Cleveland likes its meat and potatoes, right? Built on sweat equity, this town wears a collar that’s as blue as the sky and our collective musical tastes reflect that heritage.
When newer or peripheral-genre acts come to town a collective “Meh?” goes up. When stalwart bands that have been around since the Kennedy administration make their way to the 216 we act accordingly. The Moody Blues put tickets up for sale at the Hard Rock Rocksino a few months ago; they sold out quicker than a lemonade stand on a blistering August afternoon.
Many bands have been touring lately celebrating an anniversary of a beloved album. Just this last Friday night, Irish legends U2 played First Energy Stadium and offered their seminal 1987 album The Joshua Tree in its entirety. A few months ago British Invasion band The Zombies came to the Lorain Palace to walk us through their 1967 masterpiece Odessey and Oracle.
The Moody Blues formed in 1964 and underwent lineup changes almost from the start. Denny Laine, the original vocalist, left and was replaced by Justin Hayward who is still with the band. Laine went on to join Paul McCartney’s Wings several years later. Bassist John Lodge, although like Hayward wasn’t an “original” member from 1964, joined up in time to play on the album celebrated on this tour: Days Of Future Passed
Considered one of the first Progressive Rock albums produced, Days Of Future Passed mixes orchestral interstitials within a framework of carefully crafted tunes wrought with psychedelic overtones and a bit of Wagnerian majesty.
Original member Graeme Edge, the band’s sole remaining member from the 1964 lineup, took to the skins for the two act gig. For a man pushing eighty years old, he rapped those skins with the grace of a man half his age. Hayward and Lodge stood front and center on guitar and bass respectively, while a second drummer, two keyboard players and a flautist rounded out the cast.
Opening the show with “I’m Just a Singer (In a Rock and Roll Band),” the Moodies sequed into a handful of tunes took us from the band’s mid-60s origins to their pop heyday in the mid 1980s (“Your Wildest Dreams” and “I Know You’re Out There Somewhere). The band then retired for a twenty minute intermission.
Returning to the stage, Hayward and Co. lit into Side One/Track One of Days Of Future Passed. Fifty minutes and eight tracks later, the band wrapped up the evening. Returning to the stage after receiving thunderous applause, they encored with “Question” and “Ride My See Saw.”
Besides the twenty-minute break, which saw the crowd mulling about, hitting the merch table and refilling their empty buckets o’ beer, the entire audience were on their feet. This is another show, alongside the recent Beach Boys concert and the crazy-evening-that-was-Sammy-Hagar, where the crowd was jubilant and standing through the entire show.
Astonishingly, The Moody Blues aren’t in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Clearly, this outfit invented Progressive Rock. A wrong needs to be righted; hopefully, we’ll see them get on the ballot this year and see them play Public Hall next April when the inductions return to the North Coast.
We’re Cleveland; we like our steak and potatoes.
And damn fine music.