Electric Light Orchestra - Live At Winterland, 1976This classic concert recording, only recently given its own CD release, certainly humbles me a bit. Some time back, in my review of ELO Part II’s One Night live album, I asserted my belief that the original ELO – limited by the number of musicians and the technology available to them at the time – could never hold a candle to ELO Part II on stage. Now, after hearing this concert recording from the early stages of ELO’s superstardom – well over a year before Out Of The Blue was released, and not long after the album containing “Strange Magic” and “Evil Woman” debuted – I have to admit that this isn’t necessarily true.

Jeff Lynne and company seemed to be in tune and in the spirit for a great performance at this 1976 gig, and since it falls so early in the band’s career, it highlights some of their best early material, including a medley of several tunes from 1974’s excellent Eldorado album. Material from the very first album also appears here, something that would fall by the wayside in only a couple of years as crowds began to request nothing but recent hits; “10538 Overture” is combined with the Move’s “Do Ya” (remember, this concert took place before “Do Ya” resurfaced on A New World Record) for a hard rock medley. “Fire On High”, “Poker” and “Nightrider” – all from what was, at the time, ELO’s most recent album – are also handled wonderfully on stage. I did notice that bassist/backup singer Kelly Groucutt took the lead with the vocals a 4 out of 4number of times, something that he didn’t get to do again until the band broke up and reformed.

So I suppose I have to retract my earlier statement about the original ELO on stage. The band’s enthusiasm for their material here easily outshines any technological limitations that could have hindered anyone’s enjoyment of the music, and it’s a must-have for any serious ELO fans.

Order this CD

  1. Fire On High (5:28)
  2. Poker (4:02)
  3. Nightrider (4:37)
  4. Showdown (4:43)
  5. Eldorado Suite (13:14)
  6. Strange Magic (5:07)
  7. Medley: 10538 Overture / Do Ya (5:27)
  8. Evil Woman (4:39)
  9. Ma-Ma-Ma Belle (6:37)
  10. Roll Over Beethoven (6:38)

Released by: Eagle / Edel
Release date: 1998
Total running time: 60:34