Moody Blues Concert Review
October 29, 2008
from the Main-Spitze
This German newspaper has a nice review of the Moodies' October 29th concert at the Alte Oper. Here is the link to the German version:
To Fly High On Butterfly Wings
Below is an English translation, courtesy of Merlina at Travelling Eternity Road.
TO FLY HIGH ON BUTTERFLY WINGS
STILL TRAVELING AND STILL GOOD - THE MOODY BLUES
AT THE ALTE OPER, FRANKFURT
by Jens Frederiksen
October 31, 2008
Frankfurt: Suddenly a psychedelic billow, then an organ-sound and hissing. And as the synthesizer twitter gets structured by raspy guitar-sprinkles, even the bushy-bearded drummer in the back can't keep to his seat anymore. With friendly assistance from the young woman-flautist on the left stage rim he hobbles to the front, leans over the microphone and balances out with sonorous sprechgesang a vision of the rocket era which today no one would broadcast with such a surreal optimism anymore. "With the power of ten billion butterfly sneezes" mankind subjects the elements in that song. And as that happens, bass and lead-guitar climb up the scale remorselessly - and on the back wall Neil Armstrong's walk on the moon can be seen.
'Higher and Higher' is the title of the 1969 song, with which the artrock-group Moody Blues calls for the final spurt after two hours of performance at the Alte Oper in Frankfurt. Frontman Justin Hayward is standing in second row for once, band veteran John Lodge is handling his E-bass in a stoic way, whereas Graeme Edge is in full cry. Old men formation - as if! What started out punctually shortly after eight o'clock with a foolish happy-song and was continued with a nice 'Never Comes The Day,' has mushroomed into an intoxicating gig in the end.
Of the original formation, which created a furor at the end of the 60s, beginning of the 70s with it's pompously orchestrated concept albums, only the three mentioned are still there. Hayward - ironed jeans, carefully brushed blond hair - is the calming influence. His voice is smooth like ever, there is not a trace of fragility, not even in the high notes. If you close your eyes, you may well think that you are attending a studio session in the year 1970. By his side John Lodge works the bass - and now and then he comes into the middle for singing. He is not so much the ageless type like Hayward, but offers a nice counterpart with his throatier voice. Drummer Graeme Edge on the other hand has not much to do on his platform in the back - he is helped by a young co-drummer. An additional keyboarder, a multi-instrumentalist in an elegant long skirt and a fine young lady on second keyboard, who only now and then nonchalantly pushes a key, complete the tour-band.
Despite so much backing from younger forces, the 70s sound of the indigenous trio prevails without difficulty, by little guitar solo parts and brilliant refrains coming out of occasional electronical knots. What you are offered is a quick passage through all creative periods. Hayward's 12-string guitar guides you into the beautiful 'Wildest Dreams' which is driven by a steady beat. A winkingly jiggled singing part characterizes 'Isn't Love Strange.' All hells break loose during 'Singer In A Rock & Roll Band.' And the flawlessly performed 'Nights In White Satin' with flute in the middlepart and the toughly rocked out hit-single 'Ride My See-Saw' make sure that it's a custom-made finale.