Review: ELO Experience bring the sound and spirit of the originals to Oxford

Steve Miller reviews ELO Experience at the New Theatre, Oxford

By Peter Ormerod
Monday, 7th February 2022, 2:24 pm
Updated Monday, 7th February 2022, 2:26 pm
'A superb production featuring top-class musicians': The ELO Experience
'A superb production featuring top-class musicians': The ELO Experience

It's quite a task to replicate the big sound of the Electric Light Orchestra.

Paying homage to Jeff Lynne and co in Oxford were the ELO Experience. And with a polished production and a plethora of talent, they came, they played, and they conquered.

The glorious New Theatre provided the perfect environment and acoustics for the seven-piece outfit to recreate the complex yet tuneful brilliance of Lynne's substantial back catalogue.

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A lively start with All Over the World followed by Evil Woman set the high standard from the off.

The haunting and beautiful Telephone Line was masterfully performed as was the Sgt Pepper-esque Diary of Horace Wimp, complete with multimedia storytelling back projection.

A lockdown Zoom project of the lesser known So Fine was well received, as was immaculately crafted magnum opus, Wild West Hero, especially the glorious a capella section.

The disco-infused Shine a Little Love and Xanadu prompted audience participation with the band's harmony and handclaps, the first set finishing with the excellent Confusion and Living Thing, which took us to the interval.

A storming start to the second set with the sublime and powerful Twilight became a real contender for the set's high point.

An audience of disciples were warmed up, as were the band, launching into earlier material 10538 Overture and Roll Over Beethoven, featuring a dazzling violin performance that original Mik Kaminski would have surely applauded.

A nice touch with Last train to ‘Oxford’ continued the good-hearted feel, with favourites Turn to Stone and Rockaria having the desired effect of aisle-dancing on the fervent congregation.

Don't Bring Me Down closed the second set, leaving an electric atmosphere, and a crowd that bellowed for more.

The reward came by way of the majestic Mr Blue Sky , performed not only with with veracity, but with love and respect. There was not a dry eye or inert hand in the house.

It was a superb production featuring top-class musicians who clearly cherish performing, and led by the charismatic front man and complete doppelgänger of the main man, who had the vocal range and personality to carry off this worthy and supremely professional act .

Not so much Out of the Blue, as Out of this World.

* The show took place on February 3. Visit elotribute.com for future tour dates.