on 24 April 2013
The album is really good, it's basically a Zoom Tour album but including none of the new songs, and some of the oldies that hadn't been included on the DVD, which i may add were superb renditions. The two new songs at the end are poles apart. The first, Out of Luck, is a very Elvis Presley/Roy Orbison stylised song showing once again that Lynne has a fantastic range in both his taste and vocal skills, the song is very catchy and will have your toes tapping. Whereas Out of Luck is not what i expect from Lynne, and i can see why it's only just been released. The lyrics are repetitive and the song itself is not catchy in the slightest. But this is personal taste, it's on a par with some of the "Balance of Power" songs, uninspiring. However the rest of the album is fantastic, a must have for ELO fans.
Whether you consider this a 'proper' Electric Light Orchestra release or not is whether you consider Jeff Lynne to be ELO. This album, formed from a live show recorded for American television in 2001, with most tracks previously released on the live "Zoom" DVD, features only Jeff and Richard Tandy from the original group, but is ably backed by a decent bunch of musicians as well as Rosie Vela on backing vocals, to ensure a full, rich sound. It's a good live album, although certainly not spectacular and does lack a bit of excitement, a bit of edge, but the performances are enjoyable and more than competent. "Roll Over Beethoven" sounds as brilliant as ever, with Jeff proving himself to be the fantastic guitarist his fans know he is. It is, however, lovely to hear live versions of "Twilight" and "Confusion" as many ELO fans' have been denied any officially released live material since the "Out Of The Blue" Wembley show from 1978. "Don't Bring Me Down" features a double-time breakdown which I'm still not convinced entirely works, but it's certainly fun and shows that Jeff isn't taking himself too seriously.
My most serious complaint is that they really should have released the entire concert on CD, rather than exerpts. None of the "Zoom" album, which this live show was promoting, made the cut, which is a massive shame - the focus is most definitely on the classic hits, leaving those who really do appreciate all aspects of Jeff's career a little short changed. It's almost like there is an intent to deceive fans in thinking that they're getting a classic ELO release. I'm sure that nobody who loves ELO will dislike the versions on offer here, but there should possibly have been a little more transparency about when it was recorded and that this isn't the Electric Light Orchestra that most people think of when you mention the band (Jeff, Bev, Richard, Kelly, Mik, etc.). As for the bonus tracks, they are a little hit and miss. "Out Of Luck" is a rockabilly throwaway number and slightly disappoints, but "Cold Feet" is a very good atmospheric Lynne composition which could have been a decent album track from any of the last few ELO releases, given a little more attention.
The original concert setlist from which this album was harvested was: "Do Ya", "Evil Woman", "Showdown", "Strange Magic", "Livin' Thing", "Alright", "Lonesome Lullaby", "Telephone Line", "Turn to Stone", "Just for Love", "Easy Money", "Mr. Blue Sky", "Ma-Ma-Ma Belle", "One Summer Dream", "Tightrope", "State of Mind", "Can't Get It Out of My Head", "Moment in Paradise", "10538 Overture", "Ordinary Dream", "Shine a Little Love", "Don't Bring Me Down" and "Roll Over Beethoven". What a shame they didn't release this whole performance over two CDs. The biggest shame, of course, is that the planned extensive tour in support of this album was cancelled and all the world really got was this. Still, Jeff is well and truly back on the musical radar now and you never know what the future will bring. In the meantime, this is a perfectly enjoyable live album and will probably please any ELO fan who buys it immensely, despite the omissions and flaws.