Moody Blues touch down in Reno for two shows
You could say the Moody Blues, who emerged from the ’60s, and many of their fans are spaced out.
The orchestral musical style, accompanied by far-reaching lyrics, inspired astronaut Robert “Hoot” Gibson to bring a pair of Moody Blues tapes along with him on four space shuttle missions. Gibson listened to “Days of Future Passed” and “Seventh Sojourn” as he circled the earth more than 420 times.
Gibson presented the cassettes to the band in 1993 in a plaque, which is displayed at Threshold Records in the U.K.
“When and if we eventually do retire there’s going to be bloodletting over that plaque,” said Moody Blues drummer Graeme Edge, one of the three remaining members who recorded “Days of Future Passed.” “I know I want it, and I know John (Lodge) wants it, and I know Justin (Hayward) wants it.”
Of a suggestion that since Edge was the first in the group, that would allow he to claim ownership of the plaque, he said: “That wouldn’t fly. Justin would look me in the eye and say ‘Who wrote “Nights in White Satin?” ” “
The Moody Blues have sold more than 55 million albums, and “Nights in White Satin” perhaps is the most definitive track. It was on the charts in the U.K. in 1968, 1972 and 1979.
The band tours about three months each year and will perform twice this weekend in Reno’s Silver Legacy Casino. It also will tour this fall in Europe, including an Isle of Wright reunion concert.
Riding the wave of the British Invasion across the pond in 1964, the Moody Blues performed their single “Go Now” in New York’s Apollo Theater. Like so many other British bands, the Moodys played their take on American blues.
“It was our interpretation of the Mississippi Delta blues, but we could not get to the real foundation,” Lodge told Lake Tahoe Action last year. “We realized we couldn’t be truthful to it, so we decided to make our own music.”
The mellotron, which was developed at keyboardist Mike Pinder’s place of work, became a major part of the band’s new sound.
“It was originally developed for the BBC as a fast retrieval machine for sound effects,” Edge said. “Pinder developed it with violins and trombones and things like that, putting them on a keyboard.”
Along with Pinder’s keyboard, Ray Thomas played flute, and all five members sang, giving the band its so-called symphonic sound.
After the release of “Days of Future Passed,” in autumn 1968 the band recorded “In Search of the Lost Chord,” which had with singles “Ride My See-Saw” and “Voices in The Sky.” The Moodys were an instant success upon their second visit to the United States, especially in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Edge said he still loves performing live.
“Its great because it’s very simple,” he said. “You don’t have to worry about paying your gas bill or electricity bill or phone bill. You don’t have to worry about anything. Somebody’s there to take care of all of that, and all you’ve got to do is do what you love doing.
“I don’t know if that’s when I’m the most comfortable. There are several beautiful blondes who would make me feel just as comfortable, but not five times a week.”