Thursday, January 06, 2011

DVD of
the Month:
Part 24

I recently
the follow-
ing DVD
for Video Librarian, and thought the results were worth sharing.


Heaven for Electric Light Orchestra fans, this release pres-
ents the band on stage between 1973 and 1976. In the first per-
formance, the group plays at the UK’s Brunel University. There's
nothing fancy about the low-ceiling stage set-up, but certain ec-
centricities are already in place, like the towering platform heels,
singer/guitarist Jeff Lynne's halo of hair, violinist Mik Kaminsky's
vampire cape, and the way Hugh McDowell play his cello like a
guitar for the cover of Jerry Lee Lewis's "Great Balls of Fire."

The songs are also longer than the Top 40 singles for which ELO
would become famous, but Lynne had a feel for appealing melo-
dies from the start (time spent with the Move can't have hurt). In
the liner notes, Malcolm Dome describes their music as prog pop.

For Hamburg's 1974 Rockpalast broadcast, the septet has a bigger
stage on which to roam, while the disc concludes with a set at Lon-
don's New Victoria Theater during 1976's Face the Music tour. The
band still eschews bells and whistles, but the venue is larger yet.

Throughout, they perform the hits "Ma-Ma-Ma Bell," "Showdown,"
"I Can't Get It out of My Head," "Strange Magic," and "Evil Woman."
Though Brunel and Rockpalast duplicate three songs, including
Edvard Grieg's monumental "In the Hall of the Mountain King,"
they serve as better showcases for Lynne as he shouts more at
the '76 gig (his tenor works better in a traditional pop context).

The bonus feature offers a brief interview with the outfit, along
with sound engineer Rick Pannell. Also, completists should note
that the UK version adds two versions of Chuck Berry's "Roll o-
ver Beethoven." Audio options include Dolby Digital Stereo,
Dolby Digital 5.1, and DTS Surround Sound. Recommended.

Click here for Movie of the Month, Part 23: Everyone Else

Endnote: I usually call this feature Movie of the Month, but
DVD of the Month made more sense this time around. Slightly
revised from the original text. Image from The Quietus ("Look-
ing Back at the Cosmic Career of the Electric Light Orchestra").

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