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Electric Light Orchestra - The Night the Light Went On in Long Beach CD (album) cover

THE NIGHT THE LIGHT WENT ON IN LONG BEACH

Electric Light Orchestra

Crossover Prog


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progaeopteryx
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This live album was released in 1974 but limited to just a few countries. It would be the only live release of the band until 1998, long after ELO had broke up. ELO's lack of live albums was due to Jeff Lynne's disfavor due to the difficulties of capturing the band's intricate studio sound. If you have the original LP featuring the ugly sci-fi parody cover, you'll understand Lynne's dilemma as it has a very muddy sound. Even so, the original LP had a lot of raw energy.

In 1998, a remastered CD with a new cover was released. This featured the same performance as the 1974 LP, but was taken from a cleaner master tap that had been found. The improvement in recording quality is dramatic. The raw energy is still there, but it sounds much clearer.

The disc starts off with the instrumental Daybreaker off of ELO's On the Third Day. It is as energetic as the original, but Tandy's keyboards seem to get drowned out by the strings. An extended version of Showdown is next, again a lot of energy that is missing in the studio version. The three-minute instrumental jam at the end of the song is great with a superb performance by drummer Bev Bevan. Next they perform an amazing cover of the Beatles' Daytripper which features a nice interlude of classical music in the middle. Lynne's guitar work is surprisingly good on this.

The fourth track is 10538 Overture, from their first album. It truly does sound wonderful live, much better than the studio version. The addition of Tandy's Moog synthesizer (which is lacking in the original) gives it a new dimension and it also successfully duplicates the effect of the French horn on the original. Next, Mik Kaminski performs a short solo that segues into Orange Blossom Special, sort of like "hoedown" music. It shows how agile ELO was live. Nicely done.

Next they perform their cover of Grieg's In the Hall of the Mountain King. A truly stunning performance, with Lynne's guitar work being surprisingly powerful (on studio recordings, it is typically average or weak). They segue this into a short cover of Great Balls of Fire. Finally they end it with the shortened version of Roll Over Beethoven, ELO's signature live finale and fan favorite. It's performed very well with lots of energy, but somehow I wish that they had performed the longer version.

With all the sappiness and cheesiness of their later work, it is surprising to see how refreshing, raw, and energetic ELO was as a live band early in their career. This work is a wonderful historical document of one of the best known acts from the 1970's (cheesy or not). One question I've wondered about. Was this all they performed on that night? Just 40 minutes? It seems unlikely to me and it's a shame the entire concert (if my assumption is correct) wasn't included, or at the very least supplemented with more material from another concert. Adding In Old England Town, Kuiama, and the Ocean Breakup suite would've made this so much better. Alas, it's only wishful thinking, but nevertheless what we have here is a good release, but non-essential. I would give both the original LP and the remastered CD three stars (really, 3.00, 3.33 respectively). If it had been a 2-LP or 2-CD set containing those aforementioned missing songs, I would have ventured into four-star territory. In any case, an enjoyable listen.

Report this review (#64448)
Posted Thursday, January 12, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars A live album that is nothing short of a revelation for critics of Jeff Lynnes ELO live in the seventies.The energy and enthuisiasm genereted by the band is infectious in front of an apreciative crowd, the extended jams and clasical music seques alone make this an essential disc. Horribly neglected in the past, but this album demonstrates just how original and fresh the band were back in the early days something that was sadly lacking later on when jeff discovered the fairlights and drum machines, now if only jeff could track down those crazy string players and bury the hatchet with Bevan we could all benefit! you simply must own this.
Report this review (#98859)
Posted Wednesday, November 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars At the time of purchase, I remember that I was a bit disappointed with this ELO live effort. Probably due to the absence of any track from "El Dorado" (Lynne probably reluctant to play songs from it without an orchestra...).

It was quite interesting then to listen back to this album in 2006 to allow me to review it. Actually, I was quite positively surprised by the start.

Both "Daybreaker" and "Showdown" (specially this one) are superior to their studio version. "Showdown" was not one of my preferred tracks from "On The Third Day", but here it is a sensational rendition and probably the best on this live album.

Their version of "Daytripper" could have been a highlight. Whoelse than ELO could produce a great Beatles cover ? Well, honestly they are not quite convincing in doing so. "10538 Overture" is as good as their studio version is, which means : great !

We get then a short Kaminski violin solo which turns into a cow-boy jam that should have been avoided. But since this one lasts only two minutes, there is no damage.

Next track is a dual one : "In the Hall of the Mountain King/Great Balls of Fire" : like many times in live performances, the tracks are harder and this is no exception. Since I thought that the studio version for "In the Hall..." was way too long, I can only be pleased with this downsized version. Kaminski is doing a great job here.

