After several decades on hiatus, the Electric Light Orchestra – now known as Jeff Lynne’s ELO – is revving up again and will tour the U.S. this year. The 13-piece lineup also found its way to Wembley Stadium last summer and cut this rollicking two-CD live set.
Though Lynne is the only original member, it’s hard not to be swept away by the nostalgic, Beatleque melodies and arrangements of these 23 cuts. There are wall-to-wall hits, including “Evil Woman,” “Livin’ Thing,” and Jeff’s ode to George Martin-style arranging, “Mr. Blue Sky.” The sing-along “All Over The World” has become one of ELO’s best-loved hits and it’s well rendered here. We also get a rollicking “Handle With Care,” the Traveling Wilburys classic.
Throughout the show, Lynne plays a Gibson Les Paul or Hummingbird, with Mike Stevens adding rock-solid rhythm. “Do Ya” is framed around Jeff’s power-chord riff and, no question, he knows better than anyone how to create a memorable hook with guitar. The man doesn’t play many solos, but can crank out Chuck Berry double stops as well as anyone – the blistering show-closer of “Roll Over Beethoven” is ferocious proof.
In all, this set happily lets us know the ELO saga isn’t over yet.
This article originally appeared in VG May 2018 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.