Friday, August 29, 2014


I saw the Moody Blues last Tuesday night.  As usual I got higher than a giraffe’s ass and had an incredible time.  After seeing them for 37 times, each new time I wonder if they are gonna still have it or just go thru the motions.  Well, that night they were still incredible.
  We at least had the foresight to leave early for the show because when we got the U it was PACKED! Six different events and students coming back for fall classes.  As slow as I am, I could have walked faster than the car.  When we got to Northrop, the ramp was full so my wonderful concert friends let me off there and I sat out on the plaza and had plenty of time to “prepare” myself for the show and think about all the times I've seen them and met them.
Me and my good friend John Lodge.

Me and my good friend Justin Hayward

Me and my good friend Graeme Edge.

Me and my good friend Patrick Moraz.

Me and my good friend Ray Thomas.

The Original Moody Blues

It was as good as a concert can get.  Each year, like everyone else, the Moodies age a little bit more and one by one they drop out.  No more Ray Thomas, the flautist with the deep basso profundo voice.  They had a female flautist who was every bit as good as Ray but without the voice.  Her name is Norda and she is a very talented flautist. So although she won't sing and is not a substitute for Ray, she enables them to continue playing their songs as they did when Ray was there instead of replacing it with organ sound. So, in a way, it's kind of keeping Ray as a part of their sound, as a part of their stage presence. And I think that's nice.   And no more Mike Pinder, who I always thought of as the heart and soul of the Moodies.  He used to carry every album with his mellotron.  In fact, some call it the Pindertron.  Last night they had a great keyboardist but he only put out the actual mellotron sound on one song, all the others were electronic keyboard sounds with the same melody but a different flavor.  I thought it was quite good.  They also had two drummers.  Graham Edge pretty much kept time for the whole evening except for one great drum solo.  He also sang the two numbers he’s most known for, Higher and Higher and Late Lament.  And he did a short stand-up comedy routine which I didn’t understand one word of.  Others might have since there was a lot of laughter.  But what I did understand was when at the end, he said the Moodies were celebrating an anniversary this year.  FIFTY FREAKING YEARS!  OH MY GAWD!  Can it really be??   
Not only that but the Moodies are touring MACHINES.  This year they are doing 24 concerts in 30 days this fall and this spring they performed 26 concerts in a 36 day stretch.  In 2013, they did 54 concerts, in 2012 it was 55 concerts.  They have consistently toured that way for 48 of the 50 years.  They slowed down a bit in 1995-96 playing successive dates in casinos except for a three day run in South Africa at the Super Bowl and one at the Hollywood Bowl.  They didn’t do any concerts in 1982 and 1985 but other than that they have been going strong since 1964. TWO THOUSAND THREE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY SEVEN concerts, but who’s counting?
As I was saying, the second drummer carried the heavy load for the show.  Incidentally the three Moodies were brightly lit but the second drummer and others were pretty much in the dark.  I could see the drummer, who stood for a lot of the numbers doing an adagio dance gracefully striking the cymbals. 
I stood in the side aisle for most of the show since I can’t do my twerking sitting down.  During the intermission I thought I’d go down in front just to check out the perspective up close and there I saw a woman sitting in the front row right in the center so I had to axt her how she got that seat.  She told me she was a big fan and bought a package with those seats as well as a back stage pass and an assortment of merchandise for $300 dollars.  Three hundred dollars?!  Back in the day, I woulda done that in a minute.  So I thought I’d try to impress her and say I was a fan too and had seen them about 37 times. Then I axted her, "How many times have YOU seen them?" and she instantly rattled off, “This is my 371st concert but I’ve only been going since 1991.”  Good grief, that really put me in my place! 
The second half as one bash after another and for the encore I just had to rush the stage.  For the last three songs, I was right up against the stage, drinking it all in, up close and personal.  I always feel a little sad when they play the last song of the evening, it’s always the same, Ride My Seesaw, and I think, DAMN it’s almost over for another year.  But it always leaves me singing for about 24 hours!
The Moody Blues!

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