Browsing for Music with Elvis Costello
He shook his head, lost in the moment. _Our_ moment.
â€œAh, Ray Charlesâ€”it doesnâ€™t get any better, does it?â€
I looked up from a crouch to see who was offering unsolicited opinions on my holiday shopping, assuming I would give a friendly nod and move on down the aisle, when lo and beholdâ€¦
Elvis Costello wasnâ€™t watching the detectives. He was watching me peruse the music DVD selections at the Union Square Virgin Records, and he approved of my selection.
â€œHeâ€™s one of my momâ€™s favorites,â€ I said, acting nonchalant while wondering if Costello wears the black-on-black suit and tie every time he leaves the house, even to go to the gym or to get coffee and the Sunday _Times._
He glanced at _Ray Charles: Live in Brazil_ and nodded. â€œThatâ€™s a good one,â€ he said.
Sensing our brief time together was about to end, I tried to come up with a topic of conversation that could prolong the relationship. And then, just under the wire, it hit me. â€œI was down in New Orleans this year,â€ I said.
Costello looked at me through his Roy Orbison glasses and, with all the seriousness an angry young man from way back could muster, replied, â€œWasnâ€™t Bruce incredible?â€
â€œIt might be the best show Iâ€™ve ever seen,â€ I said, â€œand you guys were great, too.â€
The thumbnail is this: In 2006, Bruce Springsteen and the Seeger Sessions Band headlined the first post-Katrina Jazz Fest. It was as moving and religious an experience as anything Iâ€™d ever been a part of. And prior to Springsteen, Elvis Costello and Big Easy mainstay Allen Toussaint had played a set, mostly songs from their collaboration _The River in Reverse._
â€œThanks,â€ Costello said. â€œThat was justâ€¦Bruce was amazingâ€¦New Orleans.â€¦â€ He shook his head, lost in the moment. _Our_ moment. Then he laughed and said, â€œI didnâ€™t know that was out already.â€ He pointed to the concert DVD version of _The River in Reverse._ I thought about reaching down and buying one. Fortunately, Costello was just pointing out the coincidence and not asking me to prove my love.
â€œHave you ever seen Allen over at Joeâ€™s Pub?â€
â€œNo,â€ I answered, adding (honestly), â€œI saw he was playing there last month, but it was sold out.â€
â€œAllen plays there a lot,â€ Costello said. "Next time heâ€™s in town, come check him out. Maybe Iâ€™ll see you there.â€
â€œCool,â€ I replied. I didnâ€™t want to be a pest, so I pretended I was still shopping. A minute later, I looked around.
Elvis had left the DVD section of Virgin Records.