Jeff Lynne’s ELO

SSE Hydro, Glasgow

Lorraine Wilson

five stars

THE HYDRO played a game of Russian dolls on Wednesday, as Jeff Lynne’s ELO spaceship hung high above the stage, albeit virtually, one architectural UFO housing another. It was the perfect venue.

Jeff Lynne has been a career perfectionist in his studio work, but with the recent decision to take a show back out on the road, the Hydro provides everything required to house this spectacle. Fresh from Wembley Stadium last weekend, the simplicity of his stage gear is at odds with the riot of colour around him. He’s the calm at the eye of a technicolour storm – musically and visually.

The musical set was pretty much ELO’s Greatest Hits and as such the energy never had a chance to dip (consult the hits album track listing – they were all there) with Mr Blue Sky ramping up the rapture as the set closer.

Rather like Brian Wilson, Lynne can cherry-pick from the session musician world, with members like Iain Hornal, who has own rather fine album out at the moment, on vocals and guitar. Keyboard player Richard Tandy, the only other long-standing member of the group, is unwell at the moment, but Lynne reassured us from the stage that he’ll be back for the next tour.

In his 70th year, Lynne himself looks trim, fit, and with excellent mane and facial hair maintenance framing his trademark dark glasses, there’s remarkably little physical difference from the hitmaker of yore. He is also in better voice than most of his contemporaries, so perhaps the infrequent touring paying off.

ELO records are massive, life-affirming slices of joy and Lynne’s successful recreation of his studio recordings on stage is something special to behold. No-one left the Hydro without a massive grin.