A curious marriage this, punk pioneer and famed king of bile Costello in bed with a quartet of classical musicians.
It could easily all end in tears, if not a messy divorce, but, for the most part, they make a happy couple.
It’s 16 years since their first date and there was no doubting the chemistry and collective talent on the Symphony Hall stage.
Costello, greying now and peering out from behind those trademark glasses, still has that powerful, distinctive voice.
And the Quartet - Daniel Rowland, Ian Belton, Paul Cassidy and Jacqueline Thomas - match him with superb musicianship.
Accidents will Happen opened the show brilliantly and, as with other Costello standards, went down a storm.
He threw in Useless Beauty, Pills and Soap, White Lies and a superb, haunting version of Shipbuilding.
Mixed in were offerings from his collaboration with the Brodsky four from 1993’s Juliet Letters album, as well as a selection of new songs.
Some of these were beautiful arrangements, Costello’s voice a perfect complement to the Quartet’s sensitive playing.
Others worked less well, with the strings jarring, the happy marriage hitting a rocky patch. Or perhaps they just need another listen.
Standout songs were an emotional I Thought I’d Write to Juliet and Rocking Horse Road but the highlight was when Costello, with acoustic guitar, stood at the edge of the stage and simply sang, his voice reaching every corner of Symphony Hall.
Don’t leave it so long to come back to Birmingham, Elvis – and maybe next time as a single man.