Richmond.com By HAYS DAVIS Special correspondent
Where were we in ’73? That’s when The Moody Blues released “I’m Just a Singer (In a Rock and Roll Band),” one of many highlights from Friday night’s show at the Altria Theater. With their return to Richmond there was undoubtedly an air of nostalgia, with personal connections to the band reaching back to the ’60s. But with the enduring attraction of these tunes and the sterling performance of the band at this show, it was also easy to get lost revisiting how stirring a song like “Question” can be. The start of the show was a reminder of the group’s radio presence as the ’70s rolled into the ’80s. Guitarist Justin Hayward and bassist John Lodge came together on vocals for “Gemini Dream” and “The Voice,” and it’s notable how well those songs have aged. Drummer Graeme Edge, joined by an additional drummer, drove the band on the hard-rocking “Steppin’ in a Slide Zone,” the 1978 single that transitioned the band from their beloved early albums. Hayward had one of several guitar showcases with “I Know You’re Out There Somewhere,” underscoring his contributions over the years on that instrument. “I’d like to take you now back to the ’60s,” announced Lodge, with a warmly joking reference to that night’s “old hippies.” With that, “Peak Hour” brought 1967 rushing back with its full-speed rush of a tempo and shifting color patterns on the rear screen. As they tore into “I’m Just a Singer (In a Rock and Roll Band),” a series of films from early stages of the band flashed overhead. “My next birthday means I’ll have to get a physical to get life insurance,” cracked Edge. “I’ll be 75.” Nodding toward an earlier period as well as his age, he added, “I’ve been through the sixties twice.” Taking the spotlight, “Higher and Higher” provided the drummer with a turn at lead vocals and a dance around the stage. “Breathe deep,” began Edge as he led into the spoken-word “Late Lament,” prefacing their best-known hit, and Hayward’s vocals rang out clearly for “Nights in White Satin.” On this night The Moody Blues sounded like it could have been their latest single, though the audience’s standing ovation was a reminder of years of appreciation. See Slide show from the concert HERE.