Monday, August 06, 2018

Jeff Lynne's ELO and Dawes thrill at The Forum

Jeff Lynne's ELO takes a well deserved selfie with the capacity
crowd at The Forum on Saturday, Aug. 4, 2018.
Jeff Lynne enjoying showtime at The Forum. Photo: Rich Fury/Forum Photos
Really. What's not to love about a bill that features Jeff Lynne's ELO knocking it out of the park with nearly two hours of symphonic-adorned hits that feature undeniable choruses, dazzling arrangements and melodic hooks galore. 

Add to that night show opener Dawes, one of the greatest proponents of Laurel Canyon folk rock since the emergence of the Eagles and Neil Young. So it went at The Forum in Inglewood, CA on Saturday night (Aug. 4, 2018), with the stars perfectly aligned for the capacity crowd on hand for the wonderful proceedings.

Leading the dozen members of his troupe through a catalog as strong as any band this side of the Beatles or Rolling Stones, Lynne didn't say much during the concert. But he was armed with enough sonic firepower to let the music do most of the talking this night. There were 19 glorious tracks performed at The Forum, each essential and benefiting from the stellar group of top-tier players and singers gathered on stage. 

Ask a dozen fans and each may well have a different favorite. For me, hearing Lynne and company shimmer their way through the ethereal "All Over the World," "Handle With Care" (a hit for Lynne's other band, Traveling Wilburys), the dance-minded "Shine a Little Love" or soar during the regular set-ending "Mr. Blue Sky" was truly emotional. Being a huge fan of Lynne's 2015 Alone in the Universe, it was wonderful to hear one of that LP's greatest tracks featured this night. The introspective "When I Was a Boy" served as the perfect intro to the buoyant "Livin' Thing." 

Lynne, seemingly ageless at 70, sounded terrific and offered up some great guitar work as well throughout the set. Indeed, he unleashed fretwork aplenty during the encore, when the band delivered an inspired take on Chuck Berry's "Roll Over Beethoven." But truly, equal credit for the expansive and immersive sound heard on Saturday extended to his seven core band mates, three string players and two backup singers who collectively brought all the classics and new material to life.

Dawes performing at The Forum on Aug. 4, 2018.
Dawes is one of this writer's favorite 21st century-spawned outfits. With roots in some of the best strains of Southern California's explosive 1970s scene and a creative knack in tune with modern day heroes such as Radiohead, the Los Angeles-based band really was able to jump start the night.

Led by singer-songwriter-guitarist Taylor Goldsmith, the band performed a potent eight-song set celebrating the band's 2018 album Passwords, as well as high marks from early gems.

I count the band's poignant original "Time Spent in Los Angeles" as one of my favorites, and it sounded great this night with stellar guitar work and Goldsmith's affecting vocals carrying the day.

Other highlights included the new cuts "Feed the Fire" (with its jazzy touches and a guitar duel between Goldsmith and Trevor Menear) and the explosive Neil Young-styled rocker "Living in the Future." 

Dawes closed with "All Your Favorite Bands," a joyful celebration of the deep connection that audiences have with their favorite artists. Count Dawes as one of mine.

Robert Kinsler

Jeff Lynne's ELO setlist on Saturday, August 4, 2018

Standin' in the Rain / Evil Woman / All Over the World / Showdown / Do Ya (a Move cover) / When I Was a Boy / Livin' Thing / Handle With Care (Traveling Wilburys cover) / Rockaria! / Can't Get It Out of My Head / 10538 Overture / Shine a Little Love / Wild West Hero / Sweet Talkin' Woman / Telephone Line / Don't Bring Me Down / Turn to Stone / Mr. Blue Sky
Roll Over Beethoven (Chuck Berry cover)

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