Denny Laine In Concert 5/4/17

Just over a month ago, I saw a post that Denny Laine would be performing in my hometown of Pittsburgh.  I was super excited, and also maybe a bit hesitant.   I knew for sure I wanted to see him perform.  I knew certainly enough that I was standing in an airport in New Orleans when I booked my tickets on my phone as they went on sale to reserve a table at the Hard Rock.

But was I just collecting?  Denny is the last living Moody Blue I’d never seen live.  (I was born in 1978 and as far as I can tell never had a chance to see Clink Warwick play).  I like a lot about the “Mark 1” Moody Blues (Denny/Clint/Mike/Ray/Graeme).  The first (45) records are mostly covers as they found their way.  But what I think many pass over are the fantastic songs the Mark 1 Moodies made towards the end of that period, before Denny and Clint left.  I have ALWAYS liked This Is My House and Boulevard de la Madeleine.  When I finally got a copy of the French EP with People Gotta Go (before it ever saw a CD release) I loved that song even more.  Denny and Mike were writing some great songs.  Even though Denny left, the band was starting to find its songwriting talent, (as was Denny), and that carried into the “Mark 2” Moodies as they recorded about a half dozen songs before Days of Future Passed.

I have more than a few of Denny’s solo albums (and I admit, only two Wings albums on vinyl).  I can’t explain why, but his Reborn album always stuck with me as a favorite.  That’s sometimes the thing about music; it finds you at the right time in your life.

So why was I hesitant?   I wondered what the show would be like.  Plain and simple.  I don’t think I’ve heard even a recording of Denny in the last 10 years.  Well – I am so glad to have been there I can hardly express it.

Denny and his band (after an opening act) began by playing Band On The Run in it entirety, and in a casual bar setting, it was perfect.  Lots of joining in was encouraged by the band, and plenty of fun banter from the stage.  It really had an energy I wasn’t expecting.  Denny joked at one point that he had written two parts of a song, Paul had written the in between, so of course, it’s credited to “Lennon/McCartney” most of the time.  “Get it right!”  He told the story behind Picasso’s Last Words starting with “Paul had a Picasso on the wall…. because when you’re a Beatle, you have a Picasso on the wall…”  I really can’t say enough about how great the performance was.  His harmonica on Bye Bye Bird was I think as good as I’ve ever seen on videos from the 60s.  My date had a real blast with this one!

If you get to see this show, don’t miss it for anything.  Sir Paul won’t give you the entire album.  And of course if you’re a Moodies fan like me, you’ll never hear The Original Singer perform FOUR of the songs from “Moodies #1”.  Deep in my soul I’d loved to have heard one of his co-compositions with Pinder, but now I’m really hoping beyond hope!

The other two Moodies songs they performed were Go Now and Can’t Nobody Love You


After the show, Denny came out to do a signing.  Apparently this is common knowledge and people showed up with LPs.  I didn’t know, and I didn’t know what the Hard Rock would let me walk in with, so I came with a 45 and a CD tucked into my jacket.

Denny was so friendly and chatted with people as they went by.  I put down my Moodies EP (People Gotta Go) which he happily signed, then, the CD of Reborn.  He was suddenly excited “I haven’t seen this in so long!”  He took the sleeve from me and showed his girlfriend how he appeared in two ways on each page, once as “modern” and once as a ghost – I asked him “Is that you, too, in costume?” and he said “Yes!  As an old composer, you know?  Reborn?”  He signed that as well.

And here is my People Gotta Go EP.  Being signed.  Is this for authenticity?  No.  This will never be for sale!

Current Moody Blues Tour Info

50th Anniversary Tour

06/03/17 RANCHO MIRAGE, CA, UNITED STATES AGUA CALIENTE CASINO
06/04/17 PALA, CA, UNITED STATES STARLIGHT THEATRE
06/06/17 SARATOGA, CA, UNITED STATES THE MOUNTAIN WINERY
06/07/17 SARATOGA, CA, UNITED STATES THE MOUNTAIN WINERY
06/09/17 TROUTDALE, OR, UNITED STATES EDGEFIELD
06/10/17 WOODINVILLE, WA, UNITED STATES CHATEAU ST. MICHELLE
06/11/17 WOODINVILLE, WA, UNITED STATES CHATEAU ST. MICHELLE
06/17/17 LOS ANGELES, CA, UNITED STATES HOLLYWOOD BOWL
06/18/17 MURPHYS, CA, UNITED STATES IRONSTONE AMPHITHEATRE
06/20/17 ENGLEWOOD, CO, UNITED STATES FIDDLER’S GREEN AMPHITHEATRE
06/27/17 MINNEAPOLIS, MN, UNITED STATES ORPHEUM THEATRE
06/28/17 MILWAUKEE, WI, UNITED STATES SUMMERFEST
06/30/17 HIGHLAND PARK, IL, UNITED STATES RAVINIA
07/01/17 KETTERING, OH, UNITED STATES FRAZE PAVILION
07/02/17 NORTHFIELD, OH, UNITED STATES HARD ROCK LIVE
07/06/17 TORONTO, ON, CANADA SONY CENTRE FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS
07/07/17 TORONTO, ON, CANADA SONY CENTRE FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS
07/09/17 WALLINGFORD, CT, UNITED STATES OAKDALE THEATRE
07/10/17 BOSTON, MA, UNITED STATES BLUE HILLS BANK PAVILION
07/12/17 WANTAGH, NY, UNITED STATES NORTHWELL HEALTH AT JONES BEACH THEATER
07/13/17 HOLMDEL, NJ, UNITED STATES PNC BANK ARTS CENTER
07/15/17 PHILADELPHIA, PA, UNITED STATES MANN CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS
07/16/17 SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY, UNITED STATES SARATOGA PERFORMING ARTS CENTER
07/18/17 BETHLEHEM, PA, UNITED STATES SANDS BETHLEHEM EVENT CENTER
07/19/17 BALTIMORE, MD, UNITED STATES PIER 6 PAVILION
07/20/17 VIENNA, VA, UNITED STATES WOLF TRAP
07/22/17 NASHVILLE, TN, UNITED STATES RYMAN AUDITORIUM
07/23/17 ATLANTA, GA, UNITED STATES CHASTAIN PARK AMPHITHEATRE

