- 26 Oct 18
At a jam-packed 3 Arena Thursday night, Jeff Lynne and his Electric Light Orchestra handled a formidable 70s catalogue with care.
Beneath five large LED screens, a total of 12 musicians aided the Travelling Wilbury through nearly five decades of classic Beatlesque pop hits. Among the band was not one, not two, but three keyboard players who ensured studio-like sound quality throughout.
Unlike many fellow classic rock legends with large tours, the show never felt like it dragged. Exactly 90 minutes in length, the production was incredibly precise.
Hiding behind a mop of curly hair and oversized glasses, the rock legend is a relatively understated performer letting his music speak for itself with minimal audience interaction:
“Hello Dublin, it’s great to be back,” were about the only words he uttered to the adoring crowd all evening. The crooner even let his musical director, sax player and Take That collaborator, Max Stevens introduce the band.
Highlights of the night included ‘Handle With Care’ – the only song he played from his time with supergroup The Travelling Willbury’s. Images of his former bandmates appeared across the backdrop behind. Other songs to be well received were the autobiographical ‘When I Was A Boy’, a stirring rendition of ‘Don’t Bring Me Down’ and of course, the film soundtrack favourite ‘Mr. Blue Sky’.
ELO’s resurgence in recent years could be seen as a surprising one. 2001 saw cancelled concerts due to low ticket sales and the band was once the butt of famous Alan Partridge jibe: “Pray silence, please, for The Electric Light Orchestra”. A joke describing how out of touch someone is without knowing it themselves.
For that reason or another, Lynne has toured sporadically until now and last night’s concert was probably better because of it. The audience was eager to see him and thoroughly appreciated each song.
There’s little chance of poor ticket sales now. Recent years have seen a reversal of fortune for the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers after a Glastonbury appearance and headlining show in Hyde park. Following a successful run through the States last summer, it’s just been announced they’ll return to North America in 2019. The ELO brand is well and truly revived.
Every song earned a rousing reaction but once the dad-dancing hit fever pitch midway through the night, nothing was ever going to bring this crowd down.