REVIEW: Serial hit-maker Jeff Lynne a real hit with ELO at Sheffield Arena

Jeff Lynne performed a set full of hits at Sheffield Arena.
Jeff Lynne performed a set full of hits at Sheffield Arena.

If I ever went on one of those TV or radio quizzes where you have to name as many hits by a band in a minute, I would hope the band was ELO.

That’s because the musical genius that is Jeff Lynne has penned so many great hits in his lifetime – and virtually all of them are catchy and memorable.

I say virtually because during this fantastic show at Sheffield Arena, I leaned over to my wife at one point and said: “I don’t know this one.”

Just the one. In more than an hour-and-a-half, just one. And I’m no ELO aficionado.

So here we go, ahem, Don’t Bring Me Down, Evil Woman, Telephone Line, Can Get It Out of My Head, Turn To Stone, Sweet Talking Woman, (deep breath), Last Train To London, Rockaria, All Over The World, Wild West Hero.

I’m going to stop there for a moment, you get the picture.

In fact, as well as not continuing with the setlist, there were many other classics that Mr Lynne and his fabulous band/orchestra of 12 just couldn’t fit in.

The Brummie also treated a packed-out arena to a song from “anutha one of me bands”, namely supergroup The Travelling Wilburys’ Handle With Care, as well as Xanadu, the hit he penned for Olivia Newton-John.

And no special or trendy arrangements – the songs sounded exactly as you would expect, and want, to hear them.

Right, where was I? Ticket To The Moon, Shine A Little Love, Living Thing – I challenge you to spot one you don’t know, assuming you’re of a certain age, of course – and Roll Over Beethoven as a fitting encore to highlight the joint strings and rock talents of his elite band.

Songwriter, composer, arranger, singer, multi-instrumentalist and record producer, Lynne is one of the most versatile and innovative musicians it has been my pleasure to see.

And what a masterstroke to have Tom Chaplin, lead singer of Keane, to warm up even further an audience tangibly growing more excited by the minute on this very balmy evening in Sheffield, with solo offerings, as well as band classics including Everybody’s Changing and Somewhere Only We Know.

Blue Sky thinking. Oh, they did that one too...