Mellow evening for Elvis Costello at Out of Space

Headliner Elvis Costello, the venerable British rocker, played an inspired selection of classics and new material at Friday night’s Out of Space concert at Canal Shores Golf Course.

Opening with Accidents Will Happen and Green Shirt, both from his 1979 album Armed Forces, Costello then launched into a bevy of newer material before closing out the 90-minute program with rousing versions of two of his most beloved hits, Pump It Up from 1978’s This Year’s Model album and (What’s So Funny Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding (also from Armed Forces); and a beautiful, unadorned version of his classic ballad Alison from the 1977 album My Aim Is True.

Much of the crowd at Out of Space stands for rocker Elvis Costello. Credit: Les Jacobson

A sold-out crowd of 5,000 loved it. A highly unscientific and informal sample of attendees turned up about equal numbers of Elvis diehards (“I’ve been seeing him since the 1980s” was a common refrain) and Out of Space fans.

Kelly Kurschner and Doug Pawlowski at the Aug. 5 Out of Space concert at the Canal Shores Golf Course. Credit: Les Jacobson

“It’s a good way to enjoy a nice night,” said Kelly Kurschner, of Wilmette. She and her husband Doug Pawlowski said they’ve seen Bruce Hornsby and Ben Harper at the venue.

James Blesius agreed. “This venue is great,” he said. He recalled seeing Patti Smith at Out of Space last year. “It was terrific, till the rains came and washed out her set.”

The weather was not a factor Friday night – it couldn’t have been lovelier – in the second of a long weekend of shows, which began with Jenny Lewis Thursday and includes singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams tonight and Chicago blues legend Buddy Guy tomorrow night. The venue switches to Temperance Beer Co., 2000 Dempster St., for a long weekend of indoor shows Sept. 1-4 that feature Houndmouth, Car Seat Headrest, Neko Case and Steel Pulse. Information on the shows is available here.

Friday night’s weather, opening acts Nicole Atkins and Nick Lowe, and headliner Costello could be described in one word: mellow. The crowd was so congenial that Evanston Police officer Brian Rust hazarded the comment, “So far so good,” when asked about security. “Don’t want to jink it,” he added, laughing nervously. Actually, he seemed pretty relaxed himself, smiling at the predominantly older crowd seated in droves in beach chairs arrayed across the lawn of the golf course.

Michael Musacchio, a neurosurgeon at Skokie Hospital (who, coincidentally, operated on me in March: I assured him everything’s fine) said he saw Indigo Girls at Out of Space. “They were fantastic, but it doesn’t matter who’s here, it’s always good.” Musacchio introduced me to John Powers, a past president of Canal Shores, who also saw Indigo Girls. “Cake was good,” Powers said, referring to the rock and country & western group from California, adding, “I like it here because it’s walking distance from my house.”

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