Dolly Parton? A treat for frustrated shift workers, Whitney fans and anyone desperately guarding their husband from some prowling harlot, but otherwise it was a lot of well-meaning jostling to hear a Bon Jovi cover and a song about how muddy it was. Brian Wilson? Brilliant set, but Brian himself sat through it with a look on his face that said ‘what are all these people doing in my conservatory?’. Lionel Richie? Only life-changing if you’d taken so much MDMA you could literally dance on the Pyramid Stage ceiling. Rolf Harris? Let’s just pretend we never donned kanga cossies for that one, shall we?
No, of all the acts that have ever taken Glastonbury’s Sunday afternoon ‘legend’ slot, Jeff Lynne’s ELO will be the first to steal the entire weekend. Here’s why…
1. They’ll Bring Spaceships
They may not descend from the rafters in a fully tooled-up UFO like they did in the late 70s, but expect ELO’s trademark spaceship to make an appearance, flanked by ranks of sawing orchestra and soul-opera choirs. It’ll be a bit like Muse collaborating with the English National Opera on a set of Scissor Sisters songs.
2.They Were The 70s
When prog rock ruled the earth, ELO did it with Wagnerian wallop. When glam wrestled control, they stomped it into a glittery mulch. When disco shimmied along, they boogied The Bee Gees under the neon cocktail bar. And when punk broke, they looked down at it like at AT-AT walker at a mischievous Ewok and instantly sold ten million copies of ‘Out Of The Blue’. ELO were no minor ‘guilty pleasure’ strand of the 70s, they encapsulated the entire decade and all its flared trouser, dad beard, budget-of-a-Superbowl-advert excess. So this will be your once-in-a-lifetime peek into the decade when no Stonehenge prop could be too big and no song could be performed properly without an entire philharmonic tagging along.
3. Their Setlist Is Engrained Into Your Primal Brain Stem
You might think you’re just going along in your conductor’s outfit for an ‘ironic’ warble along to ‘Mr Blue Sky’, but this is no wait-an-hour-for-The-Hit deal. ELO’s music is part of the background fabric of pop culture. You’ll know ‘Don’t Bring Me Down’ from Planes, Stranger Than Fiction, Family Guy or Donnie Brasco. ‘Telephone Line’ might ring a bell with fans of Malcolm In The Middle. ‘Strange Magic’ will bedazzle viewers of That 70s Show or The Virgin Suicides, ‘Evil Woman’ has cropped up in Grand Theft Auto, Community, Austin Powers and My Name Is Earl, and ‘Livin’ Thing’ might be familiar to anyone who has, ahem, studied Boogie Nights particularly closely. Trust us, you and all your mates already unwittingly know 70 per cent of the words to this gig, even if you’ve no idea what ELO stands for.
4. Jeff Is Proper Adorable
He looks like a bag of hair in sunglasses. He speaks like a Brummie grocer getting flustered because he’s accidentally overcharging a customer for grapes. He is as unlike a 70s rock god as any 70s rock god has ever been. And, crucially, he’s incredibly grateful for all this – despite becoming a production titan in the wake of ELO’s split, the go-to guy for The Beatles, George Harrison, Roy Orbison and Tom Petty, his attempts to revive ELO have flopped often enough to make him visible overwhelmed to be getting the appreciation he deserves after decades in the creative wilderness. Go give him a Glastohug.
5. ‘Mr Blue Sky’
No-one at Glastonbury 2016 – no-one – will have a song as iconic as ‘Mr Blue Sky’. Epic, comic, overwrought and wildly uplifting, it’s the ultimate Glastonbury weather charm and your chance to pretend you’re Dame Kiri Te Kanewa at the top of your voice for three minutes. Much more fun than bawling your eyes out to ‘Someone Like You’, you’ll find.