Nearly 50 years ago, an English quintet dubbed their debut album The Magnificent Moodies. This wasn’t for the sake of bravado. This was because the band members knew their sound was going to be worlds apart from their musical contemporaries.
Five decades later, that quintet, the Moody Blues, is down to the core trio of guitarist Justin Hayward, bassist John Lodge and drummer Graeme Edge (along with three new backing musicians), but their sound still remains unsurpassed. Their recent, packed show on Cape Cod proved just that. Over the course of two sets and 19 songs, there was never any question of balance; the concert contained the right combination of trippiness, classicism, balladry and rock.
Kicking off with their pair of 1981 hits, “Gemini Dream” and “The Voice,” the Moodies kept the small talk to a minimum and focused their energies on their spirited performances. Where Hayward appeared the concentrating poet and guitar maestro, Lodge and Edge embodied flash and fun.
The group refreshingly tackled tracks spanning their entire catalogue, from the ominous “Steppin’ in a Slide Zone” (1978), to ever-popular ’80s staples like “Your Wildest Dreams” to the ethereal “Peak Hour,” “Tuesday Afternoon” and “Nights in White Satin,” all from their 1967 orchestral masterwork, Days of Future Passed.
Finishing off with relish, the group saved two of their best songs for the encore: “Question” and “Ride My See-Saw.” While the Moodies have proclaimed for years, “I’m just a singer in a rock and roll band,” this show demonstrated that they’re so much more than that.
– Ira Kantor