The Electric Light Orchestra lifted off in its spaceship (60 feet in diameter, 25 feet high) at 21:23 Saturday at the Capital Centre amidst smoke, flashing orange and yellow lights, fluorescent green laser rays emanating from the ship and a crescendo of other-world sounds. Curiously, the band's music, itself, never seemed to get off the gound.
The ship, looking like a giant white mushroom cap with 16 bubble eyes dotted symmetrically around the dome, separated, slowly lifting its top half upwards where it hovered high over ELO, who simultaneously erupted from the bowels of the spaceship. The visual image borrowed symbolically from Botticelli's "The Birth of Venus."
And the visual spectacle was clearly the focus of the concert. Laser light shows projected on a movable screen were designed as visual complements to the sound, but for the most part stole the show. The 525,000 watts of light proved more interesting than the watts of sound. Compromises favored the visual.
The speakers were mounted 25 1/2 feet from the ground (to avoid screening the stage) with two full-range speakers (heavily balanced to the low end) pointed towards the floor, causing the sound in the floor seats and the first 20 rows up to appear as a continuous rumbling glissando. Mud-puddle vocals were buried in the warp of sound.