Review: Jeff Lynne’s ELO concert at the Hollywood Bowl

Achievement: Unlocked.

I was traveling for business earlier in the year, and was enjoying the sights and sounds of Times Square in the heart of New York City. It was only my third time there, and did not know when I would return, so I took full advantage. As I passed by Radio City Music Hall, I saw a surprising set of letters up on the marquee.


Wait, what? I knew Electric Light Orchestra had returned, because I had purchased the new album Across the Universe. And when I say “Electric Light Orchestra”, I’m pretty much talking about Jeff Lynne – he was is and will always be ELO, and had taken full control of the band and the “brand” of the legendary group. I loved the new album, and the idea of seeing them live – well, I couldn’t resist.

Except… the tickets were sold out. Months ago. Aftermarket seats were THOUSANDS of dollars. Even though I had never seen ELO live, I also really enjoy paying my mortgage and buying food, so… all was lost.

EXCEPT! I found out that the Radio City show wasn’t the only shows that he was doing in the US! He was also doing three shows at the Hollywood Bowl, in LA. With a fireworks finale! And free exclamation marks!

EXCEPT… when the tickets went on sale, all the good seats were gone. Like, before the tickets went to the public. Seems that if you were a member of the Hollywood Bowl you got to buy tickets early, and I of course was not. I was torn like an old sweater. Pay a lot of money for sub-par seats, in addition to hotel and airfare.

Then I asked my son if he wanted to go. He got excited, and so I thought, “Why am I even hesitating? It’s ELO LIVE, you stupid fanboy! Do it.”

So I bought the tickets and this past weekend my son and I flew from Atlanta to LA to enjoy Universal Studios and see ELO.


The concert started with the conductor of the Hollywood Bowl symphony playing some fantastic classical music. Half way through the 30 minute set, my son turned to me and asked, “OK, we’ve got the O… now where is the E and L?”

As the classical music ended, we got the full E L and O. Oh, yes. One hour and a half of classic ELO songs, performed with aplomb, and with some fantastic laser and projector effects. Look at this set list:

1. Tightrope
2. Evil Woman
3. Showdown
4. All Over the World
5. Livin’ Thing
6. When I Was a Boy
7. Rockaria!
8. 10538 Overture
9. Can’t Get It Out of My Head
10. Shine a Little Love
11. Wild West Hero
12. Telephone Line
13. Turn to Stone
14. Sweet Talkin’ Woman
15. Don’t Bring Me Down
16. Mr. Blue Sky
17. Roll Over Beethoven

They played Wild West Hero, from Out of the Blue! Holy crap! I later found out that this week is the first time they have ever played this song live EVER.


Needless to say, I was a happy fanboy. And so was my son, though he only knew some of the songs – from TV commercials.

Here’s some pics, from my not-so-crappy seats…

Joseph Dickerson is a user experience professional and UX Lead for Microsoft based out of Atlanta, GA. He has implemented processes in user testing, design and ethnographic research and provided design and consulting services for many different projects and organizations.

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