BY STEPHEN PETERSON SUN CHRONICLE STAFF | 0 comments
UNCASVILLE, Conn. - A half-century of playing music is obviously quite the milestone, reached by The Rolling Stones, The Who and few others. Add The Moody Blues to that elite list.
Formed back in 1964, The Moody Blues are celebrating their 50th anniversary and the British group performed Wednesday night at the Mohegan Sun Arena on their "Voyage Continues: Timeless Flight Tour."
Lead singer-lead guitarist Justin Hayward, 67, bassist John Lodge, 69, and drummer Graeme Edge, 73, were joined by a female flutist/guitar player/backup singer, two keyboardists and a second drummer. Edge is the only original member left but Hayward and Lodge joined up with the band just two years after its formation.
With the group having such a catalog of popular songs, and this being a special anniversary year, the nearly-two hour show relied heavily on those hits, with some lesser known numbers tossed in.
The catchy melodies and harmonies were front and center throughout the show.
The Moodies jumped off with "Gemini Dream" off the 1981 album "Long Distance Voyager," with the female keyboardist playing sax.
Smoke spilled from the stage for "Steppin' In A Slide Zone," which dates to 1978.
"Say It With Love" from the early 1990s showcased the two female band members on acoustic guitars.
Lodge told the audience, "We'd like to take you on a journey through the '60s," before launching into "Peak Hour," which he wrote.
Hayward and Lodge jammed during "The Story In Your Eyes" from 1971, which led to a standing ovation.
Hayward was on acoustic guitar for "Your Wildest Dreams," a Top 10 song from 1986 and one that became a video hit for MTV.
Lodge sang lead on the lengthy, flute-heavy "Isn't Life Strange." The group was among the first rock outfits to feature the instrument.
Old videos were shown behind the band for the gem "Tuesday Afternoon," one of the group's best-known songs which was on the second album, "Days of Future Passed." That 1967 album was the first to fuse symphony and rock music, and was the group's first concept album.
Besides creating their classical/progressive rock sound that inspired many groups, it was the first one to feature Hayward and Lodge. The London Festival Orchestra was showcased on the album that also has touches of psychedelic music.
Edge sang on the instrumentally strong "Higher and Higher," the opening track of the 1969 album "To Our Children's Children's Children," a concept album about space travel.
The rocking "I'm Just A Singer (In A Rock And Roll Band)" picked up the tempo.
Edge recited the poetic opening of the classic "Nights in White Satin," which reached No. 2 on the charts, won a Grammy and is one of the bestselling singles ever.
The philosophical and stunning "Question" from 1970 had Hayward again on acoustic. The song mixes hard and softer-edge music superbly.
The sole song in the encore was "Ride My See-Saw" from 1968, which Hayward and Lodge co-sang.