This rock'n'roll classic from Otis Blackwell but made famous by Jerry Lee Lewis is a quite good appetizer for the closing "Roll Over Beethoven". This song is one of my ELO fave. It is a pity though that it is kind of emasculated in comparison with the original version (over eight minutes on the European release). Usually, live tracks are longer, aren't they ? It is far to reach the classicism, grandeur, emotion of the studio one. Therefore, I guess, my disappointment some thirty-two years ago. I was dreaming of a ten minutes frenesy and craziness maybe ?

This live album is as good as it could be, but doesn't belong to the great ones of the genre. Three stars.

Report this review (#113516)
Posted Sunday, February 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Honest, we didn't have time for a sound check

I well remember when this live album came out, I went to great lengths to obtain a copy, as it was only available in the UK as an expensive import from continental Europe. I have to say now that I do wonder why I bothered! Don't get me wrong, this is not a bad album, but it really is not worth making any sort of effort to track down.

On the plus side, this album captures the band in the year they released the "Eldorado" album, well before Jeff Lynne discovered the formula for repeated chart success. No tracks from "Eldorado" are actually included, possibly because the band had not had sufficient time to rehearse them, or perhaps because they had not actually written them yet! The tracks here are therefore taken from the band's first three albums, plus a string of cover versions.

On the day of the gig, fate conspired against the band who reportedly did not have time for a sound check. How much of this story is factually accurate is a matter for speculation, but it certainly makes for a convenient explanation for the sub-standard, almost bootleg quality of the final product.

The first side has three songs, two of which, "Daybreaker" and "Showdown", are from "On the third day", although the latter was not included on the original UK version of that album. "Showdown" is elongated through some instrumental pyrotechnics including some fine synth playing by Richard Tandy. The third track is a cover of the Beatles "Daytripper", the band paying homage to the influences they readily recognised. While ELO do stamp their own trademarks on this version, the performance is largely unremarkable and dispensable.

Side two kicks off with a decent rendition of the band's first recording, "10538 overture" which is interrupted midway by the riff from the Move's "Do ya" and a brief theme which would be developed later to become "Illusions in G Major", on the "Eldorado" album. Richard Tandy's keyboards on this version are particularly noteworthy. Virtuoso violinist Mik Kaminski enjoys a brief solo spot centred around the old standard "Orange blossom special" before the band attempt to justify their "Orchestra" tag with a rendition of "In the hall of the mountain king" (as also found on Rick Wakeman's "Journey to the centre of the earth"). This in turn segues into a superfluous cover of "Great balls of fire". We close with a fine though slightly edited storm through the band's hit single cover of "Roll over Beethoven".

As this is a rare chance to legitimately obtain a live recording by a Jeff Lynne led ELO, fans of the band may wish to consider adding the album to their collection. There are certainly progressive overtones to ELO's work around this time. The recording is however little better than a bootleg in terms of quality, and on that basis I hesitate to recommend it.

The muffled sound quality of the LP is improved upon on the CD through the use of a different master tape.

Horrible sleeve by the way!

Report this review (#137512)
Posted Monday, September 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
progaardvark
COLLABORATOR
Crossover/Symphonic Teams
4 stars ELO's first live album, The Night the Light Went on in Long Beach, was a release I recall Jeff Lynne not having fond memories of. This was chiefly because Lynne felt that the "ELO sound" was incredibly difficult to reproduce in a live venue. This album is a perfect example of it, suffering from poor sound quality and often having the strings being drowned out by other instruments. Still, it's the best example of ELO in a live performance available and dates from their early progressive rock years. Later live releases are just filled with the pop rock songs they became well known for.

One comment I must stress is that if you can get past the poor sound quality, the energy of the performances are amazing. When ELO jammed, they jammed quite well. Bev Bevan is allowed to cut loose and really shows he was a great drummer as opposed to the "time-keeping" style he used on studio recordings. Even though the production leaves something to be desired, I still wish the band had considered making this a 2-LP collection as I'm sure they must've performed more material than this. It would have been a real treat to hear Kuiama or the Ocean Breakup suite performed live.

In 1998, this album got re-released on CD using a cleaner master tape. It makes a big, big difference. The difference is significant enough for me to rate this as a four-star rating rather than a three-star rating (for the original LP). The production on the 1998 re-release is much clearer and there is less drowning out of the various instruments. If you are looking into getting this, avoid the album with the sci-fi parody cover and get the other one that features the ELO emblem atop a billboard-like sign and palm trees on the cover. A must-have for ELO fans, and an interesting worthwhile purchase if you're interested in the early progressive years of ELO. Four stars.

