Moody Blues Review - Celebrating 50 Years with Timeless Flight 2014 Tour at Ravinia

The Moody Blues are 50! And a celebratory crowd helped them usher in their golden year at Ravinia on a gorgeous summer Thursday night as part of their "Timeless Flight" tour. Drummer Graeme Edge, founding member of the band from 1964, frontman Justin Hayward and bassist John Lodge proved that a half-century hasn't diminished their ability to captivate and sway a crowd over a nearly two hour set spanning their entire career. In fact, they've aged like a fine wine--a little smoother, a little richer, a little mellower--just as delicious!

Photo courtesy of Ravinia

Opening with "Gemini Dream," to thunderous applause, the band slid right into "The Voice" while psychedelic artwork flashed on the screen behind them. The four-member back up band gave the impression of a much larger orchestra, effortlessly moving back and forth from percussion, keyboards, sax, flute and a second drum set.

The crowd-pleasing show was a blend of chart-topping hits, new material and fan favorites like "Stepping in the Slide Zone," "Nervous," and Hayward's mantra, "Say it with Love".

Though drummer Graeme Edge was joined by a second drummer, Gordon Marshall, who did a lot of the heavy lifting throughout the show, Edge sparkled with life, clearly rejoicing in the glow of adoring fans as he danced, sang, joked and soloed on "Higher and Higher."

The band made rock history with their 1967 release of "Days of Future Passed," and at times during the evening, it seemed as if no time at all had passed with Justin Hayward's voice as lush and full as it was decades ago, and Lodge's fingering on the bass as expert as ever

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Photo courtesy of Ravinia

Norda Mullen, classical flautist who joined the band for this tour, lent her haunting tones to numbers such as "Gypsy." The crowd roared approval for Moodie classic "The Story in Your Eyes."

Act II opened with the more pop-oriented "Your Wildest Dreams" while photos of the band were projected on the screens. They launched into one of the tunes that catapulted them into rock history, "Tuesday Afternoon," while an appreciative fan yelled "Justin!" and others danced in the aisles.

Photo courtesy of Ravinia

Edge took the crowd on a nostalgic tour of the past 50 years, waxing lyrical about playing festivals like Woodstock, which he said was "a bit of a mad time." He asked who in the audience was from the hippie generation, and hands all over the pavilion went up as Edge laughed, "Here we are. We made it!"

Then, he spoke with what appeared to be complete seriousness about some of the great men we've lost since the Moody Blues have been performing--such as Bob Hope, Johnny Cash and Steve Jobs. Then, without missing a beat, he cracked, "What are we left with now?" he asked. "No hope, no cash and no jobs!

 

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Photo courtesy of Ravinia

Traditional favorite "I'm Just A Singer in a Rock and Roll Band" had everyone rocking and dancing with abandon while Lodge and bandmates Hayward and Edge luxuriated in the adulation they still command 50 years after first taking the stage.

Photo courtesy of Ravinia

One of the most popular Moody Blues songs, "Question" with the powerful lyric, "I'm looking for someone to change my life, I'm looking for a miracle in my life," resounded like a prayer as the audience sang along in full voice.

Hayward's soul-searching vocals on "Nights in White Satin" brought the audience to their feet, where they remained for the band's rocking encore, "Ride My See-Saw."

"Hope you're having a great summer! Have a great life!" said Lodge as he and the band closed out a show that left fans of all ages satisfied and blissfully happy to have been able to bask in the golden glow of Graeme, Justin and John if only for a brief moment in time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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