For three glorious nights, Jeff Lynne’s ELO taught a musical history lesson at the legendary Hollywood Bowl. Each show was capped with a rousing bit of fireworks, and we’re not just talking about Lynne’s setlist.
— Rock Cellar Magazine (@RockCellarMag) September 12, 2016
For decades, the songs of Lynne and ELO have stood the test of time, becoming modern classics revered basically unanimously and, as was evident at the Bowl on Sunday night, appreciated by young and old alike.
As Sunday’s show came on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks in New York City, the show was opened by the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and conductor Thomas Wilkins, who led everyone in a rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner after Wilkins’ impassioned speech about hope and beauty. After that, the orchestra played some more selections for roughly 20 minutes, ending with Elgar’s Pomp & Circumstance March No. 4 in 6.
After a short intermission, Lynne and his ELO crew took the stage with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra for what would be a flawless hour-and-a-half set of entertainment. All the big, inescapable ELO hits were included, as were a few cuts from Lynne’s new album Alone in the Universe.
The music of ELO is known for its variety, its genre-melding and ability to be heard for mere seconds before being able to realize, ‘Yeah, that’s a Jeff Lynne composition.’
Seeing these songs performed live by such an impossibly capable band (and orchestra!) was a rare treat indeed. And just to make things even better, the lights, strobes and laser effects pumping through the crowd and up to the trees and shrubbery atop the nosebleed seats were quite something to behold, too.
As hit after hit reverberated through the Bowl – Don’t Bring Me Down, Telephone Line, Turn to Stone, Evil Woman, Mr. Blue Sky among them – the night just grew more and more powerful. There really is no better way to emphasize just how many hits Lynne has written than seeing them performed, back-to-back, in a concert setting. It was really impressive.
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The usual scene at most Hollywood Bowl shows features folks mostly seated throughout the night, but ELO’s vibe was so strong, its songs so engaging, that a number of patrons stood up in their box seats or benches and danced blissfully — again, at testament to the power of Lynne’s songwriting.
Amazingly, Lynne and ELO had not yet taken the Hollywood Bowl stage at any point in the band’s career, so these three shows were truly something special. Needless to say, Lynne, the orchestra and his band delivered on all fronts.
Here’s hoping this show comes up on the schedule again in the future …
Jeff Lynne’s ELO set list, Hollywood Bowl 9/11/2016:
All Over the World
When I Was a Boy
Can’t Get It Out Of My Head
Shine a Little Love
Wild West Hero
Turn to Stone
Sweet Talkin’ Woman
Don’t Bring Me Down
Mr. Blue Sky
Roll Over Beethoven