Elvis Costello, St David's Hall, Cardiff

David Owens: South Wales Echo: 26.06.10 TWO musical greats hit Cardiff this week playing vastly different venues, yet both eagerly awaited by fans to whom both have acquired a somewhat god-like status. Pre-empting McCartney at the Millennium Stadium this evening, the equally talented and highly acclaimed Elvis Costello played the smaller and more intimate St David’s Hall. Unaccompanied and armed only with an array of fine guitars, his stripped down versions of classics from one of rock’s most celebrated and extensive bodies of work was a real treat. There are very few figures from the era that spawned punk still treading the boards today as regularly as Costello, and certainly no one nearly as creative or as productive. It was a low-key entrance from the man. And with no need for grand introductions, it was straight into his first number 45, followed swiftly by Either Side Of The Same Town and Veronica, a number co-written by Costello with former Beatle McCartney. It was proving to be the perfect setting which ideally suited what had become a laid-back, living room experience. And Costello’s good-natured banter and chat about his songs and experiences was certainly an added bonus in what was quickly becoming a memorable evening. The interesting thing about an evening with Elvis is the likelihood of hearing something never heard before or hearing an oldie dusted down and re-worked. Costello didn’t disappoint, producing a manic version of Watching The Detectives before moving effortlessly into Radio Sweetheart, with a touch of Jackie Wilson Said thrown into the mix. The encore produced some real gems with the excellent Sulphur To Sugarcane followed by a bitter-sweet Alison and then the classic anti-war anthem Shipbuilding in what was a quite exceptional evening.