Friday, 16 July 2010

Caught Live: The ELO Experience @ Shrewsbury 15/07/10

#112: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Judging by the packed if not enthusiastic audience and the special atmosphere on the night of Thursday 15th July at The Theatre Severn in Shrewsbury; there can be no doubt that The ELO Experience [born in Hull circa 2006] have matured and truly earned their place as the premier tribute act to the musical genius of Jeff Lynne and the Electric Light Orchestra [ELO]. Personal recommendations from the like of Kelly Groucutt and Mik Kaminski support that claim.

Yours Truly KJS ventured over to Shrewsbury on last night to catch the band in concert and met up with some old and not-so-old "friends electric". My first surprise was that there two new members on the stage who I'd not seen at previous gigs by The ELO Experience over at The Robin 2. Yes! We had two lady cellists adding to the atmosphere and sonic symphony of this act.

We heard all the ELO classics as one would expect; all reproduced with verve and professionalism. But the second and most touching and exciting surprise was the inclusion of a classic ELO album track in the set list. For the first time ever; I heard the outstanding "Out Of The Blue" song "Big Wheels" live complete with orchestrations et al! It was simply spellbinding and fantastic all at once! The two hour show was capped [of course] with the classic ELO anthem "Mr. Blue Sky".

There was a fair selection of "ELO Experience" merchandise on sale in the theatre lobby before, during and after the concert in a theatre that can only be described as first class in terms of acoustics and aesthetics. A value-for-money, accurate and informative ten [10] page brochure which detailed the history of ELO from The Move through to ELO Part II, The Orchestra [and the story of The ELO Experience too] was a good buy with a ten [10] track CD on sale, as well as other items.

The band were true to their word after the gig in that they were busy talking, meeting, greeting the audience and signing anything they were requested to! This writer resisted the temptation to join the throng and approached lead singer/guitarist Andy Louis for a quick chat at the end of proceedings. He was very obliging and we discussed several topics including potential new songs to try, the twin deaths of their much-missed bassist Pete Allison just a short while after that of our beloved Kelly Groucutt and their desire for a virtuoso violinist too! I have to say that - after attending not a few ELO and related gigs over the last twenty [20] or so years - this band was the most approachable and accommodating bunch of chaps I have met for quite a while. Indeed, Andy collared the rest of the band for an impromptu photograph avec moi on his own volition [see above]. Julie nervously took the picture with my mobile 'phone and what a good 'un it is... but with apologies to their new bass player Pete Johnson ... of whom you can only see approximately 33%!

Please consider going to see The ELO Experience if they happen to be performing in a town or city near you. Professional tribute bands keep the ELO fan base ticking along between tours by The OrchestraELO re-issues and 'new' Jeff Lynne albums. Visit their official web site here:

The ELO Experience are: Pete Johnson [Bass/Vocals], Tony Lawson [Drums/Percussion], Jan Christiansen [Lead Guitar/Vocals], Andy Louis [Lead Vocals/Guitar], Steve Hemsley [Keyboards/Vocals], Viv Blackledge [Cello], Marissa Steer [Cello]

ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] recommends The ELO Experience to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELO, Jeff LynneThe MoveRoy WoodThe Idle RaceThe Beatles'Brum Beat' and all related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 16-July-2010

1 comment:

  1. Hi Keith,

    Thanks for the great review. We will add a link to your blog.
    Thanks for coming and hope to see you again.
    Please also thank your wife for the great pic of Pete. We all had a good laugh.

    Kind Regards
    Steve, Andy, Pete, Tony, Jan, Viv & Missy.