The Austin Chronicle

ELO Calling America

By William Harries Graham, November 17, 2017, 3:30pm, Earache!

This week, the Electric Light Orchestra announced it would be Calling America next summer for the first time in 35 years. So far, only 10 U.S. dates have been announced, but 20% of those fall in our fair state: Houston’s Toyota Center on August 10 and Dallas’ American Airlines Center three days later. Local social media lit up with plans to rent party buses.

Jeff Lynne’s English rock & roll symphony exploded onto the musical landscape in 1970 with a singular fusion of pop and rock with classical music. His intention was to carry the Beatles torch and nearly 50 years on, he’s clearly succeeded. The surviving Traveling Wilburys member got entry into that exclusive and sadly dwindling club on the strength of modern classics including: “Can’t Get It Out of My Head,” “Evil Woman,” “Strange Magic,” “Livin’ Thing,” “Do Ya,” “Turn to Stone,” “Sweet Talkin’ Woman,” “Don’t Bring Me Down,” “Hold On Tight,” and “Rock & Roll Is King.”

Maybe you were a teenager when ELO ruled AM and FM radio through the Seventies and early Eighties. Or, maybe you were like me, a local native who grew up harmonizing with Lynne in the backseat of my mom’s car as “Mr. Blue Sky” blasted out of the stereo in traffic on Mopac. ELO charted one song after the next with the all the frequency of the first British Invasion.

One thing’s for sure: ELO always brings a smile to your face and a tapping in your toes. And who knows, perhaps with three days off in Texas they’ll make it to Austin after all. We know for a fact that C3 Presents’ Charles Attal – a local much like myself – is a lifelong fan who’s tried to get them to ACL Fest.

In the meantime, here’s my ELO playlist on Spotify.

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