‘The Wind of Heaven’ is beautiful

Full honesty up front.  I was at the web premiere of The Wind of Heaven as a video.  I wasn’t very moved at first viewing.  It could have been the interview around it, who knows.  I watched it once or twice after and it didn’t grab me.  Today my copy of All The Way arrived so I was afforded the opportunity to sit back and just listen to this more than seven minute journey.  I also looked up more information and found this synopsis of the film it (strikingly well) represents:

“The Wind of Heaven is about a veteran that comes back home from Afghanistan and really loses himself, can’t pick up the life he had before he left.  Eventually, he gets work on a ranch and he finds that he has kind of a communion with the wild horses and he finds himself through horses.”

In addition, one should know:

“The wind of heaven is that which blows between a horse’s ears” – Arabian Proverb

So, with both of those in mind, I listened again, without the video.  It starts very much in the area of despair, and the chorus arrives and lifts us slightly out of it before the song goes back into the sadness.  But again, the chorus “rescues” us.  The cycle repeats, and the length of the song gives it time to do so over and over.  Thrust back into dark, lifted back out of it.  Incredibly lifelike.  It took me repeated listens, though, to notice how each time the chorus visits us, it is more uplifting than the previous, and by the end the keyboards are practically giddy before the end.

It is not just a beautiful song, the structure of it has made me really love it.

Bonjour de France! Simple joys of collecting via eBay

In some ways it’s a little too easy to collect Moody Blues items in the internet era.  Finding an official pressing of Moving Mountains was once a little tricky and meant digging around.   Now of course you can take your pick of a number of them on eBay.  But I don’t mind at all – some things that would have been out of reach or hard to find simply wouldn’t have come my way.

I watched the Nights In White Satin documentary (thank you, internet, for pointing me to the DVD release) and it was the first I heard of the story about the Patricia version of the song being out ahead of their own!  Some quick eBay looking for a very reasonable price, a 45 was on its way from France to my door.  It arrived with a post-it note signed “bonjour de France”.  A simple pleasure in connecting with another music lover in another part of the world.

More often than not now the Moodies items I find worth my interest come from abroad – France, Japan, Australia, of course, the UK.  I definitely get an added smile when something comes with a nice little note of thanks or sharing of an interest!

Mike Pinder Interview

When I was in high school, I was fortunate enough to meet Mike Pinder and spend about an hour with him doing an interview for our local cable station.  I’m going to look into posting the video shortly, even though I find it hard to watch!
pinder3 pinder4

 

 

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Two days later, he did a signing at a local Borders book store and I was able to hang out with Mike and Tara over the course of the evening.

pinder1 pinder2

I Want TOSOL In High Resolution!

Almost unbelievably, The Other Side of Life celebrates its 30th anniversary.  To “celebrate” there is a vinyl release from Friday Music.  I would call it “ok.”  It’s nice to have a clean stamping on a heavy piece of vinyl, but it doesn’t sound any better than the 1986 vinyl if you find one that’s in tip-top shape, so no special remastering.  I find it strange that TOSOL, which did so much to bring attention and revival to the band, never got an upgrade at the 25th anniversary or now.  It should be ripe for it – it was the band’s first DDD release on CD, meaning it was recorded digitally.

I would have expected it would get an SACD or similar release given the import it has in the band’s portfolio.  The Core 7 got the SACD treatment, though one could argue that SACD is out of fasion.   Still, in the Mobile Fidelity days, everything up through Long Distance Voyager saw the gold disc and remaster treatment, but not TOSOL.

We do have the too-expensive box set, The Polydor Years which is almost an update if you imagine TOSOL along with the live concert CD from the accompanying tour, but it’s not truly an update to TOSOL.

So, not one to raise problems without offering solutions – how about a high resolution download?  I would love a high bitrate download of a FLAC or similar file.  This is often the high-end solution these days in place of physical media, and it should be relatively cheap and quick to produce.  And surely there’s an unreleased track or two kicking around, yes?  And if I really had my wish, it’d come with that original painting with the child that was nixed by the band!

Where To Buy

Current catalog and available merchandise

Music and Videos

www.amazon.com or any other major retailer

https://patrickmoraz.neucart.com/ for Patrick Moraz solo albums

Mike Pinder‘s store

Tour t-shirts, mugs, etc.

http://shop.moodybluestoday.com

http://johnlodge.com/store for 10,000 Light Years Ago merch

https://shop.justinhayward.com/ for Spirits of the Western Sky merch

Padding out the collection

I’ve used eBay for quite a while – back when if ordering from the UK I had to get a money order from the post office, send it overseas and wait for my item.  Things are much different today and it’s a great way to find rare (or not!) items.

http://www.ebay.com

Other places to search around:

http://www.elusivedisc.com/

http://www.eil.com/