Grand Opera House York – Wednesday 31 July 2019
Reviewed by Michelle Richardson
The Elo Experience have been recreating and celebrating the music of Jeff Lynne and the Electric Light Orchestra for the past 13 years. With a sensational string section, a laser light show and a large screen projection, The ELO Experience accurately reproduce the songs and sound of ELO, taking you back to where it all began in the 1970’s.
It was great to see so many bums on seats at the theatre, I was expecting the majority to be over a certain age, but I was pleasantly surprised to see quite a wide range of ages, from early teen, to just a wee bit older. You could feel the anticipation in the air before the 8 piece group appeared on stage. What followed was a packed set full of ELO songs.
ELO were just a little bit before my time, but I do remember a few songs, and a few others were just niggling in the back of my mind, others I had completely no idea. This honestly did not matter at all as they were all just really good musicians and they put on a great show.
Some of the songs are accompanied by short films on the big screen that made up the backdrop. One to note here is a Lego animation, which accompanied The Diary of Horace Wimp. Whilst I really enjoyed this short piece, the lady who I sat next to commented about how she disliked the film, just goes to prove how we all have different tastes. After the interval the blue glow sticks came out and the light show began, adding to the whole atmosphere.
The band are made up of Andy Louis, the lookalike and soundalike Jeff Lynne, Steve Hemsley on keyboards and special effects vocals, Pete Smith on bass guitar and vocals, Jan Christiansen on lead guitar and vocals and Tony Lawson on drums. They do truly deliver a fabulous homeage to the ELO legacy, and are marvellous musicians. The icing on the cake though, are the string section. All three were absolutely fantastic and certainly make the show what it is. Francesca McDonald and Rachel Hoffman, on their cellos, certainly rocked it. Liz Stacey on her blue violin was just memorizing, a true joy to listen to and watch, wow just wow! All 8 musicians looked like they were having a complete blast, and appeared to be a tight knit group.
With the finale song of Mr Blue Sky, a song I do remember and could sing along to with no problem, probably to the detriment of the poor bods sitting next to me, it was a fitting end to an enjoyable show. A nostalgic evening of great entertainment, that truly captures the era and gets the whole audience rocking in their seats. the most important and influential bands ever.