Gig review: JEFF LYNNE’S ELO – Hyde Park, London, 14 September 2014

A crowd of 50,000 in Hyde Park eagerly anticipating the first full live show from Jeff Lynne (billed as Jeff Lynne’s ELO) since 1986 in the UK and the last full live shows were a couple of US TV concert shows to promote the then new album ‘Zoom’ back in 2000.

Even better news for ELO fans like me was that another key ELO member Richard Tandy was present (looking like a cross between a music teacher and an accountant!). The backing band were Gary Barlow’s/Take That’s live band who backed Jeff Lynne when he played a couple of songs last year for BBC’s Children In Need.

Words can’t describe how overjoyed I was at finally seeing ELO and the legendary Jeff Lynne live. Along with Queen, ELO are one of my all time favorite bands and I’ve been a fan since the early 1980′s but sadly never saw them live bar on TV (I can still recall seeing them perform at the charity gig Heartbeat back in 1986 shown by Central TV). I was seeing Jeff Lynne tonight! And with my six year old son who has been musically educated in the ELO classics and Bellowhead, who he loved when they performed earlier on the day.

After a video showing a brief snapshot of the varied musical works of Jeff Lynne, Radio 2′s Chris Evans introduced Jeff Lynne. Big thanks to Chris Evans from myself and fellow ELO fans as his apparent persistent nagging of Jeff Lynne to play live again worked for Children In Need which led in turn to tonight’s gig.

Even better news in a radio interview Jeff Lynne revealed if he enjoyed tonight this could mark the start of more live shows and a world tour (something he confirmed on stage too).

Kicking off with ‘All Over The World’ was a canny choice as the gig was being shown and heard literally all over the world thanks to the BBC via Radio 2. Amazing to see the ELO logo resplendent as the stage backdrop and of course ELO lived up to its name as we had a spectacular light show and the excellent BBC Concert Orchestra.

A lot of the set list came from the early albums with a cracking run through ‘Ma-Ma-Ma Belle’ and ’10538 Overture’, seventh heaven to hear these songs played live. An updated arrangement of ‘Steppin’ Out’ was another highlight, as was the upbeat duo of ‘Don’t Bring Me Down’ and ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Is King’, tunes guaranteed to get even the most reluctant feet tapping along.

The backing band were spot on too, with the backing singers providing the harmonies on ‘Sweet Talkin’ Woman’ and ‘Turn To Stone’. I guess if they do more live dates hopefully it will be with the full orchestra as they really do the songs justice.

I would imagine too many shows with a full orchestra would be too costly, so perhaps a few selected dates in a handful of countries? I am sure whatever format Jeff Lynne decides on, if and when he tours, the fans will be happy!

Nice touch performing the Traveling Wilbury’s song ‘Handle With Care’ which he dedicated to Roy Orbison and George Harrison. The video screen at the back of the stage showed images of the Travelling Wilburys from their recording together.

‘Mr Blue Sky’ closed the main set and then one encore with ‘Roll Over Beethoven’, the perfect song to mix rock and classical with the BBC Concert Orchestra in full flight.

Jeff Lynne seemed genuinely surprised and humbled by the crowd’s response often saying how marvellous it was. Believe you me Mr Lynne the pleasure is all ours and let’s hope this does herald a new live chapter for Jeff Lynne and ELO. A truly magical gig rounding off a very enjoyable day’s music.

Review by Jason Ritchie

Setlist: All Over The World, Evil Woman, Ma-Ma-Ma Belle, Showdown, Livin’ Thing, Strange Magic, 10538 Overture, Can’t Get It Out of My Head, Sweet Talkin’ Woman, Turn To Stone, Steppin’ Out, Handle with Care, Don’t Bring Me Down, Rock ‘n’ Roll Is King, Telephone Line, Mr. Blue Sky  Encore: Roll Over Beethoven

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One Response to Gig review: JEFF LYNNE’S ELO – Hyde Park, London, 14 September 2014

  1. Pingback: BBC Radio 2 Festival in a Day with Jeff Lynne’s ELO, Bellowhead | The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake