THE temptation to write 'words fail me' is overpowering, but to sum up this concert in a few words is a bit daunting.

It is 40 years since Jeff Lynne appeared in Manchester, and tickets were just one pound! Things have come a long way.

This was one of the most eagerly-awaited concerts of this or any other year. For years, it was uncool to like ELO, but now, Birmingham-born Lynne is at last receiving the adulation he deserves.

With an exemplary band of musicians which included pianist Richard Tandy; with whom Jeff has been working since the early Seventies – even before ELO; and 10cc's Mike Stephens, Jeff recreated some of the music we were brought up with.

Starting with the long, ethereal intro to Tightrope the curly-haired musical genius held the packed out arena in the palm of his hand.

With amazing backdrops and lighting effects, the dozen backing musicians – which included a trio of string players – provided an evening of top class entertainment.

The crowd was dancing in the aisles to all the biggest hits: Evil Woman, All Over The World and Showdown to name but three.

There were also a trio of songs from the latest album, including of course the auto-biographical When I Was A Boy.

Never comfortable in a live setting, Jeff is by no means a showman, but he is a great guitarist and songsmith, and he seemed genuinely humbled by the adulation he got from the fans.

He slowed things down a bit for I Can't Get It Out Of My Head, Wild West Hero and Telephone Line, before cranking it up again with Turn To Stone, Don't Bring Me Down, and Sweet Talkin' Woman before his signature tune Mr Blue Sky which had everyone on their feet.

The band came back to perform an energetic finale of the traditional ELO showstopper Roll Over Beethoven.

It was a great night and I have never seen so many smiling faces in one place before.