It was in fact a dreary Tuesday afternoon March 30th in Montclair, NJ and yours truly had the opportunity to see one of the forefathers of progressive rock live in concert. I am a progressive rock fan and I have been to many shows in my short 26 years, but had yet to see the Moody Blues live. Today was going to be my day…or at least I thought. When I got to the venue and went to get my tickets, the typical publicist/writer's nightmare happened and I was not on the list. So in turn I was 'Moody' on this said Tuesday afternoon. After trying to get the situation sorted out and I must give a huge thanks to Lori from Rogers and Cowan, I was able to get into the show.
I went into the theater and took my seat and waited in anticipation for what was sure to be one of the best concert experiences I would ever have. After a few minutes of waiting the lights went down and the Moody Blues were introduced and took the stage. Just seeing these legends on the stage was enough in itself but to then hear them play those timeless songs was just breathtaking. Knowing that the band has been together since the late 1960's one would think that many of the original members would not still be touring…but the heart of the band is there and will continue to be until the very end. Founding members Justin Hayward, John Lodge and Graeme Edge may look a bit older than they did in the beginning…but worry not they sound as good as ever. Playing with an exceptional backing band consisting of a keyboard virtuoso, two amazing female background vocalists, flautists and guitarists and a second drummer, the band sounded as tight as ever…and if this was your first time seeing the band you would never know that they have been around for over 40 years.
The show was split into two acts, the first song of the night was "The Voice", and the moment that the first note hit, the audience was mesmerized. Accompanied by an amazing light show and video display the band tore through the "Day We Meet Again" followed by "Slide Zone", and "Gypsy". In between songs Justin and John took turns speaking to the audience thanking them for coming to the show and being fans and supporters of the band for all of these years.
After "Gypsy" the band played one of my all time favorite tracks "Tuesday Afternoon" it brought me back to the days when my father was playing the song for me on vinyl for the very first time. It was such an amazing memory and such an amazing moment at the same time. The only thing that could have made it better was if my Dad could have been with me at the show…but he wasn't about to drive up from North Carolina. (I gave him a full report afterward) After what was quite possibly my favorite song of the night, the band continued through their set of hits including: "Lean on Me", "Never Comes the Day", and "Peak Hour".
As the end of the first act drew near, the crowd was waiting with anticipation to see what the guys had up their sleeves next. And the band did not disappoint. They ended the first act with two all-time favorites, "I Know You're Out There Somewhere" and "Story in Your Eyes". Both songs were a great way to end of the first set of the show. Some fans seemed confused and thought the show was over…but they were quickly reassured that the Moody Blues would be returning in twenty minutes.
After grabbing a beer and waiting in the long line for the bathroom at the Wellmont Theater I returned to my seat eagerly anticipating the second half of the show. The band came back out onto the stage and dove head first into the classic track "Wildest Dreams" followed by a rousing rendition of "Isn't Life Strange". Throughout the show someone in the crowd was yelling "Happy Birthday Graeme" and I kept thinking to myself…is it really his birthday, or is this just one of those guys yelling "Freebird" like at a classic rock show…Well much to my chagrin, a little while into the second set the band announced that it indeed was Graeme's birthday. Happy Birthday was displayed across the video screen and the crowd and band sang to him. I couldn't believe that he had just turned 69 and was still playing as amazing as he had since the beginning. After the birthday celebration, the band got right back down to business playing fan favorites "The Other Side of Life", "Driftwood", "Higher and Higher" and "Are You Sitting Comfortably". Which indeed I was…I was seeing one of the best bands in all of rock history and the seats were pretty cushy as well.
Anyway back to the show, the crowd starting singing along yet again, when the band started playing "I'm Just a Singer in a Rock and Roll Band". The singing did not stop until after the band finished the duration of their second set. The final songs they played were "Late Lament", "Nights in White Satin" (my personal favorite) and finally they finished off the show with "Question". This would have been a great way to end the night…but the audience wanted more. The band returned to the stage for one more song. It was time for "Ride My See-Saw". The crowd stood during the entire song and then the show ended to standing ovation.
All in all an amazing night for a Moody Blues fan…sure it started off as a dreary Tuesday Afternoon, but after seeing this legendary band perform live, it was an extraordinary Tuesday evening!
1. THE VOICE
2. DAY WE MEET AGAIN
3. SLIDE ZONE
5. TUESDAY AFTERNOON
6. LEAN ON ME
7. NEVER COMES THE DAY
8. PEAK HOUR
9. I KNOW YOU'RE OUT THERE SOMEWHERE
10. STORY IN YOUR EYES
1. WILDEST DREAMS
2. ISN'T LIFE STRANGE
3. THE OTHER SIDE OF LIFE
5. HIGHER AND HIGHER
6. ARE YOU SITTING COMFORTABLY
7. SINGER IN A ROCK & ROLL BAND
8. LATE LAMENT
9. NIGHTS IN WHITE SATIN
11. RIDE MY SEE SAW