By KEVIN DUKE
STILL SINGING: Elvis Costello, rocking as hard as ever, entertained the Cain’s crowd on St. Patrick’s Day.
KEVIN DUKE for GTR Newspapers
The music stopped for a moment at the Cain’s ballroom, but only because the performer on stage had a few words for the crowd.
“You know,” he said as the crowd quieted, “I had the chance to look around this historic place while we were setting up this afternoon, and the history here just blows me away.”
“All the people who have played here, it’s really humbling to a guy like me to see all the great performers up on the wall. So I’m checking out all the posters and recognize one from the last time I played here.”
“That poster was from 1977, and it made me realize… man, am I old.”
And with that, Elvis Costello, the aging, paunchy, geeky and yet somehow still cool, English rocker ripped into his next tune … and the St. Patrick’s Day crowd went nuts.
Costello played to a packed house at the Cain’s in 1977 and this show was no different, just 28 years later.
The 50-something Costello has been entertaining audiences since the mid-70’s with his unusual blend of rock-a-billy and blues, with heart-rending ballads and a little punk thrown in.
With his own unique vocal stylings, the singer, who looks more like a computer nerd than a rock and roll star, belted out fan favorites for almost two hours.
“He is such a geek, but man he has got to be the coolest geek ever,” said one fan.
Crowd favorites included everything from the slow ballad “Allison,” to hip and energized dance tunes like “Watching the Detectives,” and probably his biggest hit in the states, “Pump It Up.”
His first trip back to the recently renovated ballroom in almost three decades left both him and the crowd appreciating Tulsa’s historic music hall all the more.
“You are so lucky in Tulsa to have a venue with all the history this place has,” continued the singer after another song. “This place is a special landmark to Tulsa and to all the musicians who come here.”
The renovation includes a new stage, an entire new wing with another bar and the Cain’s “Wall of Fame,” which fills two walls with posters from acts at the ballroom as far back as the 1950’s.
New men’s and women’s facilities were also added, something the ballroom had been in need of for many years.“I hadn’t been here since the renovation,” said one fan, “I really like all the improvements. The place is much easier to get around, and there hasn’t been a line at the restrooms all night.”