Moody Blues Try To Keep The Old Favourites Fresh

Times Colonist
The Moody Blues The Moody Blues
The question is, how many times can the Moody Blues play Nights in White Satin? The English prog-rock band — which has sold more than 70 million albums worldwide — released its seven-minute opus back in 1967. This means the boys have been singing their romantic ballad about never-sent letters and missed beauty for 44 solid years. Drummer Graeme Edge, 70, says he keeps vintage hits fresh in concert simply by connecting with the fans. "With the reflected light off the stage, I can see the first five or six rows," he said from Toronto recently. "You hit the first bar , the people turn and just look at each other. The ones that it's special for, I just pick them out and I watch them. And I draw energy from them." Like most classic rock bands, the Moody Blues often tell interviewers they're attracting new young followers all the time. Still, the bedrock of Moodies fandom is unquestionably baby boomers who remember their late-'60s early '70s heyday. Days of Future Passed (1967), featuring the songs Nights in White Satin and Tuesday Afternoon, remains the essential Moody Blues recording, although they went on to cut other successful albums including Every Good Boy Deserves Favour (1971) and Seventh Sojourn (1972). The 17-city Canadian tour finishing in Victoria on Saturday night features original Moody Blues members Edge, John Lodge and Justin Hayward. However, it is Edge who's considered the longest-serving member (Lodge was also there at the beginning, but left for a time to attend college). Edge was a Moody Blue when they were, like many British groups, an R&B outfit. The early Moodies had a 1964 hit with Go Now. But, says Edge, blues-oriented music wasn't truly an authentic path for the young Brits. "We suddenly found ourselves singing about picking a bale of cotton and smokestack lightning. We didn't really know what the words meant," said Edge, whose voice recalls the gravelly cadences of actor Bob Hoskins. As well as playing favourites, Edge says the Moody Blues keep things interesting by regularly reintroducing old songs from their catalogue. The current tour includes dusted-off versions of Talking Out of Turn (1981) and The Day We Meet Again (1978). "It's fun for us to get them out. We don't really change them," he said, adding that the band returns to the original recordings to ensure details are correct. As for the future of the Moodies, the band plans to keep on keepin' on. Edge says they recently met with their agent, making plans to continue as far as a 2013 tour of England. An avid sailor, Edge has for 20 years lived south of Tampa Bay, Florida. He loves the area. But there are two things the Birmingham native still misses about home: Cornish pasties and British sausages. "Here in Canada they do a good sausage … the almost-English sausages are very good. But unfortunately, and I checked it out, you can't import them into America," he said.
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