The Moody Blues Live: Lovely to See You (2005)

by | Feb 3, 2006 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

The Moody Blues Live: Lovely to See You (2005)

Studio: Image Entertainment
Video: Enhanced for 16:9 widescreen, color
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, DD stereo, DTS 5.1
Extras: Interview with The Moody Blues
Length: 105 minutes
Rating: ****

The original Moodys have been doing their thing for close to 40 years now but don’t look nearly as decrepit onstage as do the Stones.  This is their first live album – both the earlier CD and this new DVD – without orchestral backing since an album they did back in 1977. The Greek Theater in LA was the venue, and the visuals are some of the best I’ve ever seen of a pop music live concert. Eleven hi-def cameras were used, the lighting is always good – never murky, and the transfer to DVD preserves a good portion of the hi-def original picture quality. The DTS 5.1 surround track is skillfully mixed, of wide dynamic range, and contributes to the viewer feeling right in the midst of the Greek Theater.

Original members Justin Hayward, John Lodge and Graeme Edge are joined by players on percussion, keyboards, backing vocals, and comely Norda Mullen, who shares the front line with Hayward and Lodge and plays both flute and guitar. Most of the lyrics to the band’s big hits over the years are declaimed by Hayward and his guitar at the center mic.  Edge is the drummer and percussionist at the rear, looking something like Jerry Garcia. The rock legends are in good form as they perform numbers from their long list of hits over the years.- which all began with their Days of Future Passed album (from which Nights in White Satin came). That studio session was originally supposed to be their rock version of a classical standard – I believe Pictures at an Exhibition if I’m not wrong – but they thought that project was lame and after some work came up something entirely different, as the Phythons would say.

I must admit this was the first time in many years I was hearing some of these tunes while in full control of, uh…shall we say, all of my facilities. And wasn’t bored a bit. The arrangements are well done, keeping the dreamy, magical sort of mood of the Moodys while still offering lots of variety in instrumental effects. At first flutist Mullen over on the left side of the stage seems ignored by the cameras, but then she gets in some great flute solos and warrants some closeups. The famous Mellotron keyboard sounds are reproduced quite convincingly by the Kurzweil synthesizer – which doesn’t have to deal with the dozens of short tapes in cassettes (one for each key) of the original Mellotron. The lyrics are clear and easy to understand – no hankering for subtitles here.The Moody Blues’ performances are scintillating and not a bit tired-sounding, even though this special event was just one stop on their world tour last year. This is a terrific example of how a rock concert should be presented on DVD!

TrackList: 1. Lovely To See You, 2. Tuesday Afternoon, 3. Lean on Me (Tonight), 4. The Actor, 5. Steppin’ in a Slide Zone , 6. The Voice, 7. Talking Out of Turn, 8. I Know You’re Out There Somewhere, 9. The Story In Your Eyes, 10. Forever Autumn, 11. Your Wildest Dreams, 12. Isn’t Life Strange, 13. The Other Side of Life, 14. December Snow, 15. Higher and Higher, 16. Are You Sitting Comfortably?, 17. I’m Just a Singer (In a Rock & Roll Band), 18. Nights in White Satin, 19. Question, 20. Ride My See-Saw

– John Henry

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