Elvis Costello and the Sugarcanes deliver the goods, even without the hits (4 stars)

Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Fri 2 Jul

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Elvis Costello and the Sugarcanes deliver the goods, even without the hits

It’s only after two hours and three encores that you start to appreciate the scale and import of Elvis Costello’s body of work.

Despite an extended, Americana-nuanced set that embraced many of his best-loved songs – the dapper vitriol of ‘Oliver’s Army’, the pin-drop protest of ‘Shipbuilding’, the wavering, pared-back ‘Good Year For The Roses’ – what strikes is the number of other Costello favourites you’d have liked to hear.

Perhaps this is the inevitable response to a classic pop maverick whose career has spanned four decades – and whose aural personas have explored post-punk, pub rock, music hall, political folk, country, jazz and cabaret – but it’s quite revelatory nonetheless.

Flanked by sterling Nashville backing gang The Sugarcanes (think a bluegrass Bad Seeds), Costello delighted as a soulful raconteur: contemporary dispatches like the (unreleased) death-row blues of ‘Condemned Man’ and the woozy rock’n’roll of 2004’s ‘The Delivery Man’ thrived alongside the timeless ‘Red Shoes’ and ‘Alison’.

It’s just a shame he didn’t play ‘Watching the Detectives’. Oh, and ‘(I Don’t Want to Go to) Chelsea’. Oh, and ‘Veronica’. Oh, and… you get the point.

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