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Audiences invited to encounter legendary music of ELO in Romford

PUBLISHED: 15:21 08 November 2018

The ELO Encounter returns to Romford's Brookside Theatre on December 1. Picture: Max Rownes

The ELO Encounter returns to Romford's Brookside Theatre on December 1. Picture: Max Rownes

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A tribute show to the legendary music group Electric Light Orchestra will be performing all of the popular songs from the band’s hit-filled library at Brookside Theatre.

The ELO Encounter returns to Romford on December 1. Picture: Graham HuntleyThe ELO Encounter returns to Romford on December 1. Picture: Graham Huntley

The ELO Encounter is returning to Romford this December with a new show to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the original band’s spectacular 1978 world tour.

Simon Rownes performs on bass, along with his sons Jack and Max on keyboards, and Henry on bass.

They are joined by Martin Donald on guitar, Dacre Peck on drums, Jasmine Ali on violin and Ezme on the cello.

Simon told the Recorder: “Jack has liked ELO since he was about 13 and [starting the tribute show] was his idea.

The ELO Encounter's brand new live show features soaring strings and striking vocal harmonies. Picture: Max RownesThe ELO Encounter's brand new live show features soaring strings and striking vocal harmonies. Picture: Max Rownes

“We did our first show in September 2016, as it took quite a while for us to get up and running, but it’s gone really well for us.”

Each band member is a musician in their own right, but they all share a love for ELO and they are dedicated to accurately representing the band on stage.

The live show features soaring strings, striking vocal harmonies and all of ELO’s major hits including Evil Woman, Telephone Line and Don’t Bring Me Down.

“I think people are surprised by many of the ELO hits,” said Simon.

Fans of Jeff Lynne's Electric Light Orchestra can look forward to hearing all of their biggest hits at the ELO Encounter tribute show in Romford. Picture: Max RownesFans of Jeff Lynne's Electric Light Orchestra can look forward to hearing all of their biggest hits at the ELO Encounter tribute show in Romford. Picture: Max Rownes

“Everybody knows Mr Blue Sky, but there is a whole wealth of hits, such as Sweet Talking Woman.

“People who were around in the 70s and 80s tend to know them, but we do get a lot of younger people come to see the show too.”

Simon added that with Mr Blue Sky featuring in the popular Marvel film Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, they continue to see more younger people interested in the band’s music.

The bass player’s favourite ELO song is the lesser known single, Nightrider, which was released in 1976.

During live performances Jeff Lynne and Kelly Groucutt would swap vocals during the song, and it’s the unique harmonies they created in the single that makes it a stand-out song for Simon.

Speaking about what makes ELO unique, he said: “The marrying of rock music with classical instruments keeps you interested.

“You always find something new in their songs. This is something that Jeff Lynne has always done, even when he moved on from ELO.

“I think [ELO] really carried on from where the Beatles left off, they were definitely inspired by them.”

Originally from Birmingham, songwriter and record producer, Jeff Lynne formed ELO in 1970 with Roy Wood.

Lynne produced all 15 of ELO singles that rose to the top ten record charts in the UK.

In 1978 the Electric Light Orchestra’s Out of the Blue Tour became the highest grossing concert tour of that year with the North American leg of the tour breaking many attendance and sales records.

The band performed at major venues such as Wembley, the Pontiac Silverdrome in 1975, Philadelphia’s Spectrum and Madison Square Garden in New York.

At Wembley, ELO turned the stage into a huge flying saucer and the roof of the spaceship would open up to reveal the band.

In keeping with ELO’s tradition of spectacular stage sets, The ELO Encounter has included lights and special effects to create a special atmosphere on stage.

“A big part of the show is that we use a projector that runs throughout the performance to make it more visual,” said Simon.

“[The material] is influenced by the songs themselves, for example there’s a song called The Diary of Horace Wimp which is about a down-trodden worker who rebels and finds love.

“The video we use in the projection is of people re-enacting that story on screen.”

The ELO Encounter will be playing at Brookside Theatre in Eastern Road on Saturday, December 1 at 8pm. To book tickets visit brooksidetheatree.com or call 01708 755775 for tickets.

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