The day had long since slipped into Tuesday evening but as far as the fans of the legendary Moody Blues bassist and singer John Lodge were concerned it was still "Tuesday Afternoon" as they anticipated Lodge's performance of that song and other Moody Blues favorites at the historic Phoenix venue, Celebrity Theatre. Lodge is currently on tour in celebration of the 56th anniversary of the landmark Moody Blues album Days of Future Passed and for this show he performed the prog rock classic in its entirety. But first Lodge and his 10,000 Light Years Band played a selection of other Moody Blues favorites, most of which he wrote.
For this show Celebrity Theatre's famed rotating stage was stationary and set up for a "half house," so everyone had a great view of the performers, which included Lodge's longtime Moody Blues bandmate Alan Hewitt on keys, Billy Ashbaugh on drums, Duffy King on guitars and the highly-animated Jason Charboneau on cello. The show began with the band playing a dramatic intro without John on the stage; when he strolled on to thunderous applause, bass in hand, the group launched into "Steppin' in a Slide Zone." The Blue Jays (Justin Hayward and John Lodge) cut "Saved by the Music" and Moody Blues cut "Nervous," from 1981's Long Distance Voyager album, were played next before "Legend of a Mind," the song written by late Moody Blues multi-instrumentalist Ray Thomas. Lodge told the story of how he met Thomas on a bus in Birmingham, England and how Ray first sang "Legend of a Mind" for him. Lodge related the anecdote with a huge smile and his affection for his departed friend and bandmate was palpable, and he ended his commentary by saying "I'd like to keep Ray's music alive." The song, about LSD and acid guru Timothy Leary sounded amazing and Hewitt even played Thomas's flute part on keyboard. The set of highlights from throughout Lodge's career moved on with "One More Life to Live;" Lodge wrote the song in 1970 and he noted that as far as the song's subject matter was concerned, "Nothing much has changed." The rocking hit "Gemini Dream" preceded a stellar reading of "Isn't Life Strange" which Lodge explained he wrote on a new piano; the story was funny because he sort of snuck the piano into his house without his wife's knowledge. This portion of the show ended with another raucous cut, "I'm Just a Singer (In a Rock and Roll Band)."
After a short intermission the band returned to perform Days of Future Passed. That concept album began with a poetry reading by the late Moody Blues drummer Graeme Edge and it was a touching moment as Edge's likeness appeared on video screen as a recorded version of the poem was played. Days of Future Passed, with cuts like the rocking "Peak Hour" and "Another Morning" where King played acoustic guitar and Charboneau plucked his cello like an upright bass, has long been regarded as one of the best prog rock efforts ever. Faithfully recreated here live, the album has also been given tribute by a newly-recorded version by Lodge and the 10,000 Light Years Band, Days of Future Passed - My Sojourn. Jon Davison, the lead singer for Yes, came on stage to sing "Tuesday Afternoon" and returned a few songs later to sing the big hit and classic rock radio mainstay "Nights in White Satin." Davison also played acoustic guitar on the song which brought the set to a close save for an encore of the Lodge-penned favorite from 1968, "Ride My See-Saw." Lodge and his band did indeed do a fine job of keeping the music of the Moody Blues alive.
The John Lodge show was brought to Celebrity Theatre by Danny Zelisko Presents. Other DZP shows on the way to Celebrity Theatre include:
Sept. 8 - Buddy Guy with Christone "Kingfish" Ingram
Sept. 21 - Blue Oyster Cult with Head East
Sept. 26 - Samantha Fish with Eric Johanson
Sept. 30 (Two shows) - George Lopez
Oct. 4 - Geoff Tate
Oct. 18 - "Celebrating David Bowie"
For a complete list of DZP concerts coming to Arizona and locations throughout the country go here.
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