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Story and photos by Andy ArgyrakisWhen The Moody Blues debuted in the mid-1960s, or more specifically, released the now classic concept collection Days of Future Passed in 1967, its innovative blend of British Invasion beats, progressive rock and classical elements seemed nothing short of extraordinary. Fast forward over four decades and the group's since amassed over 70 million album sales and remains on the road with the nucleus of Justin Hayward (guitar, vocals), John Lodge (bass, vocals) and Graeme Edge (drums), augmented by a quartet of supporting backers.
Between the group's experimental beginnings and hit-ripe history, the trio had no trouble selling out a return visit to summer's ultimate hot spot Ravinia and enhancing a night under the stars with impressive sonic dexterity. However, members' playing abilities remain their best asset considering time has eroded portions of their once sky high harmonies (now assisted by a pair of integral female backers).
Nonetheless, there were plenty of ambitious flashbacks and more commercially-minded material to celebrate, from early art rock jams like "The Day We Meet Again" and "Gypsy (Of a Strange and Distant Time)" to pop-centered sing-a-longs like "Steppin' In a Slide Zone" and "I Know You're Out There Somewhere." Another highlight was "The Story In Your Eyes," which closed out the first act of the two hour evening with stomping guitars and charging percussion.
The second half started on a less flattering note with "Your Wildest Dreams" suffering from now dated '80s production, and later, the sci-fi sleeper "Higher and Higher." Better examples of post-intermission momentum came during full throttled cuts like the classic rocker "I'm Just a Singer (In a Rock and Roll Band)" and the swelling ballad "Nights in White Satin." Along with a finale of "Question" and an encore of "Ride My See-Saw," The Moody Blues covered almost all the necessary bases (sans "Go Now!") to fully showcase its sonically varied catalogue.
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