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The Moody Blues - Live at Montreux 1991 CD (album) cover

LIVE AT MONTREUX 1991

The Moody Blues

 

Crossover Prog

2.57 | 9 ratings

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Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Prog Specialist
3 stars I always seen The Moody Blues as some kind of chameleonic band, for example, they released the pompous and pretentious (Have nothing against this two qualities) Days of Future Passed where you can find a track called "The Night", which is somehow ambitious, but they take the artificial orchestral arrangement and "voila", we have "Nights in White Satin", a cute ballad and of course a hit single.

They take the song Forever Autumn out of its natural environment (the conceptual album The War of the Worlds) and again a hit single with ambiguous love lyrics ideal for a top 40 chart.

Being a purist of Prog, I always hated this changes and never believed they were 100% Progressive or even Proto Prog band (Except when Patrick Moraz joined them in Long Distance Voyager), so the last thing I would have done is to buy a DVD by The Moody Blues.

But a couple of months ago I took a cousin to the store where I usually buy my DVD's and he bought almost 20 (Plus the 4 I got), so the owner took a copy of The Moody Blues, Live at Montreux 1991 and gave it to me for free.

Of course I accepted it (because it cost me nothing) but threw it in the section of those DVD's I never watch, but last week decided to give them a chance, and even when my general impression of the Magnificent Moodies didn't change at all, honestly found the DVD entertaining.

As in every presentation of musicians who left their best days behind, it's charged of melancholy and of course they made good use of this feeling creating a nostalgic atmosphere that captured the audience.

Justin Hayward's excellent voice seems not as strong as before, especially during the first 30 minutes of the show, but still manages to sound better than most vocalists in the market. This is probably caused because the mixing is terrible, something common in a multi band festival.

In this events the engineer needs a couple of songs to capture the exact balance for each band and this is not easy (Even harder in this case because being Montreux an eclectic Jazz Festival Tori Amos and Polo Hofer Und Die Schmatterband had played before the Moody Blues, so it may be hard to change the settings for a rock vocal band if you're not an Alan Parsons). So we partially loose that strong and warm sound that only Justin can provide.

Graeme Edge presence helps to achieve the already mentioned nostalgic atmosphere, because it's evident he's not in his best form and has to receive backup from a second drummer (Gordon Marshall)

John Lodge on the other hand is impeccable not only with the bass but with his still strong backing vocals and Ray Thomas flute makes us believe for a moment that the years have not passed and we're back in the late 60's.

Of course Paul Bliss and Blas Boshell on the keyboards are no match for Mike Pinder or Patrick Moraz, but they sound ok for a live concert in a semi-controlled environment as the Montreux Casino.

As it could be expected they choose the simplest and easier songs, avoiding tracks as The Voice that would require extreme effort that they probably weren't able to make in that precise moment.

It's useless to comment the songs because all are well known from previous albums like Nights in White Satin or the melancholic Your Wildest Dreams, one of the few tracks that gave them great massive fame due to a nostalgic video recorded during the 80's, plus three tracks from the album Keys of Kingdom that they were promoting.

It would be unfair to give a bad rating to this DVD even when The Moody Blues are not in their finest hour because it kept me captured all along the 96 minutes of music, showing that even when years don't pass in vain, real quality doesn't disappear.

I will give this DVD 3 solid stars that would be 3.5 if this was possible in Prog Archives. Even when it's not the best possible show by this legendary band, no Moody Blues fan should miss this release.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 3/5 |

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