Saturday, March 27, 2010
The Moody Blues -- DAR Constitution Hall - March 26 2010
The Moody Blues - Bring on the heat. I am a serious Moody Blues fan and make no apologies. Although I find most of their music in the last 20 years only a little better than most of you, all their early material is high quality music that has plenty of psychedelic and interesting progressive moves within the expected pop hooks. The band is down to three original members. Hayward and Lodge look in very good shape and are still solid players. They don't get any guest help on the axes aside from a bit of acoustic guitar from a female backup singer and keyboardist. Grahame Edge is still around on drums and is helped by a heavy hitter on a second drum kit. They have a full time keyboardist they have used for years and another female backup singer and flautist. So no heavy duty orchestras here, just a solid delivery of songs balancing their long career. The first three albums of the Hayward lineup is the best and there were three songs from Days of Future Passed, the two hits and a snappy "Peak Hour". Only the expected "Ride My Seesaw came from Lost Chord, which is a shame as it is probably their best album. But two cuts off the underrated Children's Children album were a nice surprise. "Gypsy" was the highlight of the night for me with its strong vocal work and deep and dirty undercurrent with a soaring mellotron leading the way out on the journey. Grahame Edge drummed as if his drum heads were eggshells and left the heavy hitting to his partner. But he kept the beat, was the most affable on the microphone, and turns 69 in 6 days. So all the power to him. The mix was odd at times with vocals and drums clear with the main instruments weaving in and out at odd volumes at times. The fans were scary as hell to me. An older crowd for sure, but not too ancient. The enthusiasm they displayed had me cowering as much as I do at an energized hardcore show. Utterly fascinating, but more so in that it got me thinking why is this the aberration and the lazy too hip club show crowds the norm? No one here was carrying on long winded dull conversations while the bands were playing. There was not a surfeit of cell phone texters blinding me while the band played on. Well, there were two around me, proving that this is a useless gripe as it has infiltrated the world and won. I was not expecting a mind numbing exciting ride tonight, but they delivered good songs with a couple of surprises and I will still wear a chip on my shoulder if anyone has a problem with that.
Observation: Don't just take my word for it. My friend Carl Hanni out of Tucson has a blog entry on his support for the Moody Blues which you can read here. He is a published poet and runs a publicity business and does consulting. While I am on that subject, I also have to give props to another publicity business out of Los Angeles called Inktank who appears to do a great service to the bands they work with. They certainly keep me informed. I am not sure what they think of the Moody Blues.