Review by Andrew Bramfitt
Thu 14th Jul 2022Previous Page
2 hours of non stop smash hits from one of rock & pop’s greatest songwriters and performed by one of the country’s leading tribute acts.
Any soundtrack to the 70’s and 80’s would be woefully incomplete without at least a handful of songs by Jeff Lynne and ELO. Hailing from the golden city of 70’s UK music, the ‘Brummie’ band gave rise to countless acts, groups and bands while becoming worldwide sensations.
During ELO's original 13-year period of active recording and touring, they sold over 50 million records worldwide. From 1972 to 1986, ELO accumulated 27 top 40 songs on the UK Singles Chart, and fifteen top 20 songs on the US Billboard Hot 100. n 2017, the key members of ELO (Wood, Lynne, Bevan and Tandy) were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Big shoes to fill but The ELO Experience, fronted by the charismatic Andy Louis and backed by a brilliant pop rock band, complete with string trio, manage to hit every smash hit head on, evoking the stadium feelings of ELO Live and immersing the audience in a heady mix of nostalgia and modern fandom.
Andy has had a successful solo career and always wanted to sing in a band covering the magic songs of the Electric Light Orchestra. When the chance came along, he didn't need to be asked twice. A fabulous Jeff Lynne "sound-alike", Andy strives to get the essence of ELO in his vocals.
More than ably supported by Pete Smith, (Bass Guitar), Chris Marsh (Keyboards, Special Effects, Vocoder), Jan Christiansen (Lead Guitar) and Tony Lawson (Drums) the hits begin on the first beat and just never stop. Evil Woman, .Livin' Thing, Showdown, Turn To Stone, Sweet Talkin' Woman, Telephone Line, The Diary Of Horace Wimp and of course Mr. Blue Sky are all delivered with perfection, bringing the audience to their feet time and time again.
Added to this are the earlier Orchestral hits (with stunning strings by Liz Stacey, Francesca McDonald and Rachel Hoffman) for which ELO (originally conceived as a side project for The Move’s Roy Wood and Jeff Lynne to work out their ideas of marrying rhythmic rock n’ roll to classical music) pioneered the mix-mash of classical and choral pieces with prog rock and 70’s glam. Roll Over Beethoven, Xanadu, Showdown and Rockaria act as musical interludes to break up the high octane rock.
It is hard to think of any band or group over the past 50 years who have not been influenced by ELO in one way or another and The ELO Experience gives you the best opportunity to enjoy them all again. The massive standing ovation at the end, the smiling faces and no doubt the multitude of people digging out their old ELO LPs are the best advert for this brilliant evening of live music.
In a time when the real world is a scary, uncertain and for some, quite depressing place, this was 2 hours of pure escapism and you know what, the morning after, the sky actually looks just a little more Blue. The ELO Experience returns to the North East on 18th November at Billingham Forum. Tickets available from - https://forumtheatrebillingham.co.uk/show/the-elo-experience/