June 4 concert at Pala among 50th anniversary celebrations of first Moody Blues album
The Moody Blues released their first album, “Days of Future Passed,” in 1967. The band will celebrate the 50th anniversary of that album with a tour which includes Pala Casino’s Palomar Starlight Theater on June 4.
“I’m looking forward to it,” said Moody Blues drummer Graeme Edge.
Although Edge is the only remaining original member from the band’s formation in 1964, current guitarist Justin Hayward and current bassist John Lodge were members of the Moody Blues when Days of Future Passed was recorded.
“We’re like brothers and I do really mean like brothers,” Edge said of the ability of all three members to remain together. “We’ve got good memories of how it was.”
The Moody Blues had released singles prior to Days of Future Past.
“We had something that wasn’t really an album,” Edge said. “We were wanting to make an album.”
The initial Moody Blues concerts preceded Days of Future Passed. The first Moody Blues performance in the United States was at the Brooklyn Fox Theater from Christmas in 1965 to New Year’s in 1966. Wilson Pickett headlined that concert activity.
The Moody Blues are originally from England and were part of the British Invasion of the 1960s. Edge believes that the British Invasion aided the band’s acceptance in America rather than caused them to be lost among such British groups as the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and the Who.
“I would like to say the Beatles kicked the door open to America and we stepped in,” Edge said. “That certainly helped us, no two ways about it.”
Days of Future Passed combined classical music, rock, and poetry. “Tuesday Afternoon” and “Knights in White Satin” both became top-25 singles, and a re-release of “Knights in White Satin” made that song a #1 hit.
Fifty years later Edge considers the band’s first top hit to be his favorite Moody Blues song.
“It’s got to be Knights. That’s where it all came from,” he said.
The audience response when “Knights of White Satin” is played at concerts also contributed to that song being Edge’s favorite.
“It’s really nice when you see people’s faces,” he said. “I get a thrill when you start that.”
During the 28-concert tour which begins June 3 in Rancho Mirage and ends July 23 in Atlanta, the Moody Blues will perform all eight songs of Days of Future Passed consecutively.
“We’re playing the entire album in its entirety,” Edge said. “It will be the first time ever. We’re excited about that.”
The Moody Blues will open with approximately a dozen songs from other albums, which will be followed by an intermission and then the performance of the eight Days of Future Passed songs. An encore is likely after the songs from the band’s first album.
Although Edge wrote the poetry at the end of “Knights in White Satin,” he will not be reciting those lines at the 50th anniversary concerts.
“Somebody else is going to do it,” Edge said. “We’ve got somebody with a better voice.”
Edge, who is now 76, had a stroke last year. His rehabilitation has gone well, but he doesn’t consider himself completely recovered.
“I sometimes slur some words,” he said.
The Moody Blues’ first top ten hit after the re-release of “Knights in White Satin” was the 1986 song “Your Wildest Dreams,” which appeared on the band’s “The Other Side of Life” album. “Your Wildest Dreams” reached #1 on the adult contemporary charts.
“We weren’t too surprised,” Edge said, noting that many Moody Blues songs peaked high on the charts even if they didn’t reach the top position. “They were all hits.”
Moody Blues fans shouldn’t expect additional songs in the future.
“I don’t think we’re going to be doing another album,” Edge said.
The band members have children and grandchildren. Hayward and Lodge also have wives – Edge has two ex-wives.
“We’re basically too busy,” Edge said.
Another obstacle to recording a new album is the cost of renting time in a recording studio.
“To do an album now would be so expensive,” Edge said.
When the Moody Blues recorded albums they rented the studio for an extended period of time so that their sessions wouldn’t be limited.
“That’s how we made our music so relaxed,” Edge said. “We’re resting on our laurels now. It was a beautiful ride.”
Family priorities have also led to increased breaks between concerts.
“There are a lot of responsibilities that we’ve got besides the road,” Edge said.
Traveling is also less comfortable for the Moody Blues members than it was in the 20th century.
“We’re all in our 70s now, so it takes us a bit of time to recover,” Edge said.
The enjoyment of concert tours overrides the band members’ desire to continue their interruption of performances.
“After about a month, two months, three months, you start missing it,” Edge said. “It’s what I do.”
The concerts allow Moody Blues fans to see the band they enjoyed years ago – and in some cases new fans are able to see the band whose music the fans discovered.
“From the stage you sometimes see mom and dad and the kids,” Edge said. “Now mom and dad and the kids and grandkids.”
The Moody Blues will have a day of rest June 5, the day after the Pala concert, and will play in Saratoga both on June 6 and on June 7. A five-day break will precede the June 17 concert at the Hollywood Bowl.
“Look forward to showing off for everybody. That’s what we do,” Edge said.