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12-Jul-10
Moody Blues kick off Ives Concert Series

TheHour.com
By A.J. O'CONNELL
Hour Correspondent

The Moody Blues spent the last four decades making music in a startling range of genres. They've composed rock songs, concept albums, psychedelic music, sweeping orchestral pieces, '80s synth-pop, and they've even managed to get a poem into rotation on classic rock stations.

But if you ask drummer Graeme Edge to define The Moody Blues' genre, all you'll get is a chuckle.

"I'd say we're the finest rock band in the hall of fame and leave it at that," he said.

Edge and his bandmates, Justin Hayward and John Lodge, will be bringing their music Danbury on Tuesday, July 13 to kick off the Ives Concert Park's Summer Concert Series.

The series runs until Aug. 28 and includes acts like CAKE, Widespread Panic, Slightly Stoopid, Cypress Hill, Willie Nelson, Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion, The Dukes of September Rhythm Revue featuring Donald Fagen, Boz Scaggs and Michael McDonald and Bachman Turner.

The Danbury show is one of several gigs on The Moody Blues' summer tour, which is one of three tours the band is doing this year.

It's a lot of touring, but Edge said he loves it.

"You get up there, you play with your mates, everyone tells you you're wonderful," he said. "You get to play music live. That's what it's all about."

"Last night we were at a festival, so the people, they weren't hardcore fans. They weren't completely on our side," he said. By the end of the show, The Moody Blues had won over the audience and everyone had a great time.

The Moody Blues, says Edge, have two groups of fans. There is a large base of fans that hail from the band's first decade, during which the Moodies released nine records, including the concept album "Days of Future Passed," which included "Nights in White Satin." There is also a group of fans from the '80s and '90s, when the band released pop hits like "In Your Wildest Dreams."

Aside from its existing fan groups, The Moody Blues is also developing a new group of fans, Edge said.

"There are a refreshing number of 22-24 year-olds [at the shows]," he said. "There is a resurgence of interest in '60s rock bands."

He's not sure how the 20-somethings are stumbling across the Moody Blues, but Edge has a theory.

"I'd like to think -- and I have absolutely no proof that this is true -- that the [20-year-olds] have realized that rap can't mature past where it is now and they're looking for something a little bit more melodic," said Edge.

Asked what contemporary music he likes, Edge said that he's enjoyed Coldplay and a few other bands, but admitted that he's not up on today's hits.

"I live in Florida," he joked, "and down there it's illegal to play anything recorded after 1985."

The Moody Blues have recorded 16 studio albums since 1964. Edge says there are currently no plans in place for a 17th. But that doesn't mean the band members haven't been writing new songs. What's keeping the band from recording a new album is the technology involved. The Moody Blues are used to making records with analog technology, but all recording technology today is digital.

"We have a ton of material, but nobody wants to record the way we want to record," he said.

Don't count on hearing any of the new material live, however.

"We don't present it to each other until there's a reason," he said.

Edge has been hailed as The Moody Blues' resident poet -- he wrote "Late Lament," the intro to "Nights in White Satin" -- but he claims he's only become the band's poet because he's too verbose to be a lyricist.

"I'm a bit wordy," he said.

He is very proud of "Late Lament," not only because it's the only piece of poetry routinely heard on mainstream radio stations, but also because it introduced a term into American English: "Senior Citizen."

"Yes, I put 'Senior Citizen' into the language," said Edge. "And now I'm one myself. I'm very proud to be called a senior citizen."

The Moody Blues will appear at Danbury's Ives Concert Park on Tuesday, July 13 at 8 p.m. Payment required. $21 for lawn seating, $51 and $71 reserved. To buy tickets or for more information, visit http://www.ivesconcertpark.com/

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