Born to perform with conviction
By Martin Hutchinson
THE MOODY BLUES
WEDNESDAY JUNE 12
O2 APOLLO, MANCHESTER
EXPERIENCING The Moody Blues live has got to be one of the most rewarding things you can do as a music fan.
Their music is timeless, emotional and downright exciting and on stage they play it with conviction. Don’t just take my word for it, you can ask any of the people that filled The Apollo on a drizzly June night.
Beginning with Gemini Dream, the band was born to perform and the crowd lapped it up. There were standing ovations following most of the songs and in fact, the applause was so lengthy that if the ovations were of normal length, they could have fitted in another couple of songs.
Naturally we got all the hits from Tuesday Afternoon, Question, Ride my See Saw, the sublime I Know You’re Out There Somewhere and of course Nights in White Satin.
Following that particular song, the applause rang out long and loud and even the core members of the band, Justin Hayward, John Lodge and Graeme Edge genuinely seemed astounded at the depth of feeling and adulation that the crowd generated.
Let’s face it though, these guys are not in the first flush of youth as the band is now approaching it’s 50th birthday and Justin and John have been on board since 1966. Drummer Graeme Edge quipped that for his recent 72nd birthday, he had been bought an all-terrain……. Zimmer frame. And just before he blew out the candles on his cake, the sprinklers went off.
Not with standing, this elder statesman of music put in an energetic performance of Higher and Higher.
The core trio are backed by a quartet of fine musicians; Gordon Marshall on a second drum-kit, Norda Mullen on flute, guitar and keyboards, Julie Ragins on keyboards and Alan Hewitt – the most recent recruit as the main keyboard player.
All the band’s greatest songs were performed, and it has to be said that, although these guys play these songs almost every night all over the world, they really seemed to enjoy playing them.
As a consequence, we enjoyed it all the more. Not only were we treated to the familiar songs from the canon like Steppin’ in the Slide Zone, Your Wildest Dreams and the ethereal Isn’t Life Strange; we were also treated to a few songs that the band have only recently added to the set-list: Nervous, Say It With Love and You and Me amongst them.
Serious music makers – yes, but they still have humour which endears them to us more. For instance, after Graeme Edge’s frantic performance, Justin Hayward quipped: “Can we do a quieter one now?” before playing the delicate Driftwood.
As is the way of all good things, it came to an end all too quickly. That was the only thing wrong with the concert – it ended.
Gemini Dreams, The Voice, Steppin’’ in the Slide Zone, You and Me, Tuesday Afternoon, Gypsy, Nervous, Say it With Love, Peak Hour, I Know You’re Out There Somewhere, Story in Your Eyes.
Your Wildest Dreams, Isn’t Life Strange, The Other Side of Life, Higher and Higher, Driftwood, Singer in aRock n Roll Band, Late Lament, Nights in White Satin, Question.
Ride my See Saw.