Jeff Lynne’s ELO & Dawes Perform At Madison Square Garden: Review, Photos, Videos & Setlists

By Bryan Lasky Aug 23, 2018 9:25 am PDT

Words & Images by: Bryan Lasky

Jeff Lynne’s ELO & Dawes :: 8.21.18 :: Madison Square Garden :: New York City, NY

Approximately 40 years ago, when ELO played Madison Square Garden the band was lowered out of a spaceship that turned into the stage. From the pictures I’ve seen it was quite the setup. Jeff Lynne acknowledged this while thanking the crowd for coming and selling out the first night of their two shows at the famed venue. Though there was no spaceship this time, the light and video show was second to none and a digital spaceship did hang over the band on the video screens at times throughout the performance.

Before ELO took the stage, an excited Dawes played their first notes ever at MSG. Taylor Goldsmith never stopped moving during their 45 minute set. Some bands cannot command rooms the size of MSG, especially when the crowd has no idea who you are. This was not a problem from Dawes who received multiple loud cheers from the crowd, including a standing ovation at the end of the set. The back to back of “Feed The Fire” and “Roll With The Punches” let them show off their jamming skills in the middle of each song, making sure everyone in the building knew how well the band can play. There are some songs that are also meant to be played in the “World’s Most Famous Arena” and both “When My Time Comes,” with its amazing harmonies, and “All Your Favorite Bands” with its lyrics of hoping bands stay together forever are definitely ones that belong in that room.

After a short intermission, Jeff Lynne’s ELO came out and immediately dropped into “Standing In The Rain.” The crowd rose to its feet and those on the floor remained standing, while those around the rest of the arena would sit during the slower songs. It’s a shame it took Jeff Lynne so long to go back to playing live as the ELO catalog is tremendous. Though he didn’t speak to the audience much, Lynne commands a room like few others can with just the sound of his voice, which is still in unbelievable condition, or the first notes of a song from his guitar. Speaking of first notes from an instrument, as soon as the violin introduction of “Livin’ Thing” hit the crowd went absolutely wild. Moments like that make you appreciate that Lynne decided to resurrect ELO into this new version and bring these songs to fans that have been waiting such a long time to see them.

“Here’s one from that other band I was in, The Traveling Wilburys,” Lynne said and before he could say “Handle With Care” the crowd had cheered loudly. Three keyboardists on stage, along with the two cellists and violinist, played off of one another all evening, filling space in the music so it truly felt like an orchestra was on stage. Green lasers filled the arena, turning into a modern-day disco for “Shine A Little Love,” and the crowd danced as though it were the mid-1970s again.

The set ended with a run through “Don’t Bring Me Down,” “Turn to Stone” and “Mr. Blue Sky” that all had a feeling of urgency. That’s not to say they did them at a faster pace than normal, just that the band put a little extra into them as the crowd responded enthusiastically. The encore was, of course, their amazing version of “Roll Over Beethoven” with its overture beginning that eventually turns into a free-form rock ‘n’ roll jam. With a wave good night, Lynne and the band exited the stage to an absolutely thunderous roar from the audience.


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Videos (Captured by Jim Powers)

[Livin’ Thing]

[Handle With Care]

[Mr. Blue Sky]

[Roll Over Beethoven]


Jeff Lynne's ELO at Madison Square Garden

  • Standin' in the Rain  
  • Evil Woman  
  • All Over the World  
  • Showdown  
  • Do Ya  
  • When I Was a Boy
  • Livin' Thing  
  • Handle With Care  
  • 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


Dawes at Madison Square Garden

  • Things Happen
  • If I Wanted Someone
  • From a Window Seat
  • Feed the Fire
  • Roll With the Punches
  • Living in the Future
  • When My Time Comes
  • All Your Favorite Bands

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