Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Jeff Lynne's ELO, Live in Birmingham 24/6/16. Review.

Is it really possible to dislike ELO? even if the answer to that riddle is no, the resurgence of interest in the band is nothing short of extraordinary. I have been to (the venue that I still refuse to call anything other than) the NIA many times. Yet the only time I have been there and not seen a single seat empty was for ELO. I was surrounded by thousands of loving ELO fans, constantly clapping along to each song and the bits in between. We had a seat on the left hand side of the arena on the upper tier (which is why the photos are not up to my usual standard). We totally missed the support, from some band called The Shoos. But that didn't really matter. I remember saying that the show was disappointingly short. I could have sworn that the show only lasted about 40 minutes. In reality it was more like 75. I guess time flies when you're having fun.
Behind ELO was a massive circular lighting rig, which shot massive lasers all around the arena. They had a huge screen which had big projections of interstellar travel, UFO's and for 'Wild West Hero', the wild west. You don't have to be a huge ELO fan to come to their shows and hear several songs you love. From 'Wild Woman' (the second song they played), 'All Over the World', 'Turn to Stone', and 'Don't Bring Me Down' which with its huge neon graphics of footballs was an obvious nod to England to do well in the euro's. Even the new single 'When I was a boy' went down really well. Jeff Lynne's put together a great new band who were all introduced by name, including their drummer who milked the applause a bit. The last song they played before the encore was my favourite 'Mr Blue Sky' which had more or less the entire NIA standing up and clapping along. 'Mr Blue Sky' really is the sound of joy. They even used a fire extinguisher for the percussion bits. After the inevitable roars for an encore came onto to do the obligatory Chuck Berry cover of 'Roll Over Beethoven' complete with orchestral intro. After this one song encore they all stood in line for a selfie, and then they were gone.

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