Fantastic concert at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall

Laura Davis: Liverpool Daily Post: 29.06.10 Costello was a man of few words but considerable wit , making light of England’s defeat in Sunday’s World Cup match – "Wayne Rooney? More like Mickey Rooney" – though he had been performing with Paul McCartney in Hyde Park at the time of the game. But this acoustic set was far from a one-man show and only Costello’s charismatic stage presence prevented him from being upstaged by members of his Tennesse band The Sugarcanes. Stuart Duncan drew a stunningly rich tone from his fiddle, while Mike Compton played the mandolin at such pace that his fingers appeared blurred. But even their performances were eclipsed by 12-time Grammy Award winner Jerry Douglas who coaxed an amazing range of sounds from his dobro. Their backing on a beautiful rendition of Shipbuilding made the anthem even more mournful. A double encore finished the concert with Nick Lowe’s (What’s so Funny ’Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding as the final song. But if Costello had chosen to play all night, the audience would have stayed to listen. His namesake may only live on in rumours and records but the singer-songwriter with the Birkenhead upbringing appears to be immortal. And at last night’s Philharmonic Hall gig, Elvis Costello demonstrated just why his 35-year career has never faltered. A consummate performer and a master-wordsmith, he mixed new material with old and other people’s songs in a show that was as refreshing as the rain shower that greeted the exiting audience on this sticky June day.