BBC Radio 2 Festival in a Day with Jeff Lynne’s ELO, Bellowhead

A great idea having a festival in a day with a BBC Radio 2 friendly line-up. Chrisie Hynde opened up proceedings with a set of Pretenders classics and a couple of her new solo album, including the very catchy single ‘Cheap Sunglasses’. Not a big fan but she did the hits and started the afternoon off in fine style.

Bellowhead I was seeing live for the fourth time and sadly due to sound issues their set was cut short. Still they got the crowd going and stuck to their more well known songs like ‘10,000 Miles Away’, ‘Roll The Woodpile Down’ and an excellent version of ‘Gosport Nancy’.

Kacey Musgraves has a lovely voice but a little to country for my personal tastes and sorry Gregory Porter but I have never liked jazz. However, Sunday afternoon and a decent jazz singer certainly did the trick for many.

Paloma Faith is another artist that Radio 2 have helped break, yet has a wide appeal across the ages.Great voice and stage presence, although musically not my cup of tea. Billy Ocean is a festival staple as he has the hits like ‘Red Light’ and ‘Caribbean Queen;, plus a good stage presence and he has lost none of his vocal power down the years. Enjoyable leading nicely into Blondie. Now drummer Clem Burke (what a powerhouse of a drummer he is, amazing drumming throughout the gig) hinted in a recent interview he wasn’t sure how much longer the band would keep touring. I’d say based on the show tonight they have a few more years left yet! Debbie Harry still has the voice and belts through the hits like ‘Atomic’, ‘Maria’ and ‘Heart Of Glass’. They play a couple of new songs, although sadly a festival crowd will only ever want to hear the classics. A very enjoyable set and they kept the between song banter to a minimum in order to cram in as many songs as possible.

Oh and Tony Blackburn leading the crowd through a rendition of ‘YMCA’ was a tad surreal to say the least.

They also have ‘An Introducing…’ stage for new acts and caught a brief snippet of the Buffalo Skinners and Sam Brookes, impressed by both and will be investigating their music further,

A crowd of 50,000 in Hyde Park eagerly anticipating the first full live show from Jeff Lynne (billed as Jeff Lynne’s ELO) since 1986 in the UK and the last full live shows were a couple of US TV concert shows to promote the then new album ‘Zoom’ back in 2000. Even better news for ELO fans like me was that another key ELO member Richard Tandy was present (looking like a cross between a music teacher and an accountant!). The backing band were Gary Barlow’s/Take That’s live band who backed Jeff Lynne when he played a couple of songs last year for BBC’s Children In Need.

Words can’t describe how overjoyed I was at finally seeing ELO and the legendary Jeff Lynne live. Along with Queen, ELO are one of my all time favorite bands and I’ve been a fan since the early 1980’s but sadly never saw them live bar on TV (I can still recall seeing them perform at the charity gig Heartbeat back in 1986 shown by Central TV). I was seeing Jeff Lynne tonight! And with my six year old son who has been musically educated in the ELO classics and Bellowhead, who he loved when they performed earlier on the day.

After a video showing a brief snapshot of the varied musical works of Jeff Lynne, Radio 2’s Chris Evans introduced Jeff Lynne. Big thanks to Chris Evans from myself and fellow ELO fans as his apparent persistent nagging of Jeff Lynne to play live again worked for Children In Need which led in turn to tonight’s gig. Even better news in a radio interview Jeff Lynne revealed if he enjoyed tonight this could mark the start of more live shows and a world tour (something he confirmed on stage too).

Read the full Jeff Lynne’s ELO review here

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