Live: The Early Years

Electric Light Orchestra

Before they became the pop princes of the late 1970s, Electric Light Orchestra was a rockin’ ensemble, a progressive unit with a violinist, two cellos players and Jeff Lynne, a burgeoning talent with a yen for sophisticated arrangements soaked in rock and roll stew. To see live footage of the group predating the mega record-setting levitating spaceship marathons of the late 70s is to witness raw talent at its most impervious state. Leave it Eagle Rock to uncover three rare performances from 1973, 1974 and 1976, and bring them together on DVD as Live: The Early Years.

What you see in these three performances is the incredible evolution of a great band that transformed itself into a hit machine. If you’re an ELO fan through A New World Record or Out Of The Blue, this DVD may surprise you. And if you knew about the band before that time, your ship has come in because this is the mother lode. Starting with the gig in the multipurpose room at London’s Brunel University in 1973, ELO go long with an epic “King Of The Universe” before rocking out on “Ma-Ma-Ma Belle,” a song included in all three performances. Amidst all the classical embellishments, Lynne manages to work in a healthy dose of “Great Balls Of Fire” to great astonishment.

The 1974 Rockpalast performance captures ELO at their most progressive. Keyboardust Richard Tandy leads the way with “Daybreaker” before “Showdown” slogs down a more straightforward beat. But “Orange Blossom Special” spins the set off its axis and the band goes into a nose dive. The best of the lot, however, is the Fusion show from 1976. Twelve songs are played from this run behind the Face The Music tour, and it’s hard to imagine ELO becoming something bigger and better. Bassist Kelly Groucutt, who had just joined the group, steps out in front on the vocals, giving Lynne a nice little layer of sound to crawl over the melody. Groucutt also takes the lead vocal on “Poor Boy (The Greenwood)” and “10538 Overture.”

“Poker,” “Nightrider,” “Strange Magic” and “Evil Woman,” all from Face The Music, represent a more song-oriented approach — something that would develop to even more popular standards as time went on. The “Eldorado Overture” followed by “Can’t Get It Out My Head” may be the closest the group ever came to replicating Beatles-like magic, but a slip into the forthcoming “Do Ya” points them into another direction altogether. But as the sun sets, the clock ticks and history pulls us through its own measure of ups and downs, how can you turn away from the Live: The Early Years DVD without recognizing what an incredible band Electric Light Orchestra was. Some things just don’t add up.

~ Shawn Perry

Bookmark and Share

 

Rock News

Google Ads

ELP - Fanfare 1970 - 1997

ELP

David Gilmour - Pompeii


 

Follow Vintage Rock @

Search

VintageRock.com Book!

NEW BOOK COLLECTS
25 INTERVIEWS WITH
VINTAGE ROCK LEGENDS!

book

CELEBRATE 20 YEARS
OF VINTAGEROCK.COM!

CLICK HERE TO ORDER
YOUR COPY TODAY!

Newsletter

Newsletter


Receive HTML?

BCCIV

bcciv

Amazon's Essentials