LAST night, Jeff Lynne’s Electric Light Orchestra flew into a sold-out Manchester Arena with their first tour in decades. Quays News entertainment reporter Georgia McManus went along…
Back in 2014, BBC invited the band to perform at Radio 2’s ‘Live in Hyde Park’ show. This was a turning point in the band’s career, credits Lynne himself. It changed people’s perceptions, those who had forgotten about the Electric Light Orchestra now desired to see them again live.
The reinstated buzz and excitement ignited inspiration for their latest music offering, ‘Alone in the Universe’ reached platinum. Impressive for a band who have been away for nearly 15 years.
Not just a singer, the big-haired Brummie, Lynne, has seemed to be shying away from taking centre stage for decades. Instead he has been working hard producing records for ex-Beatles and people like Tom Petty.
But first, to warm everybody up was five-piece Indie-Alternative band, The Feeling. The Brit nominees burst onto the stage playing the lead single from their second album, ‘I Thought It Was Over’.
The familiar piano introduction for pop number ‘Fill My Little World’ gains the interest of the crowd. By now the band were feeling more comfortable, owning their guitar solos and taking on the stage as if they were the headline act.
Manchester Arena for ELO, just seen The Feeling who were a great show starter
— Rigger (@riggs17) April 10, 2016
It comes across that they are genuinely appreciative of the opportunity to support one of their musical heroes tonight as lead singer, Dan Sells, continuously thanks the audience for coming along to watch them.
More top hits such as ‘Never Be Lonely’ are played and by this point the crowd are fully engaged and clapping along, arms around each other swaying to the soft, pop lyrics. Those who weren’t yet won over are undeniably impressed by the harmless anecdotes between songs, and impressive, hard-hitting high notes.
Between playing songs from the new album such as ‘Wicked Heart’, a raw, emotional power ballad, the crowd are encouraged to join in with the singing, before they ended the set on ‘I Love It When You Call’, a bouncy pop song that received a great reception from the crowd.
An excellent choice in a warm-up act as the band left to a roaring applause, with the crowd chanting ‘E L O’ in excitement.
The atmosphere builds in the 21,000 capacity arena. New friends and old attempt at starting Mexican waves. Now that the lights have gone down, to enhance the experience the huge screens take us on a journey via the ‘ELO jet’ through a starry galaxy, leading you to forget you’re sitting in an Arena. The sound of the orchestra built up, until on stage there was just one light left, and that is our man of the moment, Mr. Jeff Lynne.
— Derek Webster (@DerekWebster) April 11, 2016
The curtain dropped, and we all knew we’d be in for a treat and they didn’t hang about, throwing us in with huge orchestral number, ‘Tightrope’, clearly a fan favourite.
Not one for words, Jeff puts his thumbs up showing the crowd his appreciation, and his Birmingham accent extends his happiness saying it’s good to be back in Manchester after 30 years. The night builds and various members of the audience make the bold move to stand up, encouraging others to join them and slowly everybody follows, whilst joining in, clapping to the beat.
‘All Over The World‘ an obvious hit with the crowd won everybody over, before playing the first single off the new album ‘When I Was A Boy‘, an engaging yet emotional song.
‘Rockaria’ gets everybody dancing and singing along, with other songs such as ‘Steppin Out’ before taking the time to introduce members of the band. Next up they slammed into ‘Wild West Hero‘, adding to the epic status of the show with another huge hit ‘Don’t Bring Me Down‘.
It was not too long until Richard Tandy, Lynne’s famous right hand, piano playing man played the infamous first chords of ‘Mr. Blue Sky’ possibly their most famous song, a great closer. The show had clearly been worth the wait, as everybody is singing their hearts out with a huge smile on their face.
— Jeff Lynne's ELO (@JeffLynnesELO) April 10, 2016
However the night was not over yet, the band treated us to ‘Roll Over Beethoven‘ a massive musical number, finishing with the band taking a ‘selfie’ with the crowd. As they did their final bow the place erupted with cheers, everybody on their feet to celebrate a glorious, fun evening.
If you were unlucky enough to miss this show the band are returning to the north to play Manchester Arena again in June this year, or, if you’re lucky enough to have tickets to this years Glastonbury Festival then don’t miss out on the legendary Sunday afternoon slot they will be playing.
Jeff Lynne was fantastic in Manchester tonight – 30 years since he was last on tour there. pic.twitter.com/ki99nL66hS
— Jamie Sefton (@Seffers007) April 10, 2016
By Georgia McManus