Report this review (#145387)
Posted Wednesday, October 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is the "classic" ELO of their first 3 albums live. As the years went by, ELO got poppier and poppier, and any semblance of prog that they had was long gone. This is the only live recordig of the band that I have heard so I have nothing to compare it to quality wise. I really wish the sound had been better on this release, though. The "hits" are here: "Showdown", "Roll Over Bethoven", and a cover of "Daytripper". Unfortunately, more would have nice from ELO II or NO ANSWER. I would have loved to hear a live version of "In Olde England Town". This is not a bad record by any means, it just comes up short in sound quality. 3 stars. A good live record for ELO fans. Others may want to hear their 1st three studio albums.
Report this review (#348134)
Posted Thursday, December 9, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars ELO is a band that please me for power and in some songs for style. ELO not please me for style (in some songs) and for feelings. As the same time ELO is a band that please me if I listen while driving. Conversely I can not appreciate it. I have various CD of ELO and this "The Night The Light Went On In Long Beach" is one of these. The expectations are not disappointed and I think that here there is a lot Prog, although more in spirit than conviction. "Roll Over Beethoven" is included in this live and it is a nice song. "10538 Overture" is a good Prog song. For the rest good POP Prog songs with interesting power, certain percentages of feelings but without true magic.

In definitive vision "The Night The Light Went On In Long Beach" is a correct live, good today to evaluate the music of 70's

Report this review (#411430)
Posted Saturday, March 5, 2011 | Review Permalink
Guillermo
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Originally only released on LP in some countries on which the band still had not played concerts then (in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and in Continetal Europe in France, Netherlands and Germany, as the booklet notes of the 1998 CD version say) in August 1974, this live album was recorded in 12- May- 1974 at Long Beach Auditorium in California. It was remastered and released on CD in 1998 in the UK. Despite the remastering, the recording and the mixing of this album are not very good, but not too bad. This live album was recorded during the time the band was recording their "Eldorado" album, so maybe that is the reason this live album doesn`t have any songs from that album. But it has one song from their first album ("10538 Overture"), one from their second album ("Roll Over Beethoven") and two from their third album ("Daybreaker" and Grieg`s "In the Hall of the Mountain King"), plus "Showdown" (which was previously released as a single and later also included in later pressings of their thid album in the U.K.), and three previously unreleased tracks (The Beatles` "Day Tripper"), a violin solo played along with the band ("Mik`s solo / Orange Blossom Special") and "Great Balls of Fire", which I think that it was originally recorded by Rock and Roller Jerry Lee Lewis.There is also a brief instrumental fragment of "Do Ya" (a song which Jeff Lynne and Bev Bevan recorded with The Move in 1972 but they later re-recorded it with ELO in 1976) included at the end of "10538 Overture".The band shows very well, really sounding like having a lot of fun despite not having enough time for a sound check as their equipment arrived very late to the venue before the concert due to some problems. Anyway, the arrangements are very good, particularly for "Day Tripper", with very good keyboards by Richard Tandy. Maybe this album could have been better if it was released with less covers of songs and with more original songs. Maybe at the time of release of this album Jeff Lynne wasn`t very happy with the live recordings of the band. But maybe it could have been better to re-issue the album in the CD format as a double album with more tracks recorded at that concert or at others from the same period of time. As a one CD album it really sounds as a very short in time duration live album, but it is very enjoyable anyway.
Report this review (#1066743)
Posted Saturday, October 26, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars One of rare ELO live albums from their early era is authentic but a bit of missed opportunity due to track selection. Their two best progressive albums - first two albums - are only represented by 3 tracks. The sound quality could have been better. Electric Light Orchestra have never been a virtuoso band with the exception of the violin and cello players and their much better compositionally than instrumentally. Violin and cellos are playing convincingly, lead guitar is actually more prominent than on next albums but quite average, drums are too simple to my taste. Keyboards save the reputation of the classic rock instruments - synths and moog are inspired by Wakeman by no that adventureous. The voice is not great - Lynne was learning how to sing without having to scream. You can hear several influences - from rock'n'roll to classical music, folk rock and Beatles. "Daybreak" is a highlight, the only fully progressive and instrumental track and a great choice for a live concert. "Showdown" is a poppy track but sounds good live and the band still leaves the comfort zone. "Roll over Beethoven" is definitely a very good choice for the live concert but together with "Great Balls of Fire" introduces too much of a generic rock'n'roll. The "Day Tripper" version is OK but I would have preferred more original material. So be it not for the "Daybreaker" and "10538 Overture", I wouldn't have bought the album. Good for ELO fans.
Report this review (#2461715)
Posted Friday, October 30, 2020 | Review Permalink

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