ELO Experience

ELO Experience

My wife Julie, my son Ben (17) and I drove over to Croydon this evening for a much-awaited performance in the Ashcroft Theatre by the renowned ELO Experience.

The band is the leading tribute to the marvellous songs and recordings of Jeff Lynne with his premier outfit from the 1970s and 1980s.

The Halls were certainly an appropriate venue, as the very first ELO gig took place took place down the road at the Greyhound Pub in Croydon on 16 April 1972.

Andy Louis, lead singer and rhythm guitarist, fronts the band and delivers a first-class impression of the main man – especially with his superb vocals – whilst ensuring the evening drives along at an ideal tempo. His introductions add a welcome, lighthearted touch too.

Every member of the seven piece band – just the one cello tonight – are impressive, however of particular note are keyboard and special effects guru Chris Marsh, and drummer Tony Lawson who offers a full-on, energetic Bev Bevan impersonation.

Crucial to the ELO recordings are the multi-layered vocals, and together bassist Pete Smith and lead guitarist Jan Christiansen complete a first-rate job of covering this key part of the sound.

ELO were originally founded to develop the string-orientated style of the latter-day Beatles, which makes cellist Rachel Hoffman and violinist Liz Stacey classy contributions vital in presenting a true reflection of their inspiration throughout the two sets.

The concert is extremely-well paced, with the mix of rock numbers and acoustic-based ballads blending highly-effectively. Familiar musical flourishes arrived and echoed around the venue, with highlights including an amusing video accompaniment to Horace Wimp, a rigorous Showdown, and a stand-out take of Wild West Hero in which the front of stage singers excelled.

The second set featured an electric guitar focused section, kicked off by ‘Do Ya’ from the New World Record album in 1976 and ELO’s original radio success, the 10538 Overture. The main guitar part of the latter still strikes home and was influential enough to be picked up by the local Modfather Paul Weller for his classic Changing Man in the mid 1990s.

The performance gathers speed in time-honoured fashion towards the close, with Don’t Bring Me Down providing the climatic false ending. However, there is no way that such a concert would be put to bed without ELO’s best-known song and the hook-laden Mr Blue Sky provides both the audience-pleasing sole encore and a roof-raising send off.

There is no doubt, that if you are a fan of ELO and wish to enjoy Lynne’s excellent material in the live arena once again, then check out the Experience giglist and book some tickets!

Setlist:

All Over the World, Evil Woman, Telephone Line, The Diary of Horace Wimp
Can’t Get It Out of My Head, Showdown, Wild West Hero, Shine a Little Love
Xanadu, Confusion, Livin’ Thing. (Interval)

Twilight, Sweet Talkin’ Woman, Do Ya, 10538 Overture, Turn to Stone
Last Train to London, Rock ‘n’ Roll Is King, Rockaria! Hold on Tight
Roll Over Beethoven, Don’t Bring Me Down. Encore: Mr Blue Sky

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