Anyone who knows me knows I have a soft spot the size of a neon-lit flying saucer for ELO. I've tried justifying it with Move references and the "Lennon loved 'em" bit, but really, ELO was a sickeningly adept pop band unafraid to create a sound as majestic and overproduced as humanly possible. So I was understandably excited about this DVD. A repackaging of a 1978 broadcast of a royal command performance, this release captures ELO at the peak of their saccharine symphonics. Still, the studio perfection that made Out of the Blue such a marvelously inhuman-sounding record doesn't translate well to the stage, and ELO's prodigious use of backing tapes (and unmiked strings) derails the momentum of many of the songs here. Once a phenomenal live act, ELO by 1978 was purely a Jeff Lynne studio project, as highlighted by the inclusion of a long-form video created as a promotional device for their 1979 "disco" album, Discovery. Various shots of neon hot dogs (?), animated pinball games (?!?!?) and other proto-Xanadu visuals don't mesh with the "live" shots of ELO performing in what looks like the Fortress of Solitude.
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