Electric Light Orchestra Part II Former Members Reunion Tour 2006
In case you are not a member of the ELO discussion group Showdown, this has been their most lively and spirited topic for the past couple of months. In short, in 1999, when Bev Bevan decided to end ELO Part II and sell the rights back to Jeff Lynne, the remaining members wanted to continue touring and playing ELO music. They were barred from presenting themselves as ELO or ELO part II in any way, so they changed their name to The Orchestra and recorded an excellent album that far excelled anything recorded by ELO Part II but was unable to sell many copies except to diehard fans. They toured the world and pursued separate projects. The UK fans clamoured for an Orchestra tour for many years, but the promoters would find reasons to avoid booking the group. In 2005, "All Over The World - The Best Of The Electric Light Orchestra" zoomed to number six in UK charts and earned several platinum awards. This convinced promoters to approach The Orchestra's management for a full scale tour in 2006. Unfortunately, the promoters wanted to use the ELO name for the tour. Management and promoters claim their lawyers have okayed the group to tour as a reunion show as Electric Light Orchestra Part Two Former Members. And that is what all the fuss is about in a nutshell. No one is arguing about the musical merits of the group. It's all about identity, image, opportunism, false advertising, honour, betrayal - you'd think The Beatles were back in court again, and all the fans were taking sides!
My own opinion on this sad affair is that alot of trouble could have been avoided had Jeff Lynne and his management simply licensed the ELO name to this group of musicians. Jeff Lynne could then go on showing the world his mettle as a world class songwriter, producer, recording artist and if he ever chooses again live performer. Officially not a word about this situation has come from the Jeff Lynne camp. All the howling being emitted worldwide is from the fans, especially those on the internet.