The Moody Blues wowed it’s capacity audience with an assortment of signature songs as well as music from the “Days Of Future Passed” LP on Saturday June 17, 2017. The event marks the 50th Anniversary of the famed LP that as Justin Hayward, lead guitar and vocals, stated “changed our lives forever.”
Attendees were singing along with the Moody Blues and were howling with a great deal of exuberance. Young people as well as senior citizens attended the concert and all had a rousing good time. An ocean of happy singing people is always a good indication of success in my book.
The Moody Blues had the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra playing behind them led by conductor Thomas Wilkins whose leadership added to a flawless performance by the band as well as the orchestra. For the Moody Blues’ record label, this was the first recorded concept LP and considered a masterpiece as well as a ground breaking effort.
Who knew when Decca Records asked the band to record an album to test “stereo recording” that history would be made? Decca had been known primarily as a classical music label and the decision was made to fuse rock with classical music and viola “Days Of Future Passed” was crafted and was a success.
Sadly, “Go Now” , a tune that had been originally recorded by Bessie Banks, was not included in the first part of the show, but they came blasting onto the stage with “I’m Just A Singer” which made the crowd clap loudly with glee and forget about the rest of world. The Moodies also performed the classic “Say It With Love” from their LP “Keys To The Kingdom” which hints at the greatness that the Moodies have become.
There were times that I kept getting distracted by Norda Mullen, Flute, guitar and vocals, as she was dressed in some pretty awesome “Steam Punk” gear, but had a forehead that reminded me of a Klingon from “Star Trek”. The other backup members : Julie Ragins, keyboards, guitar, sax and vocals; Allen Hewitt, keyboards and vocals; Billy Ashbaugh on drums performed exceptionally well and rendered up an absolutely flawless performance and were able to not be crushed by the Moodies as well as the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra.
During the intermission I was able to recall the first time that I had seen the Moody blues so many years ago. It was November 30, 1968 at the Shrine Auditorium and they shared the bill with Jeff Beck, The Faces with Rod Stewart. 10 Years After and Mint Tatoo were also on the bill, but I cannot remember anything about their paticipation in that show.
The bands were level to the audience and I was right in front of all of them and was totally enjoying the Moodys when someone handed me a joint and I took a huge hit and promptly passed out and fell backwards. When I came to Hayward was looking at me like “WTF?” That was 49 years ago and the Moodys have only gotten better if that’s possible. Their voices are right on the mark and are live as well as their musical prowess.
As the Moodys broke into “Days Of Futrue Passed” I began wondering if any of the three of them had read Robert Graves’ “White Goddess or “The Battle of The Trees” for starters as so much of the lyrics kept harkening back to a time that I am well acquainted with now that I am older and wiser.
The first time I saw the Moodies I was only 17-years-old and quite ignorent of so much of what I was going to learn. I think that the Moodys helped usher me into that new realm of understanding and knowledge.
Throughout their performance there was quite an eclectic “light show” going on behind them with so many wonderful images, including that commanding voice that opens up the LP with images of the man behind the voice with orbs behind him. It was surely a space odyssey to behold. Drifting in space while listening to the lilting tunes of “Days Of Future Passed.”
An interesting aside to the song “Knights In White Satin” is that it found a home on the soundtrack of Johnny Depp’s 2012 film “Dark Shadows.”
The Moody’s encore song was “Question” which goes into “A Miracle In My Life” which always brings a lump to my throat as it reminds me of a time long ago where I had a love and he was lost to me.
All this on the season opener of Hollywood Bowl 2017…an iconic place with an iconic rock n’ roll band!
Dawn is a feeling…this day will last a thousand years if you want it to.