There can scarcely have been a more eagerly anticipated return to performance and touring than that of Jeff Lynne's modern day incarnation of his hugely popular group Electric Light Orchestra (ELO), whose golden period was during the mid to late 1970's.

The seeds for Lynne's full-blown concert tour comeback were first sown in the summer of 2014 when the all round architect of the unique ELO 'sound' was persuaded to headline BBC Radio 2's Festival In A Day event at Hyde Park before 50,000 people. So overwhelmed was Lynne by both the love and affection from the crowd on the day for his band's music, as well as the fantastic critical acclaim heaped on his first performance in some thirty years in his ELO frontman guise, that the venerable singer/guitarist/songwriter/arranger/producer decided that he just had to do more than that singular show.

And so, what followed was a quite superb brand new ELO album in 2015 entitled 'Alone In The Universe', the first new record from the band since 2001's 'Zoom'(that record having heralded a very short-lived Lynne fronted ELO comeback of sorts) and then the subsequent announcement of a major concert tour which included two Manchester Arena dates, one which took place just last week with the second, due to phenomenal ticket demand, scheduled for late June.

Anyone present at the first Manchester show will confirm that it is as if time has literally stood still for Lynne in the best possible sense with his music sounding as glorious and as fresh as it did back when he first wrote the bulk of the instantly recognisable pop classics that made up the vast majority of the set list on the night. However, even when Lynne and his band performed two songs from the new album, the beautifully reflective 'When I Was A Boy' and 'Ain't It A Drag', such are those compositions in the very same vein as the ELO peerless back catalogue, that anyone would be hard pushed to spot, what is in essence, the seamless join between the old and new material.

And with regard to the now 67 yr old main man himself, listening to him and looking at him up there on stage you could be forgiven for believing that he had just been released from a time capsule that had been sealed back in 1978 since his vocals really do sound identical to how they were back then and, sporting his trademark ever present sunglasses and with his shaggy dark moptop hairstyle still very much present and correct(though no doubt aided by a bit of colour these days), Lynne IS that same man who ruled the airwaves and pop charts over three decades ago. Even the Brummie's unassuming, laidback, humble persona and deadpan humour remain steadfastly intact and, save for the occasional heartfelt "Thank you much" and "I think you might like/recognise this little one" comments together with some Macca style thumbs ups, Lynne very let his music do his talking for him on the night.

And what sublime music it is that Lynne has created. He is, in truth, the music equivalent of the very best food blender money can buy for, no one has ever better meshed together classical strings and electrical instrumentation with lush and multi-layered harmonies and melodies to concoct 3/4 minute perfect pop concertos/symphonies. With joyous, note perfection rendition of songs like 'Tightrope', 'All Over The World', 'Strange Magic' and the Roy Orbisonesque 'Can't Get It Out Of My Head', this was a one and three quarter hour concert that put a smile on the faces of the enraptured 15,000 strong audience from start to finish and the acoustic quality of the performance was good as you're ever likely to hear in a concert setting.

Special mention also needs to me made for the highly accomplished group of musicians that are backing Lynne on his tour. Aside from his long-time colleague and fellow original ELO member Mr. Richard Tandy on piano/keyboards, Lynne is supported by an all-female string section comprising of a violinist and two cellists, two backing singers and a further six players on guitars, bass, drums and keyboards, with the core of this band having previously backed Take That. And the overall glorious concert experience is further enhanced by a dazzling, colourful light show and strong visual imagery projected onto a giant, crystal-sharp central screen.

One can usually easily pick out standout moments in a concert but with this show it really is difficult to do so with each and every song served up being a highlight in itself with no lull in the proceedings whatsoever. However, there's no doubting that the performances of the string-laden 'Livin Thing', the operatic influenced 'Rockaria', 'Sweet Talkin Woman', the delicious 'Telephone Line', the foot stomping rock of 'Don't Bring Me Down' and the crowd and radio favourite 'Mr. Blue Sky' will especially linger long in the memory. And if all that wasn't enough to send the crowd home on a wave of euphoria, Lynne and his cohorts returned for one encore, a rousing and frenetic 'Roll Over Beethoven', the Chuck Berry number that ELO reworked in their own inimitable fashion way back in 1973.

Upon witnessing a show of such a high standard and seeing the manner in which the music is so lovingly embraced by at least four generations of music fans that were present, it is almost inconceivable to now believe that at the very time Jeff Lynne and ELO were at the height of their success and popularity, there was still a section of the public and the press too that derided ELO and their music as cheesy, uncool and generally passe as the new musical storm in the form of the anarchic punk rock and New Wave movement was blowing in. Great music though will always stand the test of time and Jeff Lynne proved this and then some in Manchester with his magnificent array of songs that, never mind being 'Out Of The Blue', are simply 'out of this world'.