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Saturday, February 16 , 2019, 4:08 pm | A Few Clouds 61º

 
 
 
 

Jeff Moehlis: The Magnificent Moody Blues

Long-running band plays hits spanning several decades at The Granada

There aren’t a lot of active rock-‘n’-roll bands — The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys and Dutch band Golden Earring are the only ones that spring to mind — that have been together as long as The Moody Blues, who apart from a mid-1970s hiatus have been recording and/or performing since 1964.

One of the original Moodies was drummer Graeme Edge, who is still with the band. Current members Justin Hayward (guitar, vocals) and John Lodge (bass, vocals) joined in time for 1967’s classic album Days of Future Passed, which marked a shift from their early rhythm-and-blues sound to the lush and musically and lyrically ambitious sound that we know and (many of us) love.

The lineup with Hayward, Lodge and Edge recorded at least one more classic album — 1971’s Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, which incidentally is a mnemonic for the lines in the treble clef — and an impressive catalog of songs from across the decades.

Many well-known and well-loved songs were on the program for The Moody Blues’ crowd-pleasing, sold-out concert at The Granada on Tuesday night, with Hayward, Lodge and Edge joined by a stellar group of supporting musicians: Alan Hewitt (keyboard), Norda Mullen (flute, guitar, vocals), Julie Ragins (keyboards, guitar, vocals) and Gordon Marshall (drums).

The show kicked off with “The Voice” — think “Oh won’t you tell me again / Can you feel it / Oh won’t you tell me again / tonight” — an early reminder of The Moody Blues’ respectable comeback in the 1980s. Also from this era were the hits “I Know You’re Out There Somewhere” and “Your Wildest Dreams,” which started the post-intermission second set.

But it was the late-1960s and early-‘70s material that really struck a chord. This included the timeless “Tuesday Afternoon,” the alternately delicate and majestic “Isn’t Life Strange” with ultra-rapid cymbal rolls from Marshall, the contrasting-tempo epic “Question” and the yearning “Nights in White Satin” with spoken intro by Edge and stars courtesy of a disco-ball. They also rocked out to “The Story in Your Eyes,” “I’m Just a Singer (In a Rock and Roll Band)” with an extended guitar jam, and the rousing encore “Ride My See Saw.”

There were also some cool lesser-known tracks from their catalog, such as the groovy “Peak Time” and Edge’s “Higher and Higher,” which was inspired by Neil Armstrong’s and Buzz Aldrin’s lunar landing. Edge came out from behind his kit to lead the latter, plus to playfully do what I will dub an old man Riverdance.

The Moody Blues’ longevity was honored through pictures and videos of the band from days of yore projected onto a screen at the back of the stage, which at other times displayed some appropriately trippy graphics. After 40-plus years, the band is still going strong and sounding great.

Them Moodies are still magnificent, methinks.

Setlist

The Voice
The Day We Meet Again
Steppin’ in a Slide Zone
Gypsy
Tuesday Afternoon
Lean On Me (Tonight)
Meanwhile
Peak Hour
I Know You’re Out There Somewhere
The Story In Your Eyes
Your Wildest Dreams
Isn’t Life Strange
The Other Side of Life
Driftwood
Higher and Higher
Are You Sitting Comfortably?
I’m Just a Singer (In a Rock and Roll Band)
Nights in White Satin
Question

Encore: Ride My See Saw

Noozhawk contributor Jeff Moehlis is an associate professor of mechanical engineering at UCSB. Upcoming show recommendations, advice from musicians, interviews and more are available on his Web site, music-illuminati.com.

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