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The Moody Blues - 'Days Of Future Passed Live' Hot

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Written by Central Electronic Brain     November 05, 2018    
 
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Future? Passed? This sounds like the Moody Blues are present.

Navjot Sidhu, sportsman, politician, tells us you can't play a symphony on your own, you need an orchestra. Thanks, mate. We see the point though, the teamwork is indispensable, and bands have agreed with increasing regularity and not a little career-enhancing feel. The latest are the Moody Blues.

But hang on, there's a reason that lips shouldn't curl; their second release, the one with 'Nights In White Satin' on it, (that one), 'Days Of Future Passed', was one of the first to use an orchestra - this was in 1967, so there! This is the album reproduced, with additions, on the second of two discs here; the first is a visitation on their work in the seventies, mainly on their own, at the Toronto Centre For Perfoming Arts.

As might be expected, it's a rather genteel affair, not raucous at all, and sumptuous sounding. 'I'm Just A Singer' opens with a bit of feistiness, as if they've just got up. However, by 'Steppin' In A Slide Zone' they have settled in, and the orchestra are just peeking in, adding as if to say, "Is this enough"? It is, exactly. They sound like a nice, well-travelled group of chaps. 'Say It With Love' is very pleasant, and 'Your Wildest Dreams' even kinder. It's what would be expected, but doesn't stir the sinew at all. That's why the oddly winsome 'Isn't Life Strange' works so well, and 'The Story In Your Eyes' ends the first disc with some simple energy.

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The second is of course their 'Days Of Future Passed', thought to be one of the earliest examples of Progressive Rock. They had to piece together the orchestral pieces as they weren't kept after the recording session. It's clearly a labour of love, and clear from the lovely 'The Day Begins' that the orchestra is beautifully at the centre of this; as is Jeremy Irons, narrating fruitily here, and the crowd politely show their enjoyment. This is beautiful, shimmering, poignant, delicate, rising and falling with grace, and it sounds old in a seasoned and relied upon way, just what we need.

Highlights? Nah, can't be done; it needs to be listened to together. The orchestral preludes often sound like fifties incidental film music, that good (I keep expecting Sid James and George Cole to rock up), and 'Peak Hour' is party fun; the crowd really love 'Tuesday Afternoon', and there's a bit of a heritage work through of 'Nights In White Satin', the power provided by the orchestra. The Toronto World Festival Orchestra are quite wonderful here, not just powerful, painting with real skill and artistry, and it all fits perfectly. A very enjoyable 'Question' and rather rocking 'Ride My See-Saw' are also stand-outs.

This is not what you may expect. It isn't just a trawl-though. Well, the first disc sometimes sounds like that, but the main event, the second disc works so well. The orchestral pieces adding depth and fun, the songs loved by the audience, and played with real understanding.

Future? Passed? This sounds like the Moody Blues are present.

Steve Swift

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