Last night we heard Graeme Edge, drummer for the Moody Blues, celebrating his latest birthday. It was heartwarming to see a 75-year-old dude romping around onstage with his tambourine while his bandmates knocked out a 2016 version of one of their mystic-rock classics.
Before his little rockaround the stage jig, the septuegenarian percussionist had been performing his customary 50-year gig up on the platform behind his trap-set.
From my perspective, it looked something like this:
There’s the dancing drummer, glowing beneath a lightning bolt.
Below his illuminated perch, down there on center-right stage, Justin Hayward and John Lodge do their uniquely musical Moody thing for the full house of baby-geezers who had gathered here in Charlotte at the Blumenthal performing arts center.
A good time was had by all.
It was a little strange though, and not just because of the eerily beautiful quality in which their songs always vibrated. It was strange for me because I spent the whole night waiting to hear a song that never came.
Back in 1970, there was a particular song that captured my young imagination for a long time–a time that has stretched from then all the way into this present time, 2016.
Even though I have always greatly appreciated the Moodys’ unprecedented, unduplicated, unsurpassable music, I spent almost the entire first half of the concert in disappointment, because all I was hearing was loud rock music–newer stuff with which I was not familiar. And not only newer and unfamiliar, but also Loud. Maybe I’m just getting too old to appreciate this stuff I thought. Then, thankfully, one of the great classics crept into their presentation when they performed The Story in Your Eyes just before intermission.
Here’s a YouTube that shows you what that song is:
After the break, a 20-minute period in which many of us frumpy, graying boomers populated the outer regions of the venue while noticing how many older people were wandering around and wondering where they all came from, even though we knew of course that they had breezed in from the cities and suburbs and hills and vales and cobwebs and freeways of my g-generation. . .the second part of the concert got steadily better when the band did much of their classic stuff.
I say the band. Ray Thomas and Mike Pinder were not there. No explanation about that. None necessary. Old folks like us understand these things. We know that people–even famous rock musicians– change, and move on to other groups or other gigs or other things they want to do with their life. So our concert was conducted by the three originals who remain: Justin Hayward, John Lodge and Graeme Edge, accompanied by their younger, very talented new recruits to handle the other instruments. Of course Mike Pindar’s powerful presence on the mellotron was missed, as was Ray Thomas with his flute, vocals and other woodwinds. Those absences were admirably filled by the 2016 members: Alan Hewitt on keyboards, Norda Mullen on flute, Denny Laine on keyboards.
But I never got to hear the song performed that I most wanted to hear. Never Comes the Day is a tender, romantic tune that originated in the plaintive heart of a young man (Justin Hayward) who has not time enough to spend with the girl he loves. Hearing that song back in my college days– included as it was on the Moody Blues’ Threshold of a Dream album— there was a deep place of longing in my heart that was occupied for many years only by that song and a few other special love songs like it.
So while I did enjoy the trip down memory lane with this new iteration of the Moody Blues, there was nevertheless a certain old feeling of emptiness–maybe it was just nostaglia– at the end of the concert, because I had not heard that special song. I waited for it, but it never came.
But hey! It was nevertheless a great ending. The beautiful woman sitting next to me last night at the Moody Blues 2016 concert–I took her home with me.
She’s the woman who answered that hearthrob call of Never Comes the Day deep in my heart. She’s the one who, thank God, filled that plaintive void, beginning with our courtship and marriage over 36 years ago. And last night we had a wonderful date listening, with a few a thousand or so other old couples, to the Moody Blues do their musical wonders.
If you like this, here’s another selection from the most unique, most musical rock group of my g-generation. It’s the song–Question— with which they ended last night’s concert that we attended in Charlotte.