Jeff Lynne’s ELO Soar With Triumphant, Hit-Filled Performance in Portland, OR (SHOW REVIEW)

The world has been losing rock stars at a staggering pace in recent years, reminding us to treasure those who are still around and creating music. Luckily we still have Jeff Lynne, one of the few arena-worthy acts left. In recent years, the mastermind behind Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) the Traveling Wilburys has been playing more and more shows. On Saturday, June 29th, Lynne would bring the current touring lineup of ELO to the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon for a triumphant performance.

Opening up with the proggy rollercoaster ride of “Standin’ In The Rain” set a high level of energy right out of the gate before the funky, timeless groove of “Evil Women” brought the whole crowd to their feet. Lynne and his talented band would keep climbing higher with the slice of Beach Boys-esque disco “All Over The World” before dropping into the slyly soulful “Showdown”. During this song Lynne showed off his ability to use just a small string section to accomplish what many musicians couldn’t do with a full orchestra. This would happen during nearly every song of the set, showing that ELO keeps what is perhaps their most unique musical attribute front and center, even during performances.

Given Lynne’s prolific career, one couldn’t have expected him to only play ELO songs, and he would veer from this track with the 60s rocker meets doo wop tune “Do Ya” from ELO predecessor The Move. He would soon top it by bringing opener Dhani Harrison (son of George) to the stage to join him in a spirited rendition of the Traveling Wilburys’ catchy “Handle With Care”, with the crowd singing along to the chorus. He would showcase his love of Las Vegas-style showtunes with the cheesy yet romantic and flashy “Xanadu”. From there, the band dove into a run of huge hits, giving the audience exactly what they wanted and not wasting a second of time. “10538 Overture” was a triumphant and hard rocking power pop number, while disco hit “Shine a Little Love” would chug forward with a pulsing groove accompanied by a massive display of green lasers. Lynne and his band would close out the set with a master class in pop music craftsmanship, from the epic doo wop chorus of “Telephone Line” and the biting blues riffing of “Don’t Bring Me Down”, to the ascendant, outrageously catchy harmonies of “Turn to Stone” and the darkly whimsical psychedelia of “Mr. Blue Sky”.

Returning to the stage for one encore, the band would cap off an already mind-blowing show with a huge guitar-shredding blowout of Chuck Berry’s rock and roll classic “Roll Over Beethoven”. The song choice signaled that Jeff Lynne has never strayed far from the music that inspired him so many years ago, and that he embraces his role as a torch-bearing rock legend. It was also a reminder that, even though so many great artists have passed recently, we still have a few heroes willing to pack arenas and stage hit-filled performances.

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2 Responses

  1. I got tickets for my sister brotherinlaw and myself they drove down from Port Orchard We.
    We all thought the CONCERT was excellent and really had a great time. My brotherinlaw thanked me for getting the seats and said it was the best CONCERT he’s been to in a long time.

  2. Jeff was on point!!! The band was On Point!!! The show exceeded all Expectation!!! From the weaving stings Painting images from a better known time, to the Songwriting master works of Lynn… I took my 18 year old son and his Mate to see what I thought was a living legend, Myth Robin hood of music lost…. Instead we watched a master Craft a living work of art unleashed with pure intention and overwhelming intensity!!! GO SEE THIS SHOW!!!

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