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Electric Light Orchestra - Live: The Early Years CD (album) cover

LIVE: THE EARLY YEARS

Electric Light Orchestra

 

Crossover Prog

3.23 | 7 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars A compilation of three different concert footage from the early years of ELO that should normally interest progheads, because most of their more adventurous works took place in those years (namely the first four albums), but alas their concert set list doesn't really reflect (or only partially) their studio output. ELO always a rock'n roll side to them and on stage it became dominant, at the expense of what a prog fan would wish in terms of the lengthier epics, even if some are present in a modified (dare I say simplified?) form during the sets. BTW, you can see that their round logo was very early in service on Bevan's bass drum.

Indeed the three shows dating from 73, 74 & 76 are of varying picture and sound quality, they tend to feature roughly the same concert-core-material that tends to shy away from their more epic and progressive songs. The first Brunei Univ show's footage is understandably not that professional and relatively short (not even a full first set), but it gives a good idea of how unpolished ELO was back then and the opening King Of The Universe is rather interesting as is Mountain King. While the Rockpalast show (relatively short, too) of the next year (featuring the same line-up) is much better filmed and recorded (as expected from this excellent institution), it was probably very poorly attended, because the crowd is almost absent in between numbers. I'd like to think that it didn't affect too much the band in their performance, but they only take off from Mountain King onwards and finishing in an energetic RnR medley- type finale. Note that The Beatles' Day Tripper cover is not very good, with its (useless) classical intro and its no-less useful classical middle section.

The 76 TV broadcast show is a bit longer and features a different line-up with Edwards and Albuquerque gone. Aside from the ultra-known Showdown, Strange Magic and Evil Woman (all three announcing the Out Of The Blue era), it features the Eldorado & 10538 Overtures and the again the RnR finale starting with their "bad" Ma-Ma-Ma Belle hit and dipping into the 50's covers. As you can see, there isn't much for a proghead if he's looking for that "prog" characteristic, but you will get to see what the band was about on stage. I'd probably tell you not to go for it, unless you're a dedicated ELO fan.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |

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