Recently, I was lucky enough to catch the legendary Jeff Lynne’s ELO (Electric Light Orchestra) as they stopped by at Glasgow’s SSE Hydro Arena on 28th June 2017. Following their first tour in 30 years last year and the release of a brand new album ‘Alone In The Universe‘ the band are back and better than ever! Unfortunately I missed out on tickets last year but successfully managed to bag tickets this time round ticking off another band in my list of dream gigs!
Opening the evening’s show was Tom Chaplin of British band Keane performing a number of songs from his solo career as well a number of songs from his days with Keane. An impressive performer indeed, with an excellent voice and equally as great songs. Aside from the odd Keane song this was my first introduction Tom’s music and I left the show intrigued to check out more of his music and would definitely be keen to see him live at a headline show. Definitely an artist to keep a close eye on!
Before long ELO had hit the stage and immediately had the Glasgow audience in the palm of their hands. Kicking the set off with Standin’ In The Rain; a spectacular opening both musically and visually complete with immersive and captivating imagery on the screens behind the band. I remember sitting there in awe of the music and the fact that I was lucky enough to see a legendary artist like Jeff Lynne who’s made such an impact on music and I’m only 18 years old!
The setlist was filled with countless iconic numbers from the very word ‘go’ including Evil Woman, All Over The World and Livin’ Thing to name just a few. But that’s the thing; bands like ELO have made so much of an impact on music that every song is a hit! For me personally, I was most excited to hear one of ELO’s most recent releases When I Was A Boy a song in which I’d fallen in love after hearing it on the radio following its release a few years ago and have since played it countless time on my weekly radio show. Hearing it live was an absolutely phenomenal experience, it’s serene yet powerful Beatle-esque sound brought to life in the arena was truly incredible!
Taking a turn for some upbeat disco inspired tracks came Last Train To London with a fabulous funky groove and a pungent bass riff! Following suit was Xandau the title track for the Olivia Newton John that ELO contributed a number of songs to. Can’t Get It Out Of My Head displayed a stunning vocal performance illuminated by the face of a full dreamy full moon. Need I say any more?
A colourful display of laser lighting illuminated the room during Twilight. It’s amazing to think just how simple things like lighting and video can really bring to life a piece of music and ELO is prime example of this! They don’t need props, fireworks, glitz and glam to create a dramatic and spellbinding performance; the music certainly speaks volumes on its own. Combine that with some lights and the right back drop and the show is complete! Honestly, I can’t begin to describe just how magical a sight it was!
Towards the end of the show came a selection of songs from the band’s most iconic album Out Of The Blue; the songs that made history, the songs that everyone loves! We’re talking songs like Wild West Hero, Sweet Talking Woman and Turn To Stone with the few exceptions of Telephone Line and Don’t Bring Me Down; both of which are equally as iconic. But the highlight was without doubt Mr Blue Sky, a song I never dreamt I’d be lucky enough to hear live but somehow as I’ve learned in recent years even my wildest dreams can come true! I first fell in love with the song 10 years ago, aged 8 when I heard it in the Disney film ‘The Game Plan‘ it was a song that really stuck out at me as something very unique and extremely special. Hearing it live proved beyond expectations sounding just as incredible as the original recording with that magical flare that never fails to strike me when listening to that song.
Following a quick selfie to commemorate the evening with the Glasgow audience the band left the stage leaving room in darkness. Progressively the audience became more lively until ELO returned once again for one more song; a cover of Chuck Berry’s Roll Over Beethoven which went down a real treat with the crowd! An upbeat and vibrant ending to the show in true rock n’ roll style!
All in all an incredible performance from ELO, I love the array of musical genres in which they bring to their music! ELO need no dramatic production to shine, their music truly speaks on its own and evidently it continues to reign!