Review by Dean Pedley, photos by Mark Lloyd
Whenever the mainstream media rolls out the list of 60’s bands still actively touring The Moody Blues hardly ever seem to be mentioned. Perhaps they were simply never controversial enough for the tabloids but unquestionably they have a rich and varied musical history that bears favourable comparison with their peers. The first band of the ‘Brum beat’ era to receive global success they songs became synonymous with the emergence of FM radio in North America. With the introduction of the mellotron their sound developed still further and albums such as ‘Days of Future Passed’, ‘In Search of the Lost Chord’ and ‘To Our Children’s Children’s Children’ were hugely influential in the ever evolving world of progressive rock. In the early 80’s they enjoyed renewed success with the sophisticated pop of ‘Long Distance Voyager’ and 2013 finds the band in rude health with the ageless trio of John Lodge, Justin Hayward and Graeme Edge seemingly busier than ever and back in Birmingham, their first homecoming show in almost three years.
After the four accompanying musicians take their places the trio emerge and ease into ‘Gemini Dream’ and it is apparent that the Moodies remain a tight knit and incredibly slick live unit, their act honed to perfection from decades on the road. Hayward still has that understated yet irresistibly appealing voice and makes for a relaxed presence on stage. Lodge is more animated with much arm waving and gesturing to the crowd that demands and receives an enthusiastic response. With so many songs to choose from they are not afraid to delve into the past for deep cuts such as ‘You and Me’ and ‘Nervous’ alongside well established favourites ‘Tuesday Afternoon’ and ‘I Know You’re Out There Somewhere’, complete with wall-of-sound backing vocals and keyboard enriched harmonies.
Although Lodge and Hayward share the spotlight for much of the evening the sight of Graeme Edge leaving his drum stool to move front and centre is a welcome interlude. After noting he celebrated his 72nd birthday during the bands cruise around the Caribbean back in March, Edge launches into his 60’s psychedelic-cosmic-space-age inspired tribute to the moon landing, ‘Higher and Higher’; still a show stopping highlight after all these years. The two hour set draws to a close with the songs that will remain cornerstones of The Moody Blues legacy, ‘Nights in White Satin’ and ‘Question’ before concluding with the high energy encore of ‘Ride My See Saw’.
When The Moody Blues eventually retire they will leave behind a much treasured body of work for future generations to discover and enjoy. Until then, may their long distance voyage continue….
1. Gemini Dream
2. The Voice
3. Steppin’ in a Slide Zone
4. You and Me
5. Tuesday Afternoon
8. Say It With Love
9. Peak Hour
10. I Know You’re Out There Somewhere
11. The Story in Your Eyes
12. Your Wildest Dreams
13. Isn’t Life Strange
14. The Other Side of Life
15. Higher and Higher
17. I’m Just a Singer (In a Rock and Roll Band)
18. Late Lament
19. Nights in White Satin
21. Ride My See-Saw
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