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Still Moody after all these years. British band goes back to its past for new tour
June 15, 2017 1:41 PM
By Marijke Rowland
Fifty years later and the future is not as passed as The Moody Blues might have expected.
The British rock act broke out on the international scene with their landmark album “Days of Future Passed” in 1967. Now, five decades later, the group is celebrating the release with an anniversary tour that includes a track-by-track recreation of the record. The release includes some of the group’s biggest hits including “Nights in White Satin” and “Tuesday Afternoon.”
The group brings the tour to Murphys’ Ironstone Amphitheatre on Sunday, June 18. Original Moody Blues bassist and vocalist John Lodge spoke with The Modesto Bee about the milestone, the music and the making of the album that changed their lives.
Q: Why did you want to do a 50th anniversary tour behind “Days of Future Passed?”
A: This album changed our lives forever. We went into studio for a week and came out and it passed into the world. It was an incredible time in the world when we made the album, in England and the USA. You can’t believe that 50 years have gone by and that period of time still seems to be with us.
Q: In returning to play it live like this, is there anything you’ve learned about it all these years later?
A: It’s been really interesting, some of the songs we’ve never ever played before. Ever. The last time I visited these songs was when we made the album. So there’s been a 50 year gap. I think what was intriguing to me was to actually really analyze the songs and understand how we came to get to these songs. It was a totally different way of looking at music. “Nights in White Satin” had almost a waltz energy. There were songs with Indian influence. And there were songs that were pure Moody Blues, like “Tuesday Afternoon” and “Time to Get Away.”
Q: When you recorded the album, did you think it would have the lasting impact and influence it has had?
A: The album is about a day, and everyone has ups and downs in a day. The panic, the intrigue — all of that. “Days of Future Passed” triggered those emotions.... While on stage we realized the audience changed (after the album). People were sitting down and listening to the music. But didn’t realize how it would be received at the time.
Q: A couple years ago you released your own solo project, your first since 1977. What inspired you to do that?
A: We hadn’t made a new Moody Blues album in such a long time. I had been writing songs. I wrote a song called “10,000 Light Years Ago.” And thought I’d love to make an album out of this. I thought how could I make this album. I didn’t want to go into studio and get a group of people together. I found nowadays when we went into studio together we all have other pressures going on – agents, lawyers. So how can I make an album that is creative? I thought about it and have my own studio at home, so I rang up people I really wanted to perform. And they all had their own studios. So then (thought) I’ll make the demos and send them to each person. When they were ready, they could record their part themselves. No one met each other at all, we all recorded individually. It was a totally different way of making an album.
Q: Finally, what do you hope people take away from the live show?
I hope they go away and go “wow” to be honest. I just hope it takes
them to a place where they wouldn’t be emotionally at any other concert.
Hope we’ve performed the songs they’ve really wanted to hear. Hope the
Days of Future Passed tour is reminiscent when they heard the album for
the first time in 1967. I felt something special the first time. I hope
the audience feels it was a special event.