Moody Blues leads nostalgia trip at the Tent By Doug Fraser HYANNIS – If you reached double digits in the 1960s, and there were many on hand at the Melody Tent Friday night, you knew the Moody Blues. They had monster hits, spread across decades, spanning two continents, that dominated the airwaves. People found their mixture of hard rock, sentimental melancholy and romance, and a kind of vague mysticism, appealing. And they really did stretch pop boundaries at the time while cranking out some pretty rocking tuneful songs. And so, in the 50th year of their existence, how good did they sound playing to a sold out Melody Tent crowd? Pretty good, sometimes great, although John Lodge's bass seemed turned up so loud that it sometimes muddied the sound quality. Original members Lodge and lead guitarist Justin Hayward are approaching 70, and drummer Graeme Edge is 73, but it would have been hard to tell that time had passed listening to their final set, which included many of their hits. The band wrapped up the night with a hard-driving “Ride My See-Saw.” Lodge, looking the part of rock god with a Rockin' Roddie hairdo, skinny jeans and boots, is a nimble fingered bassist and, although Hayward trods many well-worn paths with his guitar solos, he can still rip off a strong lead. “See-Saw” is a hymn to the underclass but always seemed a kind of psychedelic song with echoey vocals and the mystical spoken word preamble. Friday night, it was just a great piece of rock and roll history, played by guys who know how. The band started out the night playing to the deep fan base on hand, with songs that would be relatively obscure to those who didn't buy the albums but danced to the hits. With two drummers, a sax and flute player who also sang vocals, and a keyboardist/synthesizer, the Moody Blues were capable of duplicating the spacious harmonies and lush, almost orchestral sounds that often served as an interesting counterpoint to the rock. As the hits filtered in, the band also seemed to pick up the pace and the audience became more engaged. “I Know You're Out There Somewhere” brought the audience to its feet with its jangly, upbeat rhythm. “In Your Wildest Dream” was a rollicking tune, that seemed a little disjointed in execution with a jumbled sound that was rescued by some nice harmonizing by the band. “Isn't Life Strange” with its kind of Bee Gees-esque quavery lead solo by Lodge showed some nice shifts from the melancholic to rock anthem. This song really kicked off the sing-along portion of the evening with the audience freely participating as the hits rolled on, including two of the most familiar “Tuesday Afternoon” and “Nights in White Satin.” When you have so many hits, it's pretty easy to please and Friday night's big nostalgia trip was well done, technical glitches aside. Maybe it was telling that the line for T-shirts at intermission was longer than the lines for beer.
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