Elvis becomes the other Elvis for the third episode of his weekly show, Spectacle: Elvis Costello With... (Wednesdays at 9pm EST/PST on the Sundance Channel), performing covers of "Mystery Train" and "Baby, Let's Play House". Pete Thomas and Davey Faragher are the rock-solid rhythm section, while nimble-fingered James Burton (formerly of Presley's TCB band in the 1970s) handles lead guitar duties. The band shines, especially Burton, whose licks ripple up and down the guitar's neck; Costello, on the other hand, takes too many liberties with the lyric's phrasing, eventually throwing Faragher's harmony vocal for a loop.
Despite its somewhat wobbly course, "Mystery Train" is an apt way to welcome native Arkansan and former President Bill Clinton, who speaks with Costello at length about music, politics, and the ways in which the two subjects often intersect.
The episode takes an unexpected left turn with its final musical performance: Pat Metheny and Charlie Haden show up to play a new acoustic composition, "Is This America? (Katrina 2005)". The song is tender and dreamlike, and perhaps even a bit inquisitive. Costello and Clinton look on as Metheny and Haden lose themselves in the language of plucked strings.