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The Moody Blues

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The Moody Blues Live at the Isle of Wight 1970 album cover
3.42 | 21 ratings | 4 reviews | 10% 5 stars

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Live, released in 2008

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Gypsy (3:16)
2. Sunset (3:59)
3. Tuesday Afternoon (4:18)
4. Minstrel's Song (4:25)
5. Never Comes the Day (4:45)
6. Tortoise and the Hare (3:29)
7. Question (5:44)
8. Melancholy Man (5:32)
9. Are You Sitting Comfortably? (3:45)
10. The Dream (1:41)
11. Have You Heard (Part 1) / The Voyage / Have You Heard (Part 2) (7:56)
12. Nights in White Satin (5:00)
13. Legend of a Mind (6:37)
14. Ride my See Saw (3:36)

Total Time 61:23

Line-up / Musicians

- Justin Hayward / guitars, lead vocals
- Graeme Edge / drums
- Mike Pinder / mellotron, lead vocals
- Ray Thomas / flute, tambourine, lead vocals
- John Lodge / bass, lead vocals

Releases information

Recorded in August 1970 at the Isle of Wight Festival

Thanks to Einsetumadur for the addition
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THE MOODY BLUES Live at the Isle of Wight 1970 ratings distribution

(21 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(10%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(57%)
Good, but non-essential (24%)
Collectors/fans only (10%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

THE MOODY BLUES Live at the Isle of Wight 1970 reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by seventhsojourn
2 stars When The Moody Blues played at the famously shambolic Isle of Wight festival in 1970 they were at the peak of their popularity. Their fifth album, A Question Of Balance, was #1 in the UK album chart and the single Question had only been kept off the #1 spot by the England World Cup team. The Moodies were veterans of the previous year's festival but on this occasion they had the honour of being on the final day's bill, along with Jimi Hendrix who was making what would prove to be his last live appearance in England three weeks prior to his death. ELP had also appeared on the previous day, their set culminating with Emerson and Lake lighting two cannons at either side of the stage. No such pyrotechnics from the gentle Moodies of course, although Mike Pinder does sound uncharacteristically aggressive on Melancholy Man.

The set list here is very similar to that on Caught Live + 5, which was recorded one year earlier and was an excellent showcase for the band. There are only four new songs from A Question Of Balance featured on the Isle of Wight set, so I think the market for this release may be somewhat limited. The fast sections of Question are energetic if a little chaotic, but the song gets a good reception from the crowd. As I said above, Pinder's vocals on Melancholy Man are tinged with a harsher edge than is usual, and he substitutes Mellotron for the synthesizer of the studio version. There's only one Ray Thomas song here (Legend Of A Mind), and I would have liked a live version of And The Tide Rushes In. As it is, a couple of new John Lodge songs are featured, these being the folksy sing-along Minstrel's Song and the rocker Tortoise And The Hare.

The remainder of the album comprises all the older favourites with the suite of 5 consecutive songs from On The Threshold Of A Dream being the highlight for me. The Voyage isn't actually listed in the cd's track list but it's here, where it should be, sandwiched between the two parts of Have You Heard. Despite the complexity of the older material the band perform well, possibly better than on the new songs which were supposedly more stripped-down to facilitate live performance. Considering that Caught Live + 5 has been around for over thirty years and has the bonus of containing five rare studio recordings, I can really only see the Isle of Wight album appealing to serious fans. I love it of course.

Review by tarkus1980
4 stars A nice album to have if you like Caught Live + 5. The main distinguishing feature of this show, of course, was that it was in front of one of the largest festival crowds in the history of rock music, and there's something strangely odd about the idea of this music getting peformed in front of hundreds of thousands of people. The band continues to have a very rough sound live, as they don't make any real attempt to replicate their studio work note-for- note on stage, but that also continues to give the band a lot of charm. There are a couple of missed vocal cues here and there, and some spots where something clearly went awry in the recording process, but overall the band seems slightly better here than on CL+5.

The setlist, as expected, is largely similar to that on CL+5. The band opens with "Gypsy" and "Sunset," which both go off splendidly (Mike in particular shines, both in the roaring mellotron and in his passionate singing). The show ends with the last 10+ minutes of Threshold, and I still think that it may sound more interesting here, because of the lack of overdubs, than it did in the studio. And, of course, the last three tracks are "Nights," "Legend" and "See-Saw," all of which are done well. The middle also features rousing performances of "Tuesday Afternoon" (where Justin changes the line to "Sunday afternoon" once; I'm guessing that the band performed this concert on a Sunday) and "Never Comes the Day" (inferior to the CL+5 version, largely because the harmonica riff in the chorus is impossible to find, but it's still lovely).

The rest of the setlist drops "Dr. Livingston" and "Peak Hour," and in their place the band adds four tracks from A Question of Balance (which makes sense, given that they were touring it at the time). "Question" is the clear highlight of these; the acoustic guitar strumming gets swapped out for an electric, and while Hayward's singing is rougher (as usual), the song ends up having a strong punch to it that the original lacked. Elsewhere, "Minstrel's Song" comes off as a pleasant hippy shuffle (it kinda sounds to me like it would have been better suited for Woodstock than for this festival, but that doesn't bug me too much), "Tortoise and the Hare" is done decently enough, and "Melancholy Man" preserves nearly all of the soul-crushing aspects of the original to good effect. If anybody in the band benefited from the rougher live sound, it was clearly Mike, and his vocals are great here.

In short, while it doesn't show the Moodies as a spectacular live band, it does show them as an interesting one, and I'd definitely recommend this to a hardcore fan. I would also like to extend my compliments to the recording company for squeezing this whole show onto one disc; I don't know for sure, but I'm guessing that the actual performance contained various bits of stage banter, and the inclusion of any of it (or excessive applause) would have forced this album to come out as a double album. By stripping out everything except for the actual songs, the album fits snugly onto one disc, and it's most appreciated.

Latest members reviews

4 stars This is a wonderful live document of the Moodys from the 1971 Isle Of Wight Festival where they closed the concert along with Jimi Hendrix. Sufficiently energized into performing at their best, the group did a high energy concert that sports great group vocals and playing from all. Especially no ... (read more)

Report this review (#2279905) | Posted by SteveG | Saturday, November 9, 2019 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I'm a great Moodies fan, so you can read this review knowing that it isn't the far balanced of it all. I believe that the official live recordings of the Moodies aren't the best pictures of the band. IMO the bootleg of a FM transmission of a LA gig in 1981 is the best available live performance ... (read more)

Report this review (#276733) | Posted by moodyxadi | Wednesday, April 7, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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