Electric Light Orchestra – Hollywood Bowl; Los Angeles, CA
Don’t laugh. It hurts.
I kind of secretly not-so-secretly love Electric Light Orchestra. I mean, what’s not to love? They’re the Disco Beatles! The songs are so impossibly catchy. Maybe even literally impossible, since you can sing the words to Beatles songs over pretty much any ELO song. If you’ve never played this game before, try listening to “10538 Overture” without thinking about “Dear Prudence.” Whatever. My point is, if you have a melodic bone in your body, you can’t not enjoy the symphonic rock sounds of ELO.
What better night to see Jeff Lynne and a bunch of people I’ve never heard of than the final night of a weekend stand at the historic Hollywood Bowl? Capped off by a full fireworks display! On 9/11! It’s like God reached down from the heavens and said, “Here you go, Evan. All of your favorite things in one place at the same time.” Maybe not the 9/11 part, but the ELO and the fireworks and the Bowl parts. I even received the above beer shipment just a couple days prior to the show, which vaulted an already awesome experience over the top into…like, nirvana territory (little N — I wasn’t yet 11 years old when Kurt Cobain killed himself). There was no MDMA involved in my ELO experience, but for all intents and purposes pretend there was. That’s about the level of ecstasy one attains while eating stinky cheeses and drinking HAZY DANK NEW ENGLAND IPAs and reveling in in Jeff Lynne’s dulcet baritenor tones. Does that sentence even makes sense? Doesn’t matter. I don’t care anymore. ELO!!!!!
I think the last time I was at the Hollywood Bowl was for that terrible star-studded performance of Rent? What a bad memory. Thankfully this will help wipe that disgusting musical theatre taste from my mind’s mouth. When I lived in Echo Park it was a nuisance to drive into Hollywood only to sit in traffic on Highland. Now that I am within walking distance of the Bowl I have no reason to miss performances like this. I’ll pass on the John Williams’ and the Weird Al’s of the world, but as I stated above this show was right in my wheelhouse.
I mean, look at the banner image at the top of this post! They projected a rotary phone behind the band (and orchestra) during “Telephone Line.” A ROTARY PHONE! Is that the most 1976 thing you’ve ever seen in your life or what!?
The average age of the folks in attendance was very likely north of 50. So many Android phones in the crowd. So many raspy-voiced, silver-haired grandmas in EVIL WOMAN t-shirts. Hell, a guy seated behind us couldn’t remember out what the “O” in “ELO” stood for. One of my friend jokingly said “Organization” when she heard that.
Here are more stray observations I was able to make between high gravity beers and singing along in the most boisterous falsetto I’ve ever falsetto’d:
- Was Jeff Lynne only singing every other line of his songs? Maybe that’s how his voice has stayed so perfectly intact through the years. Whereas guys who sing a lot of words (ie. Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, the guy who rapped “Informer”) have lost their vocal range, Lynne can still hit all the notes. When he’s singing.
- There were signs posted all over the Bowl “warning” the crowd about the intense use of lasers during the performance. Quite frankly, I think the show would have benefited from MORE lasers. And a space ship hologram. And more fireworks.
- The baby seated next to us slept through the ENTIRE performance, fireworks included. It (I decided not to apply a gender to it in case it’s still trying to figure that out for itself) slept so peacefully in its bjorn against its daddy’s chest I could feel my biological clock ticking in my penis.
- Dude. Fucking ELO!!!!
Did they play the hits? Check out this setlist and tell me what you think:
Electric Light Orchestra
Los Angeles, CA
- Evil Woman
- All Over The World
- Livin’ Thing [video]
- When I Was A Boy
- 10538 Overture
- Can’t Get It Out Of My Head
- Shine A Little Love
- Wild West Hero
- Telephone Line
- Turn To Stone
- Sweet Talkin’ Woman
- Don’t Bring Me Down
- Mr. Blue Sky
- Roll Over Beethoven
Okay, they could have played “Do Ya,” or “Strange Magic,” but seriously…what else can you think of they should have played?
Electric Light Orchestra – Do Ya [MP3]
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