Monday, May 23, 2011

"Cold hearted orb that rules the night."

Full moon.  The little one and I have been to the Rock Show.  We have seen The Moody Blues in San Luis Obispo.  It is our first concert together since Jon Anderson in Santa Barbara at the Lobero Theatre.  My full time cinematic commitments prevent me from having the mobile artistic freedom I had in earlier years.  My wife has more room in seeing shows than I do.  Besides the work ethic, the sincere agoraphobia doesn't help matters either.  This is why it is important to break habitual patterns whenever you can.

"Even a man who is pure of heart and says his prayers at night.  May become a wolf, when the wolfbane blooms.  And his trousers are too tight."

How I have never forgotten those classic words from looney Hungarian actress Maria Ouspenkayak in the classic 1941 Unilateral Film, The Wolf Guy.  Playing the eccentric gypsy lady, telling the fortune of actor Lon Chairs, Jr. (portraying the character Larry Tallbutt, so named after a family deformity).  "I see you live alone," she sez, reading the lines in his hand.  "How do you know that?" Tallbutt responds.  "Because your palm is so hairy."  Classic.

Back to the show.  Are the best concerts performed on Full Moon or nearly Full Moon days?  I remember Pink Floyd performing Dark Side of the Moon at the LA Sports Arena on a Full Moon.  When the show was over, they had the spotlights (the old fashioned theatre premiere arclights) trained up into the sky, circling the full moon.

So here we are at the Moodies.  Days of Future Passed was one of my most favourite albums in my youth and definitely inspired me to go into radio.  When I did, the band always appeared on my broadcasts.  I remember at KTYD the week that all the solo albums came out, like which Moody is your favourite?  Of course, this happened with Yes member albums and Floyd to a degree as well.

But back to the show...with all my concert going, I have never actually seen the Moody Blues perform in concert.  At KTYD in the nineties, we sponsored a show with Justin Hayward at the Coach House, which me and the wife saw, but only my wife had been to an actual Moody Blues show.  I sort of dropped out from the whole thing, thinking they had gone Elvis...too Las Vegas.  Well, I was pleasantly surprised to see the circle come full turned; that the psychedelic enthusiasm had returned and that the craftsmanship of the performers was in full bloom

Wolfbane bloom.

Of course, a show like that can make you feel antique.  Or optimistic.  Original member Graeme Edge comes on and tells the audience he just celebrated his 70th birthday (in March).  He dances on stage with the young girls who have been added to the band (and talented they are, covering flute, guitar and keyboard passages that early members Pinder and Thomas would have filled), before going back to his drum kit.  I think that this must look like me, trying to be young and cool, but really pathetic and more than a foot in the grave.  But wait.  Hope springs eternal.  And delusion is only an illusion with a passing grade of D.

It's ironic that I discard bands like the Moodies for decades and then come back when the unfashionable comes back in fashion (at least to me).  Maybe it takes that long for the drugs to kick in.  Or it could be because I can't travel down to LA to see the Yellow Magic Orchestra in June (Space Pirate Radio played them first on commercial radio).  Sad, really.  Trieste.

Lunacy, maybe. I would just hate to think that as a progressive rock n' roller, I've entered the Hallmark Channel phase of music.  It's Peter Fonda for the Time/Life collection "Flour Power"...blanched while, a whiter shade of pale, more days than nights in white satin, stronger than white...white power...mucho blanco.

Let me check...no, I think everything is okay.  It was good to see the three key members of classic Moodies, reinspired and reinvigorated with the enthusiasm of the dream state--that which was 1967.  Parts of the show had the power and space of a Pink Floyd concert, the lyricism of a Yes concert and the raw energy of a Yardbirds show.  Nice.  I understand that Edge is the only cat from day one Moodies, and the boys kept referring to Days of Future Passed as their first album.  But to us oldster Anglophiles, Moody Blues #1 (The Magnificent Moodies) was the first album.  It's as almost pathetic as David Gilmour considering the first Pink Floyd album to be Saucerful of Secrets, 'cause hey, that's when Jesus was born.  Get over it.  Even Steve Howe plays on "Owner of a Lonely Heart" now.  And in the past he'd rather cut his wrists with a conductor's punch than touch that riff.

"Go Now" would make an appropiate final song.  Otherwise...it was a great show.


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