Jeff Lynne's ELO in Manchester live review
Venue: The Arena, Manchester
Jeff Lynne lands the spaceship at Manchester's Arena
Over recent years, there’s been the ever-present aura of ELO being everyone’s guilty secret. It’s tricky to determine exactly why even the mere mention of their name should receive condescending smirks and mocking comments from those who view themselves as somehow above the intelligent pop that Jeff Lynne has created. Perhaps it’s jealousy at their album sales, an inaccurate allegation of Beatles plagiarism, or the fact that Lynne’s mass of curly hair complete with trademark shades has remained, despite the vagaries of fashion. Either way, that crass ‘uncool’ tag has stuck, and it therefore comes as a shock that Jeff Lynne’s ELO have comfortably sold out this 21,000 capacity arena. Everything does, it appears, eventually come full circle.
A feverish roar accompanies the dimming of the house lights, the darkness extending before a solitary spotlight illuminates the identifiable figure of Lynne himself. Rather like the music, he’s matured gracefully and looks the same as the last time he fronted any meaningful, live version of ELO some 30 years ago. Launching into Tightrope, the stage is illuminated to reveal a dozen members of the band – like Lynne all dressed in black – which offsets the dazzling, multicoloured projections on the enormous screen.