Review by Dean Pedley, photos by Mark Lloyd
Now into their sixth decade as a going concern, The Moody Blues returned to Birmingham for the first time in two years and once again delighted their devoted audience, some of whom it appeared were accompanied by their children’s children’s children. A band that for so many provided the soundtrack of their youth, 2015 finds the Moodies in rude health with the seemingly ageless trio of John Lodge, Justin Hayward and Graeme Edge still rolling back the years night after night. Ignored by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame they are one of England’s greatest musical exports and deserve to be recognised as such, lest we forget this was a band that pioneered the use of the mellotron during that seamless run of classic 60’s albums.
Apart from the odd subtle change to the running order the set list remains tried and tested and so they kick off with the gentle pulse of ‘Gemini Dream’, Hayward still in remarkably good voice and Lodge as animated as always and clearly delighted to be back on home turf. Deep cuts such as the psychedelic pop of ‘Peak Hour’ sit comfortably with 80’s MTV era staples ‘I Know You’re Out There Somewhere’ and ‘Your Wildest Dreams’ and when Lodge steps up for the symphonic pop masterpiece that is ‘Isn’t Life Strange’ you can almost hear a pin drop before the first of many standing ovations that are awarded during the second half of the show.
At seventy four years of age you could forgive Edge if he missed the odd beat but with more than two dozen of his family members watching on he duly shuffles front and centre for ‘Higher And Higher’, his ode to the moon landing that still proves a show stopping highlight and prompts much grandad-dancing. ‘I’m Just A Singer (In A Rock And Roll Band)’, ‘Nights In White Satin’ and ‘Question’ are played with slick precision but there is no suggestion the Moodies are simply going through the motions and in truth they remain an irresistible live attraction.
With an appearance at this year’s Glastonbury Festival also part of the current tour, the timeless flight of the Moody Blues shows no signs of touching down any time soon.
1. Gemini Dream
2. The Voice
3. Steppin’ In A Slide Zone
4. You And Me
7. Say It With Love
8. Peak Hour
9. I Know You’re Out There Somewhere
10. The Story in Your Eyes
11. Your Wildest Dreams
12. Isn’t Life Strange
13. Tuesday Afternoon
14. Higher And Higher
16. I’m Just A Singer (In A Rock And Roll Band)
17. Late Lament
18. Nights In White Satin
20. Ride My See-Saw