The Orchestra is coming! The Orchestra is coming!

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    …to see YOU, Ubik! [LINK TO TOUR DATES]

    Albuquerque, NM
    Saturday June 14th
    I love the wide open spaces of New Mexico and the Isleta Resort and Casino looks pretty sweet on its website. Our fans in Albuquerque (you know who you are) have traveled mighty distances to see us in other cities–glad you’ll get to rock out in your own backyard!

    Are they coming to see me again? Visiting my turf to give me a grand musical send off before my life gets turned upside down again? Well, er, basically… no.

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    Wow. Cool. thanks for the heads up. I went to the Isleta website but their entertainment dates section only goes out to March 28. Maybe I looked in the wrong part of their web page. I’ll keep looking.

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    Well, I looked again – about a month later – and their events only go out until the end of April. I guess I won’t see The Orchestra show up on the events until mid to late April. I’ll keep trying.

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    I got tickets. Good seating too. About two weeks ago on a Sunday, I picked up the newspaper from the driveway and saw an ad for the Orchestra and I immediately bought two tickets.

    Cool stuff. I’m excited and I am interested who will replace Kelly Gouchet. A new band member or did one of the existing band members stepped up to do the lead vocals? We’ll see.

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    I went to the show Saturday night and loved every minute of it.

    The show started at 8PM but I got there way early: 6:45 PM. Fortunately the doors opened at 7PM which gave me plenty of time to extract cash from a nearby ATM and buy a couple items from the ELO merchandise booth: a T-shirt and a program (well, more like a photo album of the band).

    When I was directed to my seat I realized I was going to sit in the front row. I remember getting a seat near the front but I forgot that it was a front-row seat. That’s pretty cool. I was off to the left a bit (stage right), which put me right next to the bass speakers. This meant my midsection was vibrating throughout the whole concert but that’s OK.

    While waiting for the show I looked around and tried to guess the size of the venue. Medium size, I guess. I figure there were about 2,000 seats. More than a thousand but definitely less than 3,000. I last saw an ELO show back in 2007 at Camel Rock Casino. Very small venue. I remember counting the rows, the number of seats in each row and doing the math. 600? 800? Very small so I am glad this show had a much bigger crowd.

    The show started a few minutes after eight and, as soon as the musicians took their place, they started playing Evil Woman. Eric Troyer – the keyboardist – was the main vocalist but Glen Burtnik and Parthenon Huxley took lead on a couple songs.

    I don’t remember the next song they played but, over the course of the concert, I realized they played a song from pretty much every album except “Balance of Power” and “Zoom”. They even played “All Over the World” and “Xanadu” from the Xanadu soundtrack.

    During the second or third song a couple woman from the front row stood up, got a little closer to the stage, and started dancing. This made the guard a little nervous and he waved them back to their seats and they continued to dance from there.

    When they played “I Can’t Get it Out of My Head” I was a little sad since it reminded me of Kelly Grouchett. Back at the concert in 2007 Kelly Grouchett would introduce that song as: “I Can’t Get Her Out of My Bed” which would elicit a brief laugh from the crowd. Alas, Kelly is gone now but I’ll always think of him whenever that song is played.

    They played a mini-version of “Concerto for a Rainy Day” playing “Standing in the Rain”, a shortened version of “Summer and Lightening” and, of course, they played “Mr. Blue Sky”, a crowd favorite.

    The band was pretty much all business throughout the concert. The only time they talked between songs was when they introduced the bands members and, at the end, when they said good night. They talked a little during the encore but not much. After they played the 10538 Overture, they mentioned that the song was featured in the American Hustle movie.

    Speaking of the encore, that’s where most of the crowd’s energy went. They played “Don’t Bring Me Down” and encouraged the crowd to approach the stage. The guards got nervous but the crowd behaved. Many took pictures (including me) but most were there to dance. When the song ended a couple people tried to touch hands with Mik, Glenn, Partehnon and Eric (I think). A few succeeded. The band did a good job getting the crowd revived up for the encore song.

    Here’s the list of the band members, if you didn’t already know it:

    Mik Kaminski, Violin
    Louis Clark, Arranger, Keyboards, Conductor
    Eric Troyer, Tour manager, Keyboard, Vocalist
    Parthenon Huxley, Guitar, Vocalist
    Gordon Townsend, Drummer
    Glen Burtnik, Bassist, Vocalist

    When it was all over I realized that they did not play a single ELO Part II or Orchestra song. This brings up a question: is this incarnation of the band nothing more than a cover band? Sure they have people who were part of the original ELO band (Lewis and Mik) and at least one from ELO Part II (Eric? Can’t remember) but they are not playing new songs or even songs from the Orchestra. My office mate thinks they’re just a cover band and I think it’s a valid point. People don’t go to these things to hear new music. After all, they want to hear the classic ELO songs.


    Good to see P.Hux is still associate with the band – he made the album No Rewind an amazing thing.

    I think their originals are so far underground that they don’t even bother anymore. And – here’s the part that no one’s ever really talked about – their playlists may be hamstrung by whatever settlement emerged with Mr. Lynne a decade ago, when he reasserted control of the ELO name and Bev bailed out. It could be that they’re allowed to continue to exist as “former members of ELO” at Jeff’s sufferance… and only if they play stuff that he gets paid royalties on for every performance. The ELO Part II and Orchestra stuff was great when they hit reasonably close to the ELO sound, but the songs were also carefully being constructed so they could be replicated on stage without having to haul a whole orchestra around.

    I was kinda worried that the on-stage banter died when Kelly did. I may have been right. 🙁

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