Reprinted from yesterday's late editions
The Moody Blues came to popularity in the fallout of the mid-60s British rock explosion. One of the first bands to use orchestral elements in a fusion of rock riffs and classical concepts, their music was art-conscious, their lyrics tended toward the turgid.
Thursday at the sold-out Capital Centre the Moody Blues, touring after a five-year hiatus, indicated what we can expect of the Moody Blues together again.
With much that is both moody and blue, their material featured strong melody lines colored with broad strokes of the melancholy and high-lighted by Ray Thomas's haunting flute.
They began with "Steppin' in a Slide Zone" from their latest album (seven of the 18-song set were from "Octave"), and ironically the title provided an uncomfortable commentary on the first half of their set. That they hadn't played together since 1973 showed especially on a number like "Tuesday Afternoon" where tempo changes are so crucial. But "Isn't Life Strange" was strong as well as "Gypsy" (despite its similarity to "Secret Agent Man"). Also strong were the last five numbers of the set, which included "Nights in White Satin" and a stunning flute solo on "Question."
Their new material seems to borrow much from Bread in both melodies and harmonies. Their lyrics are less obsessively arty. But whether changes bode well for the band's comeback is open to question.