On 20th October, I went back in time to the world of 70’s rock music and experienced the electronic guitars, colourful lighting and orchestral magic of Jeff Lynne’s Electric Light Orchestra.
My discovery of this band was a rather strange story. Before the days of music streaming services, I used Apple iTunes to download and play songs. One day I came across the track Mr Blue Sky in my library. I did recognise it from hearing it on the radio and quite liked it but don’t ever remember purchasing it. Then Christmas 2016, I was at my parents house and my Dad put a CD on. I recognised loads of the songs and found out it was an ELO album. Throughout the next year I streamed their music on my Amazon Echo and in January 2018 discovered Jeff Lynne was doing an European tour in the autumn with several dates at The O2 Arena in London. I managed to book tickets and gave them to Dad for his birthday.
The Support Act
With previous live music reviews on this blog, I usually review the main act and sometimes give the support act a brief mention at the end. However, I was so impressed with the support act of this show, I felt they deserved a good write up.
Billy Lockett is a young, self-taught and ambitious singer-songwriter from Northampton. I would describe his music as having an indie-pop vibe; full of love, emotion and power which sends shivers up my spine with excitement. He plays a wonderful combination of splendid piano, upbeat feel-good sing-along songs (with the assistance of guitarist and drummer) and a moving, expressive and passionate voice. In addition to his original material, he did an amazing cover of Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game. He reminds me of a British version of American singer, Tor Miller, another support act who I saw perform live at a gig in Portsmouth 2 years ago and have grown to love.
Billy Lockett is my favourite new artist of 2018 and I look forward to listening to more of his music and hopefully see him live at gigs and festivals next year. I urge you to check him out on Youtube!
Jeff Lynne’s Electric Light Orchestra
Now for the main event; Jeff Lynne’s ELO. It was a spectacular performance filled with all their greatest hits and a couple of covers. I love the collective mix of old school rock n’ roll and modern techno pop all in one setlist with hit following hit – Evil Woman, All Over The World, Showdown, 10358 Overture & Sweet Talkin’ Woman, to name a few.
The stand out tracks of the night were Rockaria! with the distingtive operatic backing vocals and a popular favourite amongst the crowd, Livin’ Thing.
In addition to ELO’s greatest hits, Jeff Lynne also performed one of his newer numbers from 2013, When I Was a Boy, an emotional ballad about him growing up dreaming to be a musician – which proves dreams really can come true! He also performed tracks from his former bands; Handle With Care by Traveling Wilburys and Do Ya by The Move.
The final four songs began with the catchy and memorable Telephone Line, followed by the heavy-rock of Don’t Bring Me Down, then the rapid riffs of Turn To Stone and lastly closing with the most upbeat, happiest, positive song on the planet, Mr Blue Sky.
However the show doesn’t finish there. After the encore they came back on and performed ELO’s version of the Chuck Berry song Roll Over Beethoven. I was rather surprised Mr Blue Sky wasn’t the final song after the encore, especially because at the end of the track it says “please turn me over”, signifying the album record is finished and you need to turn the vinyl disc over.
Overall it was a wonderful evening with a stunning show and listening to Dad cheer like he was at a rugby match will stay in my memories forever.
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