Grand Opera House, YORK

Grand Opera House, YORK
Review by Ray Taylor

Fri 22nd Feb 2013

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Tribute band The ELO Experience have the audience rocking in the aisles in a brilliant show celebrating the music of Jeff Lynne and the Electric Light Orchestra. This talented seven piece band does full and worthy homage to their musical heroes and so effective are the results that, for those of an age, the memories come flooding back, whilst younger members of the audience have become a whole new fan base. Judging by the rapport between audience and band they have already built up quite a loyal and vociferous following.

The ELO Experience formed in 2006 with a determination to reproduce the music of Jeff Lynne and the Electric Light Orchestra as accurately as possible in a live show. On the evidence of this show they have admirably succeeded. As with many new bands the early years were a struggle with new members coming and going but since 2010 the situation has settled with the band’s audiences and reputation steadily increasing.

All seven members of the band have a vast musical background and experience that they bring to the table. They all deserve individual mention: Pete Smith on bass guitar and vocals; Jan Christiansen on lead guitar and vocals; Tony Lawson on drums/percussion; Steve Hemsley on keyboards and vocals; Viv Blackledge and Livvy Newton on cellos; and frontman Andy Louis on guitar and lead vocal.

The show is neatly put together with a 26-song set, 13 in each half and gave full value at over two hours performance time. All the expected favourites are there: All over the World; Evil Woman; Telephone Line; Strange Magic; Livin’ Thing; Can’t Get it out of my Head; Hold on Tight; Roll Over Beethoven; Xanadu; and of course the rousing finale of Mr Blue Sky. The arrangements and overall sound that is produced is first class and really capture the era. No fan of the original music can fail to be impressed. Stage lighting is also very effective with imaginative use of a back screen illustrating each song with film extracts, cartoons and other material complementing the lyrics.

This show is a fantastic evening’s entertainment that is guaranteed to send you away tapping their toes and singing all those wonderful tunes.

Ray Taylor