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Chicago Theatre, July 18, 2007

Seeing The Band Arrive
This was my very first Moody Blues concert, and I wanted to experience it to the fullest!

I took the train downtown and arrived at the theater around 3:30. I located the stage door and began my vigil.

The stage door is along the alley, and there was a very large purple semi-truck parked there. There was a lot of activity....vans and cars coming and going and interesting people passing by. The caterers arrived at 4:00. I talked to the owner, who said that he catered breakfast, lunch and dinner for the crew, who had been there all day. When the band arrived, they would do a sound check and then have their dinner.

I didn't know what mode of transportation the band would be using, so I kept my eyes open for a bus. At 5:00, a white van pulled up, and soon I saw Paul and Gordy coming my way. I didn't have my camera ready, but I said "hi" to Gordy, and he said "hi" back. They walked past me through the stage door.

About 15 minutes later, a dark van pulled up, and soon I was face-to-face with the Moody Blues! This time I was ready, and I got three nice pictures of them. As I brought my camera down, I smiled at Justin. His expression perked up, he gave me a little half-smile, and HE RAISED HIS EYEBROWS AT ME! At this point, I didn't care if I never got another day was complete, and the show was still three hours away!

The Concert
Words cannot express how excited I was when I got to my seat. I had purchased my front-row ticket through MBT, and was not disappointed!

I am a concert newbie, and I was surprised at how loud it was. True, I was right in front of a speaker, but I didn't like the ringing in my ears after the show was over! It was an excellent crowd, from what I could see (and hear). As for the balance, only once did I hear Julie's voice louder than maybe it should have been, and that was during the intro to Are You Sitting Comfortably. Otherwise, it was fine for me. Loud, but fine!

Gordy puts on one heck of a show during Isn't Life Strange, doesn't he? He was standing up, banging every drum and cymbal he had! The drumstick toss during Your Wildest Dreams made me laugh....Gordy missed one, and I had the urge to cry "incoming!" Paul was smiling all the time. He really appears to love what he does.

John has incredible stage presence. He really plays to the crowd. He was right in front of me quite often, and he came so far forward, the toes of his black boots were hanging over the edge of the stage.

Fans had been worried about how Justin was feeling. I did see him cough once, just as he was coming in on the "desolation" part in One More Time To Live. I also saw him wipe his nose, and once or twice I thought he sounded just the slightest bit hoarse. But otherwise he seemed OK.

During the first half, Justin wore a white shirt (untucked), jeans and canvas shoes. He looked really comfortable. He didn't do any extra chatting with the audience. He seemed a bit reserved, but there were quite a few smiles, too. He drinks a lot of water! He was right in front of me twice during the show. He looked absolutely beautiful, and best of all, he was real! The image of his golden hair in front of the brilliant royal blue background is burned in my memory forever. Everyone who says he looks younger and cuter in person is absolutely right. When he was directly in front of me, he looked mostly to the balcony. When he was in his regular spot, he looked our way quite a bit. I believe there was direct eye contact a few times, but without my glasses, I'm not sure (yes, I'm vain!).

I didn't watch the slideshow very much, since from my angle it wasn't behind the band. Two songs were accompanied by the original videos: The Other Side Of Life and I'm Just A Singer In A Rock & Roll Band. I did notice the lovely light show during December Snow. The album cover had falling twinkly snowflakes, and swirling twinkly lights were projected onto the sides of the theater. Very nice.

During the beginning of One More Time To Live, I didn't really see Justin stare at the ceiling, but he did look a little bit "disconnected." It really looks like he doesn't like to sing that song. During Are You Sitting Comfortably, while Norda was doing her flute solo, I watched Justin playing his guitar. His eyes were closed, he was smiling a little, and he looked so peaceful. He was in his own little world, and it was a really lovely thing to see. During December Snow, Justin and Paul had such a nice instrumental sequence. Justin was watching Paul and was truly responding to his keyboard passages with his own playing. That's such a lovely song.

During Graeme's intro to Higher & Higher, he didn't say, "When my hair was brown and my teeth were white," he said, "Before I went prematurely silver." During Late Lament, his line "Senior citizens wish they were young" didn't just get a laugh, it also got applause from a good portion of the audience!

I think we tried to outdo other audiences with the length of our standing ovation for Nights In White Satin. While it was going on, John leaned back, crossed his arms and had this comical grin on his face as if to say, "OK, when you're finished we'll continue with the show." Justin didn't really know what to do. I'm sure he was grateful, but he seemed a bit uncomfortable.

At the end, when the audience came forward, I was already at the stage. Two very drunk women kept trying to push their way in front of us, and we would firmly push them back. I glanced at Paul, and he shrugged and gave us an "oh well, what are you gonna do?" look. When it was all over and Justin was leaving the stage, I leaned over the edge and watched him until I couldn't see him anymore.

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