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The Moody Blues - Lovely To See You Live (DVD) CD (album) cover

LOVELY TO SEE YOU LIVE (DVD)

The Moody Blues

Crossover Prog


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SouthSideoftheSky
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Symphonic Team
3 stars We're just rock & roll singers (in a rock & roll band)

Most of the bands I listen to consist of members who are about twice as old as I am myself. But The Moody Blues are older still. These guys were already touring America - and their songs were played on the radio - when Yes, Genesis and King Crimson were just starting out making music. When these bands released their respective debut albums, The Moody Blues already had about five albums under their belt. The Moody Blues simply belong to an earlier generation of bands represented by the likes of The Beatles, The Who, Procol Harum and perhaps Pink Floyd.

On this DVD we get a full live performance, filmed and recorded in Los Angeles in this millennium. Impressively, the set list features songs from five different decades! The show starts with two very old songs in Lovely To See You and Tuesday Afternoon. It continues with a song from the 90's called Lean On Me (Tonight) which was a song I had not heard before. It sounds very much like a Beatles song, indeed too much so, I think. Another older song follows, The Actor. In my opinion these first four songs constitute a very weak start of the show. These are not at all bad songs, but they are much too low key to open a concert. The next number, Stepping In A Slide Zone, is the first song that really rocks and would have been much better as a concert opener.

The portion of the show from Stepping In A Slide Zone onwards is much better than the weak introductory portion. The Voice is a good song with a symphonic intro and The Story In Your Eyes, Isn't Life Strange, I'm Just A Rock & Roll Singer (In A Rock & Roll Band) and Question are all very good songs. Forever Autumn is a song originally from Jeff Wayne's The War Of The Worlds album and is a very beautiful song. Even some newer songs that I had never heard before like I Know You're Out There Somewhere and Your Wildest Dreams are decent. December Snow is the most recent song and it is utterly forgettable. Indeed, I just heard it a minute ago and I don't remember anything about it! Higher And Higher is an alright number but it is destroyed by Graeme Edge insisting on dancing around the stage in a very embarrassing manner!

As you may have noticed, Ray Thomas was no longer in the band at this time so none of his songs are performed. This is a good thing in my opinion since I never much liked his songs. On the other Moody Blues DVD I have, Thomas feels largely like the fifth wheel, spending most of the concert just sitting there and only occasionally playing a bit of flute and singing a couple of songs.

The ending of the show suffers from the same problem as the start of the concert. After the eternal Nights In White Satin we are given a powerful performance of Question. This would have been a perfect place to stop, but they insist on playing Ride My see-Saw which, for me, is something of an anti-climax.

The Moody Blues is not one of my favourite bands, and this DVD, though enjoyable, will not chance that.

Good, but non-essential.

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Send comments to SouthSideoftheSky (BETA) | Report this review (#211024)
Posted Saturday, April 11, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars This 2005 concert is a treat for old Moodies fans like myself. It contains nothing new but has a fresh sound, probably resulting from the latest group of excellent supporting musicians, and the simpler arrangements without orchestra. But the new lease on life may also come from the fact that Justin and John were in the midst of remastering the classic seven albums for SACD release. We get to hear nice renditions of some of those old songs in this concert. The DVD has accompanying band interviews with Justin, John and Graeme as well. Some of us miss hearing Ray Thomas; hopefully he's enjoying his retirement. Check out the 2000 Hall Of Fame concert video and cd for more good Moodies concert footage.

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Send comments to DocB (BETA) | Report this review (#221833)
Posted Friday, June 19, 2009 | Review Permalink
Finnforest
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Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Lovely to see you indeed

I often rail against rock and roll senior citizens. Too often I have to agree with Grace Slick's ranting on the subject. She says rock is a young person's game and that her peers should have the common sense to know when it's time to take up painting. Instead we now have "rockers" around age 70 still hauling in the big paychecks singing material they wrote as young men. Worse than having little true conviction to the material is the inability to "get it up" anymore. They play the songs slower, they can't hit the notes (coughhhrobertandgeddy), or they can barely move. Come on people. You're still gonna pay huge bucks to see such mediocrity?

However, occasionally I come across veterans who not only manage to pull it off, but actually do it well enough to put across something genuinely moving and worthwhile. The Moody Blues deliver a set here that is dignified, well done, and enjoyable. This is probably because they wrote timeless material that doesn't sound silly coming from an older person. And they can still sing their parts with relative ease. As only three of the long timers remain they have filled in the rest of the stage with new faces who do a fine job, especially flautist Norda Mullen who seems to have won over the fan base already with her energy.

The show is recorded in Los Angeles and features a simple stage presentation but tasteful lightning, bathing the band in blues and soft purples. Highlights include an early Tuesday Afternoon and The Actor. I would have preferred more Long Distance Voyager but they do sample it with The Voice and Talking Out Of Turn. There is a beautiful acoustic number called Forever Autumn from a Hayward soundtrack collaboration. Then they bring down the house with a poignant, beautiful Isn't Life Strange from the Seventh Sojourn album. This one really seemed to touch people with its melancholy lyrics, I believe there are a few tears in the audience. It also seemed to energize everyone in the band.

They got better as the show went on and positively rocked on Question, Higher and Higher, while delivering all the regal majesty on their classic Nights in White Satin. Hayward just excelled at the show's climax, the fast guitar part at the beginning of Question seemed faster if anything, and his leads were right on the mark though he rarely deviated from the album leads. The Moodies have proven remarkably resilient over all this time and their material holds up. I got a little emotional at the end. It is not lost on me that I'm watching old friends here, voices that have been a part of my life for all of my life, and are rapidly nearing retirement based simply on the math. These voices will be missed and this is a great final document....if it proves to be their last major DVD release. While they were never my favorite band and still aren't I consider their music a treasured part of the last half century.

The extra is a warm and laid back 30 minute interview with Hayward, Lodge, and Edge. At first the questions are short ice breakers moving quickly back and forth between members, but eventually they all take them into more philosophical areas discussing family, art, and fans. They seem genuinely grateful for their long ride and they seem to enjoy being together yet, without the animosity we know exists in some of the other long time bands. The sound on the DVD is decent enough although not perfect. At times there are some anomalies which irritated me and I could use more bass. But don't let that stop you from catching up with old friends.

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Send comments to Finnforest (BETA) | Report this review (#1160991)
Posted Sunday, April 13, 2014 | Review Permalink

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