Jeff Lynne’s ELO Made Me Feel Young Again [Video]
Someone once said that pop music is a sophisticated clock, as it can transport you through time. After last night's ELO show at Van Andel, I might agree.
Back in the '70s, our music sharing platform was the local record store. There we would meet fellow music fans and and suggest artists that we had discovered to each other.
When I was 17, a music loving friend handed me a cassette copy of ELO's 'Ole ELO' which was a compilation of their British hits prior to their huge release, 'A New World Record'. That album, combined with their 1975 studio release, 'Face The Music' had cemented me as a fan almost before their impending superstardom.
Although their hugeness almost sunk them (the band battled through numerous lineup changes), ELO could pump out the hits. The lushness of Jeff Lynne's post-Beatle quality production made their songs radio ready in the FM heyday.
Lynne has assembled a cast of 12 young musicians to back him up on this tour (none of them was even born when ELO has formed, I imagine). The result was a rip roaring tour through the band's career in fast paced hour and a half show at Van Andel Arena Tuesday night.
The review of Lynne's band covered everything from their first single, a cover of Chuck Berry's 'Roll Over Beethoven' (in a solo laden encore) to the single that caused Lynne to controversially jettison his string section, 'Don't Bring Me Me Down' (a huge sing along favorite).
And that last point was underscored Tuesday when the string section played a big role in a big sound coming through the amplifiers. Why would he do such a thing? It damn near killed the band.
But nostalgia is a powerful force, and the band's hits have made several pop culture returns like 'Mr. Blue Sky' in the movie Guardians of the Galaxy, and 'Strange Magic' on the TV show 'The Mindy Project'.
Lynne, who at 71 still looks pretty good, is a pretty stoic presence on stage, rarely wondering past his center stage microphone. But the band's energy allowed them to rip through classics like 'Showdown', 'Livin' Thing', 'Do Ya' and even the disco flavored 'Shine A Little Light' at a rapid pace.
The sound was impeccable, and the light show added a '70s flair like the bottom of some of the retro jeans the fans were wearing.
There was also a nod to the Traveling Wilburys off shoot that Lynne formed with George Harrison, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan and Roy Orbison in the late '80s, when George's son Dhani jumped up on stage to join Jeff for 'Handle With Care', their 1989 smash.
Dhani opened the show with a nine song set that showed although he shares his Dad's voice, he has his own song writing chops.
No matter what era of ELO you preferred, the show probably met your expectations and then some. For a moment, during 'I Can't Get It Outta My Head', I was 15 again, and that was worth the price of admission.