Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Jeff Lynne - Live In Hyde Park DVD Concert Review

Two word review:   

Fucking Incredible!!!

Sorry, but no matter how many times I've tried to rephrase it, I just HAVE to go with that ...

Because I must have said it out loud at least 24 times during the viewing of this brand new release (available this Friday, September 11th, on DVD and BluRay disc through Eagle Rock Entertainment.)

It had been about 28 years since Jeff Lynne last performed before a live audience ... and over 50,000 fans showed up in London's Hyde Park last year on September 14th to mark his triumphant return to the stage.

Despite the long hiatus, I am pleased to report that Lynne is in absolutely top form for this show.  (A couple of years ago, he went into the studio to re-record a number of ELO's hits that he thought he could do better today than when he first waxed them back in the '70's and early '80's ... usually a scary move in an artist's career ... but Jeff proves in this concert setting that he can still do it all ... his music sounds as good as you've ever heard it ... all the more impressive and amazing considering his long lay-off from the performing stage.)

We've seen a lot of concerts in our day, both live and on disc ... and this one absolutely HAS to rank amongst the greatest of all time.  (Included in this batch would have to be the absolute perfect reproduction of their studio sound presented live on stage by The Eagles ... three INCREDIBLE performances put on by The Alan Parsons Live Project the past two years at The Arcada Theatre right here in St. Charles ... Elvis live at The Chicago Stadium in 1972, where you could feel the pure electricity shoot through the audience the moment he took the stage ... the first Wings Over America show, also held at The Chicago Stadium, in 1976 ... the love and respect The Wondermints have shown the music of Brian Wilson ... and one-of-a-kind filmed events like Woodstock, The Concert For Bangla Desh. The Bee Gees "One Night Only" at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, The Beach Boys' 50th Anniversary Concert and any one of the Simon and Garfunkel's reunion concerts ... goosebump inducing moments throughout as some of the greatest artists in rock and roll history have proven why they have earned the right to be ranked among the highest echelon of the elite.)

Eagle Rock has done an EXCEPTIONAL job of capturing this one time event held last September in London's Hyde Park as part of their "Festival In A Day" ... beautifully filmed, showing off the illuminated stage with all its rotating psychedelic back-drops in all its colorful glory, awesome close-ups of Lynne and the band as they work their way through a collection of fifteen ELO (and one Traveling Wilburys) classics ... and crystal clear sound throughout of pure start-to-finish pop perfection.  (OK, there are a couple of sour notes during the break on "Turn To Stone" ... but we'll forgive those in a heartbeat due to the absolute perfection in which everything else was rendered on that incredible evening, September 14th, 2014.) Fucking incredible!   

Lynne's long-time ELO partner in crime, keyboardist Richard Tandy (42 years and counting) was on hand, clearly having the time of his life up there on stage, performing these songs again, along with The BBC Concert Orchestra, who were nothing short of amazing to watch.  (You just know these folks had the music charts plopped in front of them and, as highly skilled classical musicians, were able to play the notes on the page exactly as written ... but they, too, had to realize that they were taking part in a history-making moment when they heard the building sounds around them, complimenting each and every nuance as they effortlessly switched from bowing to plucking to sweeping in perfect unison, accentuating all of the fine little details that make the music of Jeff Lynne and The Electric Light Orchestra so powerful, overwhelming and unique.)  A more perfect mix of rock and classical music may have never taken place. 

This entire  ensemble was augmented by solo violinist Chereene Allen, who featured some AMAZING solo passages (and for whom Frannie now admits to possessing a powerful "girl crush" ... she described the concert as "goosebumps on top of goosebumps") ... and it was truly a moving and exciting, emotional experience from start to finish.  (We've already watched it three times!!!)

The hit list?  Nearly all of the biggies are here ... "All Over The World" (from Xanadu), "Evil Woman", "Ma-Ma-Ma Belle", "Showdown", "Livin' Thing", "Strange Magic", "10538 Overture" (ELO's first UK Hit), "Can't Get It Out Of My Head", "Sweet Talkin' Woman" (perfection), "Turn To Stone", "Steppin' Out", "Handle With Care" (The Traveling Wilburys hit, of which Lynne was a member), "Don't Bring Me Down", "Rock And Roll Is King", "Telephone Line" and "Mr. Blue Sky", the ultimate show-stopping closer.  If forced to list some surprising omissions, they'd have to be "Do Ya" (a hit twice, first for The Move and then for ELO) and "Roll Over Beethoven" (the song that launched the band here in America and defined their unique blend of rock and classical music ... how on EARTH have these guys been overlooked by The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame?!?!?) ... and, for selfish reasons, a couple of personal favorites, "Calling America" and "Four Little Diamonds".

And, as if capturing this incredible concert and making it available to the public wasn't enough, the disc also includes an interview with Jeff Lynne about his music (and what it was like taking to the stage again after all this time) as well as the top-notch BBC Documentary "Mr. Blue Sky: The Story Of Jeff Lynne and ELO", which I have been searching for ever since I first saw it broadcast on Palladium over a year ago ... ALL packaged together on one remarkable disc ... fucking incredible!

Again, the BlueRay / DVD disc officially hits the streets THIS FRIDAY, September 11th ... you'd do well to preorder it NOW ... and start preparing yourselves immediately to be blown away by this remarkable concert.

There was talk of Jeff taking his show on the road, including a tour of America ... but, as of yet, I can't find any show dates listed.  (This would have to be a VERY expensive concert to take on the road ... so much so that it may never actually happen ... so do yourself a favor and grab this DVD / BluRay Disc NOW so you can enjoy the concert experience at London's Hyde Park from last year.)

I promise you, you won't be disappointed.

Fucking Incredible! 

Kent Kotal
Forgotten Hits