Wembley or Bust

Anmeldt av Jens Nepper
(Columbia/Sony Music, 2017)

Karakter: 5.5/6

Jeff Lynne ELO Wembley or Bust.jpgJeff Lynne of ELO fame is a living legend. Of that, there can be no doubt. The man has inspired and influenced countless musicians from all kinds of different backgrounds for decades and continues to do so. There is a reason why Axl Rose (Guns N' Roses) cites ELO as one of his favorite bands and primary sources of inspiration. Check out the textures, layers, and harmonies on “Chinese Democracy” and you will see that ELO influence in there.
There is also a reason why you will see people from all walks of life at a Jeff Lynne/ELO gig not to mention that various subcultures are always represented there, be they hardcore black metal fans, goth chicks, lovers of blues rock, fans of pop, or adherents of progressive rock. Those are the facts - I speak from experience. What I struggle with is how to classify ELO's music; some of it is pop, some of it rocks pretty hard and leans toward classic rock, but then you get the progressive, epic, and symphonic elements as well. Regardless, Mr. Lynne is clearly one of the most gifted and talented musicians out there and the fact that he can still deliver enchanting and stellar shows such as this brand new live offering, “Wembley or Bust”, is truly magnificent and commendable.

“Wembley or Bust” is a damn-near flawless and monumental live release. I was lucky enough to get my hands on the 2CD/DVD combo package and the entire show is stunning both musically and visually. At times, it feels almost trance-like and hypnotic. The musicianship is out of this world – it simply defies words. Lynne is clearly enjoying himself and appears charming and sympathetic throughout the entire thing. Classic cuts such as “Evil Woman”, “All Over the World”, “Don't Bring Me Down”, and “Mr. Blue Sky” have never sounded as powerful and majestic as they do here. “When I Was a Boy” off the “Alone in the Universe” record is another highlight filled with longing and emotion. “Turn to Stone” rocks like there is no tomorrow and “Showdown” is as moving as ever. The actual sound and production is fabulous in that each instrument is clear in the mix and that there is a perfect balance between them. Rarely have I witnessed such an enthusiastic and grateful audience – they really do add a lot to this live representation and you can tell that the band feeds off the energy and applause.

As cool and interesting as the interviews and backstage footage that are interspersed with the concert footage are, they do take a bit of the focus away from the actual show. There could have been a small documentary or bonus feature section of some kind that would have kept it separate from the show so that the concert footage would lose none of its flow or momentum, but that is my only real complaint and it is a minor one.

“Wembley or Bust” is one of those magical releases that takes you far away from your everyday existence and transports you to a place where dreams, warmth, and musical excellence reign supreme. Words such as beautiful and mesmerizing come to mind yet I feel that those are inadequate to fully describe and summarize this exceptional and amazing release. On a side note, the lavish packaging is worthy of praise as well and simply looks lovely. This live album and film is oustanding.

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