Some of us get to attend the concerts. Some of us get to live the experience vicariously through the writings of others. Either way, I thought it would be fun if those going to the concert would write up a review for those not going so they could share what it was like. I know I love to read about the concerts I can't attend to see what happened at them. So for those who weren't there in Ft. Myers last night, this is for you -- and I hope you will do the same for me at the concerts I can't attend. Hope you enjoy this!!
The Moody Blues at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Center – March 12, 2012
I won’t bore you with all the preliminaries leading up to my arrival at the concert hall. Suffice it to say that everything that could go wrong, did! Including being caught up in a huge traffic jam on I-75 because of an accident. I’ll start with the first activity I did and that was something that really surprised me. I had been asked to take some photos of the merchandise booth (coming later). Since we (hubby and I) had gotten there quite early, I picked up my trusty camera and walked over to the theatre, expecting the doors to be locked. Much to my surprise, I was able to walk right in without any trouble. The guy was just setting up the merchandise and I figured the best way to approach this was to ask his permission. This way no one would give me any trouble. He told me I could *shoot away* and I did. I took lots of photos until he took a break and then I went back outside to my car. I also took some pictures of The Moodies bus which had arrived just before we did. They weren’t using Ego Trips this year, but a different carrier, Prestige.
Then I waited with my husband, Steve, until about ten till six when I had to be back at the theatre for the *Backstage Experience* package I had purchased from Moody Blues Today. I just buy these packages for the close up tickets. And for the chance to maybe sit in on sound check, which we were lucky enough to do. I thought it was funny that when we went into the concert hall, the lights had been bright. But as soon as we entered, the stage went sort of dark. My thought was that Justin had ordered the lights out so that we couldn’t really take pictures. Being in the back rows, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get a decent photo from that distance with the lights out. We heard them rehearse *Gemini Dream* and one other song, which escapes me right now. Then they left the stage. I had tickets in Row A, seat 113, which was just to the left of Justin and the right of Norda. I had thought this was the front row, but it turned out there was one other row in front of me in the Orchestra Pit. But this row was really set down lower than Row A, so I couldn’t see them and they didn’t obstruct my view at all. I felt like I was in the front row. The seat to my left, which was the aisle seat, remained open. But more about that later. The Backstage Experience, for those of you who do not know, simply consists of walking around the stage, seeing Justin’s guitars, having one of the Moodies technicians take your photo in front of Graeme’s drum kit and you get early admission to the merchandise booth. That’s it! Is it worth it? Not really. So why do I buy it? Only to save me the hassle of trying to buy a ticket in the first five rows some other way. I was just about the first one out and when I came through the doors, my husband was at the merchandise booth already and was buying a copy of Graeme’s book for a friend of mine. The vendor said there was a limit of two books per person. So we each bought two books and I bought a tour book. It’s the exact same tour book, I think, as last year’s. BTW, all of Graeme’s books that are sold at the concerts are autographed. I believe the vendor sold out of them last night so buy them early.
As we were waiting for the doors to open, I saw Gary Pulver in the lobby. It was good to see a friendly face again. We hugged and chatted for awhile and then about 7:00 p.m., the doors opened and we all went our separate ways to our seats. My husband had one of the cheap seats up in the balcony since he doesn’t care where he sits. He’s truly a *purist* -- he goes simply for the music. I go for the music and the guys in the band. I want to be up close and personal. Gary had a seat in Row B, but on the other side of the hall. While waiting for the concert to begin, I also saw Ricki Ann (Fun Moody Gal) and just before it started, Melanie Bell arrived! They had seats in the pit area. I didn’t see anyone else I knew, even though several people on Facebook said they were going to be there. I gave out my seat number and I wish they would have come down and said hello!
Anyway, the magic hour arrived (7:40 p.m.) and The Moody Blues came on stage!! Justin was wearing a white T-shirt that I don’t think I’ve seen before and gray slacks. His legs looked so long in those slacks! And John was wearing a black T-shirt with black pants, his traditional outfit. J They didn’t wait long to start getting us in the mood with *Gemini Dream*. I’ve already posted the set list in another topic and don’t want to list each song again. But I do have to mention one especially, and that’s the one that we fans have requested for several years -- *You and Me*. They really rocked out on that song, and for those of you who will be going to future shows, you are in for a treat!!! The rest of the show went as planned. That’s one thing you have to give to The Moodies! They have rehearsed and rehearsed and rehearsed until they have a show that is so tight and so wonderful, that fans go away knowing they have gotten their monies worth and with a big smile on their face. All the songs were just perfection, with a little glitch when Justin started playing *Question* and didn’t get any response from his guitar. He fiddled with it for a second and I think the problem was that it wasn’t plugged in all the way, but it only took a second to fix and then he started the song over again and everything was fine. Justin also got a huge ovation for *NIWS* and it went on forever and ever and ever. John, of course, had to stop it when it seemed like it was never going to stop.
The highlight of my night came when everyone was leaving the stage for the final time. Usually, Justin and I make eye contact a lot during the show. It didn’t happen as much as it usually does last night and I was feeling a little bummed. But then he made up for it all. Just as he was about to depart, he looked at me and said *See you tomorrow night?* I was pretty shocked, but I nodded at him and said *See you tomorrow night!*. So he does read the letters I send to him!!! That just blew me away and I left the theatre a starry-eyed girl!
Remember that seat I told you was vacant to the left of me? Well, for awhile the two seats to the right of me were vacant too. But about five minutes before the show started, a guy and gal came and sat down in them. The guy was quite heavy and, of course, he took the seat next to me. I felt like I was on a plane – all squashed in. But I still had the seat on the left to lean towards. About the third song in, the lady who was sitting on the aisle in Row B asked if anyone was sitting there and I told her no. She said she was going to move there. Guess what? She was also heavy-set and now I was really squashed in!!! J So I spent most of the concert sitting on the edge of my seat! And the lady kept giving the band *hoots*. She was so annoying! I had promised Gary I would keep my eye open for a seat for him for the second half. So I told him that he could have the aisle seat in Row B, since the lady had moved into Row A. As he was about to take it, my husband came down from the balcony to pay me a visit and when Gary saw this, he graciously allowed hubby to take the seat so he could be near me and went back to his regular seat in Row B, by the wall. Thank you, Gary, that was very nice of you!!
So those are my thoughts about the first of the five Florida concerts I will attend. Tonight is Clearwater and I’m just as excited about this one as I was about Ft. Myers. Oh, by the way, we got home at 1:35 a.m., which is why I didn’t write this last night. Clearwater is only about fifty miles from my home so we should be home much earlier tonight. And I hope to actually get some sleep tonight. I was so wound up from the concert, I didn’t get to sleep until close to 5:00 a.m. this morning. Here’s hoping I can make it through the day today!!! J J J
Respectfully submitted for your approval,
Arline in Florida ß-------------aka Justin Fan 1