Evil Woman: The American ELO – Fraze Pavilion – 7/14/22

Evil Woman – The American ELO (review)

Face it, there’s going to be a time in the not-so-distant future when all the musicians who sang our favorite songs are gone.  That’s what makes good tribute bands important.

After seeing Evil Woman – The American ELO at Fraze Pavilion in Kettering, I give them an A+

They’re hands down one of the best tribute bands I’ve ever seen.

The original Electric Light Orchestra last toured America in 1978, so lots of people (including yours truly) missed out on seeing their favorite band in concert.  But, the music of Jeff Lynne & company is about as sophisticated as popular music ever got, so pulling this off live is no easy task.

Enter Nigel Holland.  He created this project, and wow.

First of all, it wouldn’t be ELO without the ORCHESTRA, and they had a four-piece string section that was fabulous.  Holland was one of two keyboardists, who were joined by two guitarists, a bassist, a drummer, and an operatic, energetic backup singer.  For those keeping score, that’s eleven musicians so far.  

But wait, what about Jeff Lynne?  Well, they got a guy that looks and sounds like him too (oh, and he plays guitar).

Total: TWELVE musicians

If that’s what it takes to pull this music off live, well then..rock on!

They opened with “Tight Rope,” an album cut off of A New World Record, before launching into a bulletproof set of ELO standards.  “Do Ya,” and “Hold On Tight” both sounded big and rocked plenty, while ballads like “Strange Magic” were done with care.  “Jungle,” off of the Out of the Blue album was the other “deep cut.”

All along the way, they nailed it.  The twin lead guitars on “Showdown,” the big drum sound on “Don’t Bring Me Down,” the operatic voice on “Rockaria!”  Oh, and let’s not forget the Vocoder – yes, we heard it on “Mr. Blue Sky,” but also on “All Over the World” and “Confusion.”

The solos, the vocals, the strings – everything was faithful to the original recording.  

I was fortunate enough to see Jeff Lynne’s ELO back in 2018, and while watching the guy that actually sang and created the songs was fabulous, I have to say Evil Woman: The American ELO is better.  Lynne’s stage show and lights were breathtaking, but Evil Woman had an attention to detail that even the meticulous Lynne couldn’t match.  

We are going to want to sing the music of the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s for generations to come.  The bands that can faithfully pull off the classic sounds stand in a class by themselves.

Evil Woman: The American ELO is one such band.

I’m a very picky music fan – and I was thoroughly impressed.

—Tony Peters