The Moody Blues have always felt like an underappreciated band. While many of their peers are considered rock royalty, the Moody Blues had to wait nearly 20 years for their induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. While the band may never take the stage again, bassist and vocalist John Lodge is on the road celebrating the 55th anniversary of their masterwork Days of Future Passed and made a stop in Hartford, CT.
The evening was split into two sets. The first set saw John and his 10,000 Light Year band run through a mix of the Moody’s greatest hits, “Stepping In A Slide Zone”, “Legend of the Mind”, Gemini Dream”, “Isn’t Life Strange”, and “I’m Just A Singer (In A Rock and Roll Band”, deep cuts like “Nervous” and “One More Time To Live”, and even “Saved By The Music” from the 1975 Justin Hayward/John Lodge Blue Jays record.
It was clear from the beginning that the 10,000 Light Year band was up for the challenge of the Moody Blues catalog. Keyboardist Alan Hewitt spent 15 years with the Moody Blues and drummer Billy Ashbaugh also played with the band. The night was rounded out with guitarist Duffy King and cellist Jason Charboneau. Hewitt, in particular, shined as many of the orchestral parts were done on his keyboard as well as his spot-on backing vocals.
The Days of Future Passed set began after a brief intermission with a pre-recorded playing of “The Day Begins”. When I interviewed John this past November, he was very excited that he was able to record the late Graeme Edge reciting the poetry he wrote for the original record. As the set began, the late Graeme Edge appeared on screen reciting “Morning Glory”.
While Hewitt once again carried the weight of bringing the orchestral parts to stage on his keyboard, the star of the set was Yes frontman Jon Davison taking the lead vocal on “Tuesday Afternoon”, “Nights In White Satin”, and the encore “Ride My See-Saw”.
In my previous conversation with John, I asked him if he envisioned a time when the Moody Blues would get back together. His response was simply, “No, I don’t think so. Justin’s made his mind up about what he wants to do. I’m a Moody Blue and always will be a Moody Blue”. That statement makes these shows even more important as they keep the legacy of this great band alive. Like many of his peers, John’s voice may not be as strong as it once was, but he surrounds himself with a band that appreciates the legacy of the music and continues to play it for new generations.