No Accident Happening Here – Elvis Costello Wows the Palace

If you listen to this week Rusty Satellite Show podcast, you’ll hear all about the obnoxious guy sitting in front of me for the first half of Elvis Costello’s great one-man show at the Louisville Palace June 17.

But I refused to let his behavior dominate my memory of the evening. In fact what I’ll remember about Elvis is introducing this great musician’s talent to my girlfriend Paula while scooting down to the 2nd row. Once there, we enjoyed three encores featuring, first, our own Brigid Kaelin, then My Morning Jacket’s Jim James. Finally, the trio played some tunes together (with Brigid on the saw).

Finally, Elvis finished the 2 1/2 show (no intermission) with a cool version of my favorite Elvis tune — What’s So Funny About Peace, Love and Understanding.

I’ve been an Elvis fan since college, when I first heard cuts from the Armed Forces album on the WKU campus radio station,  and ran out to the local record shop to buy it. “Accidents Will Happen” became a theme song for various scrapes I’d get in. But for some reason, until Tuesday, I’d never seen him in person.

Costello is a storyteller, and in introducing songs he told stories about his family and childhood. Surprisingly, though, not much about his wife, the talented Diana Krall, who came to the Kentucky Center for her own excellent show a while back.  Interestingly, during her show, she never mentioned her husband by name, but talked about raising twins (born in 2006) and a husband who traveled a lot.

It was awesome to hear so many familiar tunes, songs I’ve played over and over on CDs and the radio for 30 years, performed solo. It gave me a fresh perspective — Green Shirt, Allison, Watching the Detectives, the acclaimed What’s So Funny About.. — and a new appreciation for Costello’s career.  It’s not easy to carry on on stage for 150 minutes, but Costello seemed like he was just getting warmed up.