Moody Blues: Bristol Hippodrome
THE Moody Blues quickly developed from just another Brummie rhythm and blues outfit in the mid 60s to become one of the most progressive bands of the psychedelic era after guitarist Justin Hayward and bassist John Lodge joined up with the band's original drummer Graeme Edge.
Justin and John – still the frontmen after all this time – were the inspired songwriters who gave us Nights in White Satin, Question, Ride My See-Saw, Isn't Life Strange and so many other memorable hits. With their imaginatively themed albums, the Moody Blues must surely be the godfathers of prog pop.
They have managed to retain their distinctive vocal sound over the years, and with the help of the amazingly versatile Nora Mullen playing flute, harmonica, guitar and backing vocals, they recreated the classic ballads from their early albums. Graeme Edge's rather basic drum work was superbly supplemented by the highly animated and well-mad Gordon Marshall – cheerfully standing up and hitting everything percussive in sight.
The front rows of the stalls, occupied by a host of long-term fans of the band who had travelled from as far as North America and Japan to follow their heroes on their UK tour, provided a great stimulus to the band. With that support and general audience rapport it was bound to be a great show.
The Moody Blues are still huge in America. A suitably psychedelic light show added to the atmosphere and Peak Hour brought back the heady atmosphere of the 1969 Isle of Wight Festival.
There are bands of the 60s still touring who tend to be pale shadows (no pun intended) of their former selves, but the Moody Blues, with the three original key musicians, have just matured with age.
Justin and John's voices have kept all the power and control of those earlier years. With a strong backing band of multiple keyboards and singers, the sound is still spot on.
Nights in White Satin from the Seventh Sojourn album was a must play in the earlier and more familiar material second half of the show.
The Moodies are still magnificent.
The Moody Blues