It's been a long-awaited return for Jeff Lynne's Electric Light Orchestra. With the announcement of a brand new album full of original material (the first in nearly 15 years) Alone in the Universe, it was only a matter of time before the band would take to the stage. After having performed at BBC's Hyde Park last year, a year later a quick announcement of an intimate one-off London show just three hours before tickets were released, Elo made the statement that they were back.
Porchester Hall isn't as well-known as a music venue in London like the Roundhouse, the Koko or the 02 Academies are, and that's because it's a venue where you're more likely to attend for a dinner-dance. But it was magnificent. With a capacity of only around 400 people, the towering ceiling, the red curtains and the chandeliers made it the perfect venue for ELO's intimate show.
The excitement was building ecstatically during the build up to the gig. With no openers (because was no-one needed to hype the crowd up), as soon as the small strings section walked onto the stage cheers and shouts erupted around the small crowd. In comparison, it was almost like a crowd of middle-aged men and women suddenly acting like pre-pubescent teenagers at a One Direction concert (without the crying and the fainting). As soon as Jeff Lynne appeared it was easy to see who everybody was waiting for and shouts of 'I love you Jeff' echoed around the hall.
Opening the set with All Over The World every single person in the room was singing along. It is clear to see at an intimate show who a band's true fans are, and whether a band are truly passionate about their music. Rolling from one song to another, with a little comedy pieces from Jeff Lynne, they made the most out of a set that seemed relatively short in time. But with a set-list of 18 songs, they didn't spend half of the set talking to the crowd - something many bands do which ultimately shortens and ruins their sets.
The whole set was absolutely flawless. With all the harmonies completely on point, the small strings section sounding like a full-blown orchestra and everyone being in perfect time, there was not one thing that could have been criticised.
Pulling out all the stops is exactly what ELO did. Diving into the vaults with songs like Showdown, Evil Woman and Telephone Line as well as debuting some brand new music of Alone in the Universe such as When The Night Comes and When I was A Boy. Musicianship to that level is hard to find in artists now-a-days. The band who played their debut gig in Croydon back in 1972 proved to their die-hard fans, some of whom have waited their whole lives to get a chance to see them live, just how incredible they really are.
The music sounded like it was straight from the album. Even in songs such as Mr Blue Sky they used electronic voice manipulation effects which nobody was expecting, provided by the one and only Richard Tandy. This received a huge abundance of cheers from the crowd.
Closing with the encore Roll Over Beethoven (an elaborate twist on the Chuck Berry classic) every single person in the room was singing and dancing along. The sound provided by the venue was delivered exceptionally. No one instrument was too loud, there were no technical faults. Many bands and venues would learn a lot from this gig, as it proves that Jeff Lynne's ELO are masters of the art.
With a stadium tour having been announced, it will be difficult for ELO to top this intimate show, however it can only get bigger and better. It'll be interesting to see how much more they can put into delivering such an exceptional show, with such incredible musicians. Music is Jeff Lynne's passion, and it is clear that he was born to perform.
All Over The World
Turn To Stone
When I Was A Boy
Don't Bring Me Down
Sweet Talkin' Woman
Can't Get It Out Of My Head
When The Night Comes
Ain't It A Drag
Rock Is King
Mr Blue Sky
Roll Over Beethoven
Photo credit: Rob Shanahan
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