Headliner Elvis Costello, the venerable British rocker, played an inspired selection of classics and new releases 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 slew of new tunes before closing the 90-minute program with catchy versions of two of his most beloved hits, Pump it up from 1978 This year’s model scrapbook and (What’s so funny) Peace, love and understanding (also from Armed forces); and a beautiful no-frills version of his classic ballad Alison from the 1977 album My objective is true.

Much of the crowd at Out of Space represents rocker Elvis Costello. Credit: The Jacobsons

A sold-out crowd of 5,000 loved it. A highly unscientific and informal cross section of attendees brought together roughly equal numbers of die-hard Elvis (“I’ve seen him since the 1980s” was a common refrain) and Out of Space fans.

Kelly Kurschner and Doug Pawlowski at the August 5 Out of Space Concert at Canal Shores Golf Course. Credit: The Jacobsons

“It’s a great way to enjoy a nice evening,” said Kelly Kurschner of Wilmette. She and her husband Doug Pawlowski said they saw Bruce Hornsby and Ben Harper at the scene.

James Blesius accepted. “This venue is awesome,” he said. He remembers seeing Patti Smith at Out of Space last year. “It was great, until the rains came and washed his set.”

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

Friday night weather, opening acts Nicole Atkins and Nick Lowe, and headliner Costello could be described in one word: sweet. The crowd was so friendly that Evanston Police Officer Brian Rust ventured the comment “so far so good”, when asked about security. “I don’t want to do anything stupid,” he added, laughing nervously. In fact, he seemed quite relaxed himself, smiling at the mostly older crowd seated en masse on deck chairs laid out on the golf course lawn.

Michael Musacchio, a neurosurgeon at Skokie Hospital (who coincidentally operated on me in March: I assured him I was fine) said he had seen Indigo Girls at Out of Space. “They were fantastic, but no matter who’s there, it’s always good.” Musacchio introduced me to John Powers, a former president of Canal Shores, who also saw Indigo Girls. “Cake was good,” Powers said, referring to the California rock and country & western band, adding, “I like it here because it’s walking distance from my house.”

Dave and Nancy O’Neill of Winnekta enjoyed the August 5 Out of Space concert presented by Elvis Costello. Credit: The Jacobsons

Nancy and Dave O’Neill from Winnetka loved the place. “It’s a beautiful event, terribly well organized, from check-in to food trucks and beer tents to well-behaved fans.”

Steve Ross, seated further back, is another Out of Space fan. (Full disclosure: He’s my neighbor in Northwest Evanston.) Ross said he saw Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy in a solo show three years ago. “I love the view,” he said, adding that he’s also been a Costello fanatic for many decades.

Another fan of the room, Gretchen Constantine, said: “I love it. It’s like a mini Ravinia. She said she was also “a big fan of Elvis Costello, since the 1980s”.

Atkins’ short opening set of what you might call rock with a touch of country was well received (she joined Costello for two numbers in the middle of her set), as was the 40-minute program by Lowe which included his hit Cruel to be nice. He didn’t sing his classic song, (What is So Funny Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding, naturally ceding it to headliner Costello, who made the song famous.

The SPACE concert hall has been organizing these Out of Space concerts for five years. It was my first trip there, but it won’t be my last. Costello’s great backup band The Imposters and his signature songs with their big hooks, unusual melodies and tight arrangements, all sung in his raspy but very nimble voice (which often sounds like Springsteen) made him a stellar attraction. and fan favorite.

Elvis Costello plays August 5 at the Out of Space concert at Canal Shores Golf Course. Credit: Tom Bonnell

The lyrics of What’s so funny may sound dark, and certainly applies to 2022 as much as it did to the events of 1974 when Lowe recorded the song (“As I walk through this wicked world, seeking light in the darkness of madness, I wonder , is it all hope lost? Is it all pain and hate and misery?…”) but last night looked anything but miserable and gloomy, except when the sun went down at 8:10 a.m. and Costello got into his set and the mellow crowd loved it.