About a dozen years have passed since Donna and I last saw the Moody Blues in concert. They are one of our favorite musical acts of all time. I was barely a teenager when the band began its successful run. Their music has held up well over time.
But the wheel of time is rolling, and the band is showing its age. Actually, only 1 member of the original group remains -- Graeme Edge, the drummer. John Lodge, bassist, and Justin Hayward, lead guitar and lead vocalist, did not join the group until about 2 years after its formation. Ray Thomas, another original member and flutist, retired from the group in about 2002. He has since been replaced by Norda Mullen, who plays guitar and provides backup vocals in addition to the flute.
Other members of the backup stage band for the group on this tour were Julie Ragins (keyboard, sax, and backup vocals), Gordon Marshall (drums), and Alan Hewitt (keyboards and backup vocals). All of the backup band members seem to be very talented and comfortable on stage. Mullen especially had several opportunities to display her talent on the flute, and the audience was appreciative.
The show started slowly, with the band playing several of their lessor known songs. The pace was slow and awkward. Momemtum began to build after nearly an hour, and peaked with their last song just prior to their 20 minute break. The second half of the show was much better, and the audience was on its feet for the last few numbers.
Hayward's guitar playing skill is still evident, but his voice is not as strong and clear as it once was. However, it seemed to improve as the show worked toward its end. By the time he sang "Nights in White Satin" and "Question", his voice had gained considerable power.
Edge has also slowed. Marshall picked up the slack admirably and put a great deal of enthusiasm and energy into the show.
Lodge still enjoys being on stage. He interacts with the audience throughout, and the smile never leaves his face.
We enjoyed the show. I'm glad we went. I did not know how much I would enjoy the act since the last time we attended a Moody Blues concert, Ray Thomas was still on stage. I just don't know how much longer the current version of the Moody Blues will continue. The older members are now about 65 to 70 or thereabouts, so the clock is ticking. They all appear to be in good health, but one has to wonder how long someone this age wants to continue touring.