Concert Review: Moody Blues Bring Gust of Great Rock Music

Moody Blues
From left, Justin Hayward, John Lodge and Graeme Edge of the Moody Blues perform Wednesday at the Bluestem Center for the Arts in South Moorhead before a record 2,354 fans.  Photo by David Samson/The Forum

MOORHEAD – The Moody Blues didn’t let Wednesday’s unseasonal weather get them down. The nearly 50-year-old band gave a record crowd of 2,354 at the Bluestem Center for the Arts plenty of opportunities to shake off the cold.

The rock group brought the full-house crowd in south Moorhead to its feet a number of times during its two-hour set.

Still, the weather did play some havoc with the show. Because of strong winds, the group had to shelve a screen that would’ve shown a montage of photos throughout the years and serve as the backdrop for a light show. The heavy breezes even negated the fog machines in the first set.

Fans didn’t mind the focus on the music, even if the group performed in front of the set for Trollwood’s upcoming performance of “The Music Man.”

Opening with their 1981 hit “The Voice,” the sun even broke through the clouds to shine on frontmen singer/guitarist Justin Hayward and singer/bassist John Lodge...

Dwayne Heinrich and his brother David drove up from Colorado after seeing the group in famous outdoor venues like the Red Rocks Amphitheatre outside Denver. The road trip was worth it for the superfans.

“This place is awesome. This is the closest I’ve seen them, and the sound is awesome,” said Dwayne, of Westminster, Colo.

The group returned for a second set, opening with the poppy “In Your Wildest Dreams,” allowing founding drummer Graeme Edge and secondary stickman Gordon Marshall to engage in some drumstick-tossing antics.

With the sun set, some of the staged theatrics were salvaged with the light show playing on the background set nicely to Edge’s spacey spoken-word intro to the haunting “Nights in White Satin,” where Hayward’s voice was in great, anguished form. The lights also wove in nicely with the stage fog, most effectively in the floating “Isn’t Life Strange,” featuring flautist Norda Mullen.

Mullen and keyboardist Alan Hewitt helped fill out the group’s symphonic sound on tunes like “Lean on Me (Tonight)” and “Tuesday Afternoon” from the group’s concept album, 1967’s “Days of Future Passed.”

Lodge dedicated “Peak Hour” to those who survived the ’60s. The 70-year-old Edge nearly stole the show with a short stand-up comedy bit, noting that his age meant he lived through the 60s twice, before kicking into a super-charged “Higher and Higher.”

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