42 years ago today, the Electric Light Orchestra landed their sonic spaceship in Blimpville for a sold-out show at the Civic CenterThis was their only appearance ever in Portland, or anywhere in Maine for that matter.

Hulton Archive/Getty Images

It happened on September 29, 1978 and was part of a tour called, The Big Night. You can bet there was absolutely no lack of fog machines and cosmic lasers to enhance the atmosphere for an incredible evening of symphonic rock.

The 9 month, 92 date trek went all over the world in support of their ambitious 1977 double-album, Out of the BlueJeff Lynne and company also played at London’s Wembley Stadium during this tour and did an historic 8 sold-out nights in a row.

I didn't make it to the one time ELO played in Portland. My parents said I could go to concerts when I turned 16. I was 11 in 1978. Sigh.

My copy of Out Of The Blue is still a precious part of my vinyl library at home. The band poster that was included in the sleeve is hung on the wall in my office next to the desk I'm typing from right now.

wblm.com

Let's watch an awesome video for Turn to Stone. The ELO band members with the mighty Jeff Lynne in this one are Bev Bevan on drums, Kelly Groucutt on bass, Richard Tandy on keyboards, Melvyn Gale on cello, Mik Kaminski on violin, Hugh McDowell on cello. Those string players were rocking the f--k out.

Here's the fantastic set for Portland.

setlist.fm

In case you missed it, Jeff Lynne released a terrific new album about a year ago called From Out Of Nowhere. It's a wonderful collection of songs that fit in very well with the ELO classic catalog.

It is exactly how the fan writing this article wants something new to sound. I feel the same strange magic that I first felt as a kid hearing ELO on BLM in the 70s. It's perfect. Thanks, Uncle Jeff.

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