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Paul Wellman

The Moody Blues, at the Arlington Theatre

British Prog Rockers Bring Sounds of the ‘60s to S.B.


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

It went down like a greatest hits show before a pretty packed house at the Arlington Theatre. The Moody Blues, armed with two drummers, two keyboardists, and a female backup vocalist capable of switching from vocals to flute to tambourine, performed their catalog with precision before an ecstatic crowd. As their songs jumped from decade to decade and genre to genre, a light show playing on the stage’s backdrop shifted with visions from the band’s more psychedelic beginnings, up through (and actually including) live footage of the Blues in the ‘70s and ‘80s. And as a professionally touring band, it makes sense the show went off without a hitch, all the way down to the well-rehearsed bows and other stage techniques that a seven-piece can only perfect with practice.

The crowd appeared to be made up mostly of (quite energetic) dedicated fans, and looking around, almost all of them knew the lyrics to pretty much every song. After a 20-minute intermission, the band returned to really pour on the hits, the first of which, “Your Wildest Dreams,” had fans in the first few rows - then concertgoers throughout the theater - up, dancing, and rushing the stage. The next song however, “Isn’t Life Strange?,” was particularly interesting to watch unfold. Two drum kits (one standard, one percussion) were put to use, as was a double-necked electric guitar. And while drummer Graeme Edge moved about so mechanically as to attract undo attention to himself, the song still managed to showcase every rare thing about the band’s performance: light shows, flautists, double-neck guitars, and, of course, double drum kits.

At 10:02 p.m. the band began what everyone in attendance was waiting for - their show-closing 1967 hit, “Nights in White Satin.” And anyone who worried that the Blues might serve up a less energized or modern remix of the song were proved wrong almost instantly. The band played “Nights” in all its perfected, original form, hitting all the notes and riffs that made the single so popular a whole 42 years ago.