Peter Feldman: After all these years the famed Moody Blues are still going strong and showing no signs of slowing down.
They will be in South Africa this week for two concerts, one at Cape Town’s Grand West Arena on 30 May and the other at the Coca Cola Dome, on June 1. They share the British Invasion Tour with 10cc and Procol Harum.
It will be The Moody Blues second trip as they visited Sun City for concerts in 1995 and had the pleasure of spending time with the then World Cup-winning Springboks who were at the resort.
The band’s iconic track, “Nights in White Satin,” features in the new Johnny Depp film, “Dark Shadows,” and a recent tour across America’s East Coast was, according to Pollstar magazine, one of the Top 20 (hitting #17) grossing tours this year.
The tour celebrated the 45th Anniversary of their landmark album “Days of Future Passed. “Nights in White Satin” was originally released from the album and it marked one of the first four-minute songs played on the radio, continuing on to become one of the biggest selling singles in history, and hitting #1 spot three separate times on Billboard.
“We’re having the best years concert-wise that we’ve ever had,” band member Justin Hayward said in a telephone interview from Monaco.
Hayward was 19 when he wrote the song after a gig. “It really is the reflections of a young person. I had just finished one love affair and I was just starting another huge one. It was a series of random thoughts and there’s a lot of truth in it. I do write letters never meaning to send, or probably emails where I don’t press send,” he laughed. He described the record as “mysterious” and “curios” because there is “almost nothing on the record…that’s the curious thing about it because in those early recordings there is no double tracking, it’s just quite a lot of echo and very little else. It’s all in the listener’s mind.”
Asked about their concerts, Hayward said they would perform songs from just about every album they’d made over the years. “With us it’s not what we play it’s what we leave out. We have got so much material to choose from because we were an album band. The first half of our set is really about the newer things and when I say newer I’m talking about the 80s and 90s really. The second half are songs we couldn’t get off stage without playing. It’s really the greatest hits from Nights in White in Satin to Ride My Seesaw and those kind of things. It’s a great show and I think this is the best reincarnation of the band I’ve ever been in. There is John Lodge and Graeme Edge. We’re the rhythm section and we’re really re-discovering some of the material that we made in those early albums, actually we only played for a day during the recording which in those days was not a lengthy process. To rediscover these songs and to play them every night is great.
“It’s difficult to choose a repertoire from so many songs. There are certain numbers we just have to play otherwise audiences will feel cheated, I know I would if I went to see an act and they didn’t play their hits.”