Story & Photographs by Diane Fleischman
It was a full house at The State Theatre Saturday night as The Orchestra made it’s first appearance in Easton.  While the formal band named has changed, along with the players, unmistakably, it is the classical rock music of Electric Light Orchestra. 

It’s a big year for ELO with their induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the spring,  which made the songs performed even more alive than ever.    ELO was formed in England, back in 1970.  Cited as a musical genius, co-founder, Jeff Lynne, had a musical vision of picking up where The Beatles left off,  with a unique twist of classical arrangements that were added to the songs. 

ELO toured throughout the seventies, and stretched it up to 1986.  From there, two reincarnations of the band toured the world, and changed the name to The Orchestra.  Two of the original members of ELO are members of The Orchestra, Lou Clark, on Orchestral Keyboards, and Mik Kaminski on his famous blue violin.  Rounding out the band is Lou Clark Jr., on cello, Eric Troyer, keyboard, guitar, and vocals, who has done vocal work with many artists, John Lennon, Billy Joel, Aerosmith, James Taylor, Kiss, and Lou Reed just to name a few.  Parthenon Huxley, guitar and vocals, was a part of ELO Part 2. His records as a solo artist have earned three Album of the Year awards. Gordon Townsend, drummer, is a native of Philadelphia.  He began working with The Orchestra in 2001.  Glen Burtnik, bass and vocals, spent ten years as frontman for Styx, as well as a role on Broadway where he portrayed Paul McCartney in Beatlemania. 

The concert opened with the pop based hit “Evil Woman”,  followed by “Rock and Roll King”, “Sweet Talkin’ Woman”, with the classical violin intro, and the haunting “Can’t Get it Out of My Head”, with Troyer on lead vocals.   While it has been noted that some artists will sometimes alter their original versions over the years, it simply won’t work with these classics.  The tempo may have been bumped up a notch, but these songs are inevitably at their best in original form.   

Ultimately, The Orchestra played all the hits the fans came to hear.  “Hold on Tight”, “Strange Magic”,  “Turn to Stone”, “Livin’ Thing”, which rolled right into “Xanadu”, “Telephone Line”, and “Mr. Blue Sky” received a standing ovation.  The set closed with the hard rocking sound of “Do Ya”, as the entire house rose to their feet and clapped along.  The fans applauded and howled for an encore, and The Orchestra returned to the stage for a high energy performance of “Don’t Bring Me Down”, an extended version, which involved the audience singing along in the chorus. 

As the band left the stage, Burtnik commented that he would love to come back to Easton again.  For every member in the audience, they certainly agreed, The Orchestra would be most welcomed again at The State Theatre.