Conventional wisdom says that you attend a gig to see how the band changes or reinterprets songs for the live stage – it’s not exactly easy to recreate a song live in much the same way that it was recorded, which is probably piecemeal in a sterile environment. Ask any band in the world, and a good bit of them are dreading relearning the songs that they built in the studio right before tour.
Which is what made the Jeff Lynne’s ELO appearance at Prudential Center on Tuesday (7/16) so fascinating, amazing and expertly executed – every song performed by the band was note-perfect and to a T, exactly like the recorded versions. At first you may question that logic… “why would I want to hear a band recreate a record almost exactly?” and the answer is because of the nature of ELO – layered, with curveballs, interesting sounds and directional shifts beneath it all. It’s vast and expansive, and seemingly impossible to pull off if you’re familiar with the records.
Yet here they were in Newark, making jaws drop and nailing every nook and cranny. Multipart vocal melodies? Doneso. Swelling orchestral fills? NBD. Robotic vocoder? You got it. All of it…. ALL. OF. IT. was in place for the band’s greatest hits set of songs by Electric Light Orchestra and a single song from Jeff Lynne’s other storied project with Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Tom Petty and Roy Orbison, The Traveling Wilburys ("Handle With Care"). They even had George Harrison’s son Dhani Harrison open the gig and perform with ELO on “Handle With Care.” Shout out to musical director Mike Stevens for the nearly flawless orchestration of the records for the live stage and the additional 11 musicians (plus Lynne) who brought those songs to life again.
Nearly every song from the band’s hit catalog was represented at the show save for “Strange Magic,” including classic anthems like “Livin’ Thing,” “Don’t Bring Me Down,” “Evil Woman” and the set closer “Mr. Blue Sky,” and even included a nod to their recent single “When I Was a Boy,” which belongs in the band’s canon of classics.
Check out the band's full setlist and some videos below...
Jeff Lynne's ELO at Prudential Center - 7/16/19 Setlist (via)
Standin' in the Rain
All Over the World
When I Was a Boy
Handle With Care (Traveling Wilburys song with Dhani Harrison)
Last Train to London
Can't Get It Out of My Head
Shine a Little Love
Wild West Hero
Sweet Talkin' Woman
Don't Bring Me Down
Turn to Stone
Mr. Blue Sky
Roll Over Beethoven