Posts Tagged ‘Moody Blues’

Never Came the Song

March 29, 2016

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:

MoodyBlues

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:

     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t-iJ47in9YQ

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.

Glass half-Full

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The Calling of Anarchy

January 5, 2016

The calling of anarchy says:

Tear down, tear down the Old way, for when it is destroyed, the New way will be brought in, and when the New way is set in place. . . when the New Order is instituted, then all things will be made right and wise people such as yourself will be in charge of things, and your troubles will be over.

But that surely is gobblydeegoop. I mean, isn’t it?

I myself have, in my life, encountered the power of this deception. I have heard that Siren call of anarchy. It is a cry familiar to me. It arises not so much in me as in the world out there somewhere, with some instigator’s persistent call to rage, rage against the machine. Somewhere in between my ears, it beats a drum of discontent that would compel me, if I were to follow that terrible summons, to do terrible, destructive things.

Although I have never succumbed to it, I know its voice. It is the insidious voice of rebellion that would compel men into the abyss of anarchy, and women into the chasms of despair.

Harken not to it, my brother. Heed it not, my soul. For it leadeth not where thou wouldst want to go.

I’m not making this up; this is a very real thing in the world today. But it is nothing new.

In the final chapter of his 1971 journalistic book, Kent State, James A Michener describes the strange experience of a troubled young woman. She’s a runaway teenager; she had forsaken the comfort of middle-class life to wander the streets and cities of America in search of something, possibly a magical place called “California.” But during her journey to the elusive place, the girl found herself one brisk Friday night in Ohio, kicking around in Kent, looking for some excitement, or some meaning in life, or just something to do, when, about midnight, she came across some “trouble on the street.” As Michener describes the scene in which rioters were protesting Nixon’s bombing of Cambodia:

” ‘Cambodia,’ she says, ‘Cambodia did it. They built a fire out there (on a downtown street, ed.) and were circling around, chanting’. . . (She) joined them, dancing about the trash fire in the street. It was what was happening and she wanted in.”

And so the young women was caught up in that moment, and caught up in the excitement and the gravitas of the protest, having answered the call to meaningful action, which can, in the heat of human manipulations, sometimes slide into the calling of anarchy, and so one thing did lead to another and then a couple of days later, the young woman found herself suddenly fallen upon a parking lot, with shots ringing in the air around her and when she looked up there was a young man lying next to here with his head down but blood flowing out of it because of the fatal gunshot. But then  she dragged herself up. In the misery and tragedy of that moment, she cried out. . .

Also in that moment, the photographer who happened to be nearby quickly snapped a picture. A little while later, through a series of electronic wonders beginning with the photographer’s pic as published in his paper’s next issue, the mournful, confused face of the wandering teenaged girl was flashed around the world for all the world to see.

The look on the young woman’s face documents the utter dismay of a generation, my generation. Millions of people around the world have seen, and wondered about, that picture. James Michener calls her the woman with the “Delacroix face.”

Her face does resemble the face of Lady Liberty, as rendered in “Liberty leading the People,” a famous painting by Eugene Delacroix that depicts an idealized image of the French Revolution.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eug%C3%A8ne_Delacroix

I guess there is a fine line somewhere between Liberty and anarchy. Only those who have suffered in the fog of war or in the great Struggle for justice can know the difference.

The poet W.B. Yeats mentions this dangerous tendency of our world in his poem, The Second Coming:

“Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere

The ceremony of innocence is drowned”

The “ceremony of innocence,” is, in our present American culture and this historic time, the ritual of going to college or university. In our case study above, Kent State, the “ceremony” was not drowned, but rather, mortally wounded. This happened when duty-bound Guardsmen, who were generally the same young age as the students, were pressured, in the midst of frantic, anarchic circumstances to fire into a wildly unpredictable, rock-hurling crowd. Historic research reveals that “somebody” had fired a first shot, the fatal result of which that anarchy was suddenly catapulted  into tragedy.

Tragedy. Life is tragic. This is one outcome of anarchy.

It makes me wonder, and I find myself thinking of that old Moody Blues tune, Melancholy Man. . .

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uO3IG-oRpis

In our present day and time, anarchy could–and already has–generated tragedy. . .in Ferguson, Baltimore, Charleston, Paris, San Bernadino, Riyadh and its aftermath, and in many other places. I am reminded of the prophet whose words still ring true after after twenty centuries:

“Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here will be left upon another which will not be torn down.”

His words were spoken about a religious building, but it seems that the anarchic spirit of our age is bent on terrorizing and destroying  many diverse persons, many places near and far, and a multitude of buildings and things.

It’s the calling of anarchy. Don’t get sucked in.

Here’s a better response: Do what is right, and pray.

Glass half-Full