. ‘Red Shoes’ and a magnificent ‘Good Year for the Roses’ brought proceedings to a climax with en-masse singing. Even the sudden downpour failed to dampen spirits during ‘The Delivery Man’, the Grateful Dead cover ‘Friend of the Devil’ or the brand new and appropriately-titled ‘Jimmie Standing in the Rain’ featuring gypsy violin. The fact that the anguished love song ‘I Want You’ seemed to be handled equally well by the fiddling gypsies could not even bother us any more.