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The Moody Blues - Threshold of a Dream - Live at the Isle of Wight 1970 CD (album) cover

THRESHOLD OF A DREAM - LIVE AT THE ISLE OF WIGHT 1970

The Moody Blues

Crossover Prog


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Matti
COLLABORATOR
Neo-Prog Team
3 stars The Moody Blues was at the top of their fame when they performed in the famous Isle of Wight festival in 1970. They had just released Question of Balance, their fifth album. Are the expectations for this DVD fulfilled? Hmm, probably, but it could be better. Technical quality is pretty good for that age, though the camera work is not anyhow remarkable. Also for the band's behalf the visual side of the show is nothing special, nor it tries to be. Even the contact with the vast audience is a bit distant. I haven't seen other MB concerts of the old times to compare this to, but in the light of the live CD's I've heard, they always sound much better in the studio albums - naturally. (That's why I'm not so keen on their shows. I was glad to see this once but no need to return to this later.)

The set contains something from all the five albums, though clearly more from the then latest album plus Days Of Future Passed ('Tuesday Afternoon', 'The Sunset' and 'Nights in White Satin') than the three others. A very unnecessary track is at least 'Tortoise and the Hare'. Otherwise the track list is quite ordinary with hits such as 'Never Comes the Day', Pinder's 'Melancholy Man', Ray Thomas number 'Legend of a Mind' and the encore 'Ride My See-Saw'. Good stuff, even if I could easily name several missing songs that might have been fresher highlights.

Approximately 20 minutes of the contents (that leaves about an hour for the concert itself) is archive material of the festival and band members' thoughts of it nearly 30 years later. An interesting moment is Mike Pinder's demonstration of the mechanics of Mellotron! Graeme Edge is given the last word; he cites the poem 'Late Lament' which ends up the debut album. The man may look much older but the voice is very much the same. The collector of the band must have this DVD, for others a one-time viewing is satisfactory, if you can borrow it from a library for example.

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Send comments to Matti (BETA) | Report this review (#227719)
Posted Tuesday, July 21, 2009 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpää
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This DVD finally charmed me to appreciate the classic progressive rock material of this group. I have always been fascinated to see vintage performance films, giving a deeper impression of the musicians and the age of their time. First part of the film focuses to later time interviews of the group members, but skipping forward in tracks the real treasure is revealed, an uninterrupted document of the Isle of Wight concert, enhanced with nice footage from the festival area. Gig opens dynamically, introducing immediately the key strengths of the band's late 1960's & early 1970's creative phase; Strong melancholic and catching melodies, professional song writing abilities, deeply emotional approach and the Mellotrons fighting desperately to stay in tune. The song selection fitted very well to my own taste, and the romantic approach manifested in their group name and their early 1960's rhythm & blues style, had developed in these times neatly as thoughtful and warm-hearted hippie art rock. The film editor has had really good insight in my opinion, there are some very beautiful sequences focusing to the audience included. In the wonderful song "The Sunset" there are pretty poetic visions of that time generation, witnessed by the sun as they together walk towards the yesterdays tomorrow. Their most appreciated tune from the end of "Days of Future Passed" LP is given here a neat treatment, along with "Tuesday Afternoon", "Melancholy Man" and also the curious Timothy Leary song "Legend of A Mind". Like said in somewhat this manner at the interviews; "...Searching somekind of enlightenment, it's a worthy occupation of a young man". I also noted that the releaser has distributed official material from this film to YouTube. I find it pleasing that instead of banning unofficial clips they deliver fine quality promotion available from this fine and recommendable concert film to the potential purchasers.

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Send comments to Eetu Pellonpää (BETA) | Report this review (#279264)
Posted Saturday, April 24, 2010 | Review Permalink
Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Superb historical document

This documentary/concert video is a wonderful time capsule of The Moody Blues' performance at the Isle of Wight Festival, one of the most legendary of the counter-culture rock festivals of the day. This really is the whole package for the Moodies fan. It's a mixture of documentary and live performance. In the beginning it cuts between music and interview with band members talking about their career and memories of the gig. We get some explanation and instruction on the Mellotron and how they employed it with keyboard enthusiasts would enjoy. It begins with a recitation of Threshold lyrics against shots of the young people, while some may find it cheesy I thought it worked.

After the first section it cuts more to full songs without interruption, and as the sun sets over 600,000 people, it is a wonderful experience to kick back in your living room and take in the Moodies and the intoxicating festival vibe. They cover all of their hits of course but I most enjoyed a song called "Meloncholy Man" which they dedicated to a groupie. The sound quality is adequate for 1970 although challenged by today's standards. The video is just beautifully done, it looks like it was taken 10 minutes ago. Good shots, good vantage points, nice mixed in shots of the crowd and scene. The performance itself is a bit sloppy in places, and let's face it, a big festival PA is not the ideal circumstances to see a group as refined as the Moodies. But what gets lost from the circumstances is more than made up for by catching a classic band in their prime....youthful determination overcomes much. They commented on this during the interviews....that at that time they were not businessmen yet, no houses, families, or other things to worry about. They had each other and their music and they took it very seriously. It shows. This is why I love concerts of the great bands in their early years despite the sound quality issues. There is nothing like seeing the great when they still were a "band of brothers" as Waters puts it, when what they were doing was so much less scripted and so fresh.

Probably not an essential DVD for most proggers, but certainly a no-brainer for Moodies fans.

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Send comments to Finnforest (BETA) | Report this review (#943345)
Posted Saturday, April 13, 2013 | Review Permalink

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