Steve Smith: A review of the Moody Blues at the Hollywood Bowl Fifty years ago, singer-songwriter-guitarist Justin Hayward, singer-songwriter-bassist John Lodge and drummer Graeme Edge and their fellow members of England’s Moody Blues, keyboardist Mike Pinder and singer-songwriter-flutist Ray Thomas, recorded their “Days of Future Passed” album that time has shown to be a pioneering classic of classical rock music. Now, once and future Moodies Hayward, Lodge and Edge and their longtime touring backup members performed that landmark album in its entirety for the first time in eons, and backed by The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra under the baton of conductor Thomas Wilkins. Saturday night at before a full house of 17,500 devoted fans at the Hollywood Bowl, the result was spectacular. To hear the band perform songs by retired member Thomas and do so magically was nothing short of delightful. The militaristic cadence of Thomas’ “The Morning: Another Morning,” and the propulsive “Twilight Time,” that rocked far harder than on record, all surrounded by English composer-conductor Peter Knight’s rich, lush orchestrations that tied everything together, was a special treat for fans. The band might consider including these songs in its standard concert repertoire. Of course, while the crowd treated each moment with great appreciation, the biggest response was naturally saved for the album’s two all-time classic hits, “Tuesday Afternoon” and their signature song, “Nights in White Satin.” The first half of the evening was a showcase of 10 post-‘60s hits, beginning with 1972’s “I’m Just a Singer (In a Rock and Roll Band)” and including 1981’s “The Voice,” 1988’s “I Know You’re Out There Somewhere,” 1991’s “Say It with Love” and the song that continues to receive radio airplay perhaps more than any other, the wistful “Your Wildest Dreams.” Perhaps the biggest surprise is how powerful and effect Lodge’s 1972 Top 30 hit, “Isn’t Life Strange,” is realized in concert. The band turns this slow, mournful ballad into a full-blown epic. The band ended the evening with their 1970 hit, “Question,” that was enhanced by the Bowl’s patented fireworks. They then returned for one more, “Ride My See Saw,” from 1968. As with many of the artists from the ‘60s and early ‘70s, the most incredibly creative era in pop music history, Hayward, Lodge and Edge are now in their 70s. And, as with many of the artists from that period that are still out on the road after all these years, these three Moody Blues continue to delight their fans with outstanding performances.
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