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


Electric Light Orchestra


Crossover Prog

3.35 | 41 ratings

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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!

Easy Livin | 2/5 |


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