Jeff Lynne’s Electric Light Orchestra at 3Arena, Dublin, 7th May 2016

Given how 2016 has treated music legends thus far, the news that Jeff Lynne was ‘under doctor’s orders’ to reschedule ELO’s touchdown in Dublin was worrying, to say the least. Thankfully, Lemsip proved a worthy cure and so a week later, he’s ready to bring the intergalactic party powerhouse that is his Electric Light Orchestra to 3Arena. Never has the phrase ‘worth the wait’ been more applicable.

It transpires that the original support band can’t make the new date. Being called upon seemingly last minute to support ELO must provoke both wild excitement and abject terror – but Dubliners The Shoos do an admirable job. It’s a big step up for a band who between songs pause to promote their forthcoming show at Workman’s, but the mix of American-roadtrip rhythms and gritty vocals fill the space effectively – before the stage darkens, in preparation for the mad ‘70s disco that is to come.

In a distinction between ‘set’ and ‘show’, tonight is about more than the music. A huge lighting rig surrounds a screen which beams out kaleidoscopic, warp-speed graphics, zipping us through to a galaxy far, far away where disco is oxygen and dancing is king. Spaceship commander Lynne beams down in a bright white spotlight to open with the foreboding strings of Tightrope, surrounded by a twelve-piece band including two cellists, an opera singer and a man eyeing up the vocoder in hot anticipation.

It all makes for an incredibly rich sound and as the band move seamlessly through Evil Woman, Showdown and All Over The World the only sensible course of action is to sit there open-mouthed, doused in Lynne’s creative brilliance. Each band member is of prodigious talent, meaning that every song is studded with tiny musical diamonds – from the Hungarian-folk violin of Livin’ Thing, to the jazz piano solo on Don’t Bring Me Down, and the clear-cut operatic vocals of Rockaria. More than that, they all seem delighted to be there. It must be a glorious thing to provide the guitar solo on Mr Blue Sky – even more glorious to be the vocoder man – and as the Bee Gees-esque Shine a Little Love fades out and the band introduce themselves, they pause to thank Lynne for “letting us be part of this wonderful Electric Light Orchestra”.

By this point, the audience are on their feet, a standing ovation human dance machine which grooves on through the tight harmony and aching nostalgia of Wild West Hero, and backbeat driven ballad Telephone Line. During the latter, the stage lights up like an overexcited slot machine before forming ELO’s signature spaceship motif and whisking us through a virtual asteroid belt, the band seguing into Turn to Stone – a clear highlight in a set full of them. As lights and audience wave and dance in unison and the band close out with Mr Blue Sky and Roll Over Beethoven, Lynne stands surveying it all, this otherworldly magic that the music has created. For tonight, ELO is pure joy distilled into notes, and rhythms, and lights – “we’re so pleased to be with you/ look around, see what you do/ everybody smiles at you”. Never have a band’s lyrics summed up their own gig so well.

7 responses to “Jeff Lynne’s Electric Light Orchestra at 3Arena”

  1. Lorraine says:

    Saw Jeff Lynne ELO in 3 Arena on Saturday night and they were Amazing, have been to numerous concerts but can honestly say this was by far the best, fantastic night

  2. Lorraine says:

    Saw Jeff Lynne ELO in 3 Arena on Saturday night and they were Amazing, have been to numerous concerts but can honestly say this was by far the best, fantastic night

  3. Padraic Clancy says:

    Jeff Lynne and ELO was class, crowd sang and danced to every song great night, Jeff looked humbled by crowds reaction cant beat real musicians

  4. Cath Quealey says:

    I was at the Jeff Lynne+ELO concert Sat night. I have been to many many concerts in my day but nothing came near the perfection of this gig.
    From the moment Jeff came on stage we were first knocked out by the light show. Then, the music started… The sound was brilliant,the lights from a different world,but oh when he sang,heaven! I have never heard such a tight a group as this. It was bam ! bam !bam ! of the hits.
    I sang and danced my heart out. I was a teenager once more that night.
    I’m praying he comes back again. I’d walk from Cork to see him. Thank you Jeff. I could not be happier! Cath.

  5. Terry says:

    Shame he’s not coming to Swansea, but there you go.

  6. Sally Mcandrew says:

    why would anyone want to go to Swansea?

  7. john regan says:

    i have been an elo fan since childhood, so when the tour was announced i was straight onto the www to try and secure tickets, but as each new venue was announced, it was selling out before i could secure tickets. eventually i got into the queue for tickets to see them at dublin, (i live in england but wasnt going to let a little thing like the irish sea stop me) so we secured tickets and when i got to the security sign in captcha and the words i needed to type in to prove im not a robot were ‘blue sky’ i figured it was a sign. so, tickets secured, for me, the mrs, my mate, his mrs, and 2 of my brothers. we booked a ferry, and accomodation and on the due day rolled into dublin.
    prior to the concert we went for a quick pint, and were greeted with ‘are you here for elo?’ as we enterd the bar, full of joy we said ‘yep’ only for her to say ‘its cancelled…………….’ ……………bugger!
    several gallons of guinness later we were home. the gig was rescheduled but none of my companions could make it back over. however, th draw was too much for me to let the matter of a 3 hour drive and a ferry trip stop me, so i hatched a plan to get up early saturday, drive to holyhead, park up, take my bicycle to the ferry terminal and carry it on the ferry as hand luggage (yes, you can do that!) the ferry deposited me in dublin at about 9am, i cycld into town, had breakfast, took a look at the city and then locked the cycle up and went to the pub, (just in case) i got to the gig in good time, and as expected they were sensational. a lifetime dream fulfilled. afterwards i sank a couple more pints and then at 1am cycled up to the ferry terminal and waited for my 2am ship to come in! 5 hours on board and a fabulous breakfast and i was back in wales, and at 12 o clock on sunday, having been awake for nearly 36 hours i stumbled through my front door and straight up to bed. dream fulfilled and happy!
    as luck would have it, i got the chance to go to glastonbury and so saw them again. 30 odd years waiting and theen i see theem twice in 3 months. happy happy days! and worth every bit of the hassle.

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