ELO Tonight And Beyond

One of the more interesting appearances this evening at the Grammys will be an ELO reunion. It’s a prelude to a new album and a tour later this year, but will it fly?

Photo: Frontiers Records, Martyn Atkins/AP
Undated image released by Frontiers Records.

Jeff Lynne is the heart and soul of the ’70s pop megagroup, which could be as big as Lynne wanted it to be. He wrote the music and produced the albums, but ELO was always more of a studio project than a solid touring entity – although the shows were known for their spectacle.  ELO churned out an arsenal of hits, from “Sweet Talkin’ Woman” to “Telephone Line” to  “Mr. Blue Sky.”

Lynne hasn’t done an ELO performance for 28 years (until last year), and ELO hasn’t toured for 34 years, at least with Lynne at the helm.  Versions of the band with names like ELO Part II, that did not include Lynne, have found their way to stages over the past decades.

But tonight, with original keyboardist Richard Tandy on board, should display how essential the band is to pop rock.  When it tours, it will bring an arena-level amount of hits and a show that was extraordinarily well-received when it played at Hyde Park last year.

The tour is still in its infancy. As of yesterday, Lynne was still mulling an agency to book it.

The question is, though, if its audience is graying and if the 40-and-under crowd will fill in those seats?  We thought the answer was a definite yes, but over the past week we have run into people who did not know any of the songs, which seems extremely weird. At the same time, one of our coworkers is already planning to go see the show, wherever it may be.

Either way, the show should be a blast. But, late addition to this text: the guarantees have got to be reasonable and the production has to be kept in check.