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Jeff Lynne’s ELO, Arena Birmingham - review with pictures

Birmingham music icon Jeff Lynne and his Electric Light Orchestra proved Rock ‘N’ Roll Is King with a phenomenal show at his hometown last night.

Jeff Lynne. Picture: Andy Shaw
Jeff Lynne. Picture: Andy Shaw

The 70-year-old star looked and sounded great; donning dark clothing and shades as he fronted a huge, remarkably talented band.

Prior to the show, we enjoyed a few drinks at Arena Birmingham’s new speakeasy-style Peaky Blinders-themed bar.

Aptly named The Garrison, the small watering hole is decorated with black and white pictures of Brummie streets of old on the walls, dark wooden seating and bar staff dressed in flat caps and waistcoats.

A lovely addition to the already excellent venue.

It was then on to the main attraction and, though I was uncertain as to what we should expect, Jeff Lynne’s ELO totally blew me away.

Jeff Lynne and the band wowed the crowd. Picture: Andy Shaw

The band’s 95-minute set was packed with hit after thrilling hit; and each and every one of them was performed with absolute excellence.

Erdington-born Jeff was backed by two outstanding vocalists - one male, one female - and a group which included a trio of string musicians, pianists, guitarists and a drummer.

Despite being in Birmingham, Jeff had very little to say; letting the music speak for itself - and it went down a treat.

“Hello Birmingham,” beamed Jeff.

“It’s great to be back here. It’s wonderful.”

The packed arena danced and sang along with the array of superbly-performed hits; lapping up top numbers including Evil Woman, All Over The World, Do Ya, Living Thing, Last Train To London, Sweet Talkin’ Woman, and Don’t Bring Me Down.

Jeff Lynne's ELO on stage at Arena Birmingham. Picture: Andy Shaw

The band also treated fans to a song by supergroup The Traveling Wilburys, of which Jeff was a member - Handle Me With Care.

This was a particular, unexpected highlight and the male backing vocalist simply astounded with his rendition of the part originally sang by world-renowned singing idol Roy Orbison.

The female backing singer shone brightly too as she stunned with outstanding soprano vocals on Rockaria, as lasers shot out over the crowd.

The stupendous show was rounded off with perhaps their best-known song Mr Blue Sky, which received a well-deserved standing ovation.

Jeff and his band then posed for a selfie with the crowd in the background, before treating fans to a super performance of Chuck Berry’s Roll Over Beethoven.

A truly outstanding evening - and far more than I could have ever hoped for.

We really wanted the night to last forever.

What a treat.

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