Jeff Lynne's ELO, 2016 review: Manchester

From: Manchestereveningnews

The sun-glasses wearing front man of the legendary Electric Light Orchestra was magnificant at Manchester Arena on Sunday night, writes Todd Fitzgerald

I’ve been to a lot of gigs at the Manchester Arena.
This was without doubt the best of them. Electrifying rock at its absolute best.
Aside from a brief stint in 2000, this is the first ELO tour for three decades.
It’s been worth the wait.

Jeff Lynne, with his new incarnation of one of rock’s greatest bands, showed exactly why he’s held in such high regard.

Producer, composer, singer, guitarist, there’s not much this guy can't do - and do fantastically well.

The shaggy-haired bespectacled Brummie, the epitome of cool, treated the Manchester crowd to his wondrous blend of rock pop with spine-tingling classical undertones.

But this isn’t some wrinkly rocker’s last hurrah.

Lynne still means business - and his latest offering, Alone in the Universe, is proof.

Tunes such as When I Was a Boy and Ain’t It a Drag don’t feel out of place. The songwriting quality is still there; the melodies as perfect as ever.

Rockaria! gets the crowd singing. Telephone Line gets them swaying.
Livin' Thing, Turn to Stone and Don’t Bring Me Down get them bouncing.

Everyone knows what this epic show is building to, and when those unmistakable piano chords finally arrive, the place erupts.

Mr. Blue Sky could have easily closed the show, but Lynne can’t resist treating his ecstatic fans to a good old dance before sending them on their merry way.

Roll Over Beethoven ends the night on an almighty high, with a little six-stringed wizardry delighting the already elated arena.

Lynne’s guitar-driven encore is epic.

There’s a reason ELO boast 26 Top 40 singles - and 50 million record sales.

And it was there for all to see in Manchester.

Lynne might be pushing 70, but he can still hold a crowd like no other, accompanied by old pal Richard Tandy.
I'm not usually one for fancy visuals and light shows. Too often they're a distraction from a mundane performance.

But with ELO, what you see really does add to the magnificence of what you hear.
The only thing missing, for me, was my favourite ELO track, 10538 Overture.
Lynne and co will be back in Manchester in June. If you've got a ticket, you're in for treat.


Evil Woman
All Over the World
When I Was a Boy
Livin' Thing
Ain't It a Drag
Can't Get It Out of My Head
When the Night Comes
Secret Messages
Steppin' Out
Shine a Little Love
Wild West Hero
Telephone Line
Turn to Stone
Don't Bring Me Down
Sweet Talkin' Woman
Mr. Blue Sky
Roll Over Beethoven
(Chuck Berry cover)