Review: Moody Blues keep them standing at the Clay Center

The Moody Blues The Moody Blues CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The Moody Blues opened Sunday night's show at the Clay Center with no warm-up band and little fanfare -- save for a thunderous standing ovation. Turns out, nearly every song was rewarded with a standing ovation, so it's safe to say the band was well received from the full house of mostly Baby Boomers. The one drunk guy in the whole audience (let's call him Premature Applauder) happened to be seated in my row, but other than that the concert was a pleasant experience. While it's true that the band's music, with its orchestral flourishes and dreamy interludes, doesn't hold up as well today as say, the straight-up bar rock of the Rolling Stones, the Moody Blues gave a solid performance that did not disappoint. The British band that gave the world "Nights in White Satin" took its audience on a nostalgic trip through the psychedelic '60s to the MTV-generated '80s, delivering most of the expected hits and a smattering of lesser-known offerings. The band's three original members -- Justin Hayward, John Lodge and Graeme Edge -- opened with "Gemini Dream," with the assistance of a backing band on flutes, saxophone, keyboard and auxiliary drums. A video screen onstage supplied visual stimulation, from computer-generated animation to album stills and old concert footage. The band covered most of the expected songs in its 90-minute set, including, "Tuesday Afternoon," "I Know You're Out There" "I'm Just a Singer (in a Rock and Roll Band)" and "Wildest Dreams." Noticeably missing was "Go Now," one of the Moody Blues' earliest hits. All three bandmates shared vocal duty, including Edge, who came down from his riser to entertain the audience with a healthy dose of self-deprecating humor and danced an impromptu Irish jig before returning to his drum kit. Not surprisingly, the show closed with a lush and lovely rendition of "Nights in White Satin," which celebrates its 45th anniversary this year. One can't help but wonder if the song has been both a blessing and a curse: a blessing in that it's become the band's signature song among a sizeable catalogue of hits, but a curse in that they're obligated to perform it at every show. (I can just hear them saying, " 'Nights in White Satin' again? Can't we leave it off the set list just one time?") The last song followed with two encores, "Question" and "Ride My See-Saw," and the audience cheered as the lights came up.
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