Recorded in 2001 in Los Angeles, California at CBS Television City, this live set from the Electric Light Orchestra (or Jeff Lynne's version of a modern day ELO anyway) basically celebrated the start of the Zoom tour that year. For those of you who remember the Zoom studio album, it was basically Jeff Lynne and a few special guests, a far cry from the classic ELO that we all knew and loved, but still an 'ELO' album nonetheless. This live album thankfully features only classic material from the band, as Lynne, along with longtime keyboard player Richard Tandy and a host of other players, does a good job of recreating those vintage songs.
Sure, you can argue that there's no "Telephone Line", "Turn to Stone", "Do Ya", "Shine a Little Love", or any number of classic ELO songs, but for the most part the mandatory tracks (hits) are all here. "Evil Woman", "Livin' Thing", "Mr Blue Sky", "Sweet Talkin' Woman", "Don't Bring Me Down", and "Can't Get it Out of My Head" are all in attendance, but kudos to the band for also tackling "Showdown", "Secret Messages", "Twilight", and "Confusion", excellent album tracks but not necessarily big hits. The question remains, where is the rest of the show? Clearly, these were not the only songs played that night, and most would rather have more of the actual set than the two bland new tracks included here, which are as far from the ELO sound as you can get, and more in line with Lynne's solo material or the Traveling Wilburys. Vocally, Lynne sounds fantastic throughout, and with Tandy, two cellists (Peggy Baldwin & Sarah O'Brien), Gregg & Matt Bissonette on drums & bass, Mark Mann on additional keyboards, guitar, backing vocals, and Rosie Vela on backing vocals, the sound is rich and full. Not that you could ever replace the backing vocals of the late Kelly Groucutt, but with all the band here contributing vocals behind Lynne, the results are quite good.
Frontiers Records has done a nice job on the digipack, with plenty of colorful spaceship paintings and a few small live photos, all of which help to make a nice package. I still can't help but question the short setlist, and the bonus studio songs are as uninteresting as much of the Zoom album, but hey, it's always a pleasure to hear these classic songs, so that has to amount for something after all.
1) Evil Woman
3) Secret Messages
4) Livin' Thing
5) Sweet Talkin' Woman
6) Mr. Blue Sky
7) Can't Get it Out of My Head
10) Don't Bring Me Down
11) Roll Over Beethoven
12) Out of Luck-bonus studio track
13) Cold Feet-bonus studio track