Go Now: The Music of The Moody Blues, Market Drayton Festival Centre - review with pictures
The Festival Centre’s twinkling-star cloth provided a perfect backdrop for the band that launched their tribute to The Moody Blues with a foot-tapping Fly me High.
We travelled through time and space to some weird and wonderful places, fuelled by classic songs from albums such as Days of Future Passed, In Search of the Lost Chord and On the Threshold of a Dream that fuelled the show's other-worldly atmosphere.
Lest we felt too grounded in the interval between sets, the second half opened with music by Moody Blue's Justin Hayward from the 1978 musical War of the Worlds.
The Go Now! concert tour was the brainchild of drummer Gordy Marshall who played with The Moody Blues for 25 years. He was joined by former 10cc vocalist Mick Wilson, guitarist Nick Kendall, bass player Malcolm Moore and Patrick Duffin on synthesizer.
Their biographies on the Go Now! website speak of stellar musical connections and collaborations. The Moody Blues were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame just two weeks ago.
The band had challenges to overcome in reproducing the original sounds. Though Gordy stepped down from his drums to play flute on the lyrically beautiful The Actor, original flute parts had to be covered mostly by synthesizer or guitar. They were also minus a mellotron, echo chamber, and symphony orchestra.
It was a testament to the band’s musical skill and versatility that the pieces I enjoyed most were those from the original progressive rock concept albums produced in a studio.
Tuesday Afternoon and Doctor Livingstone, I Presume were followed by an electrifying rendition of Legend of a Mind, with ethereal chord sequences and harmonies mixed with dramatic changes of tempo.
The performance of Legend was dedicated to composer and flautist with the original band Ray Thomas, who died in January.
The Go Now! band also gave us plenty of the Moody Blues’ catchy pop-rock tunes. They took obvious delight in belting out I’m Just a Singer in a Rock and Roll Band, Nights in White Satin and a seriously moody Go Now.
We had no period psychedelic lights, but Festival Centre volunteer and lighting supremo Peter Morris was spot on. Phenomenal effects were achieved with the centre’s 70 lights and digital programming equipment. With quick reflexes attuned to the dynamics of the music and some pre-programmed sequences, Peter gave the evening the great mood lighting it deserved.
With news that Abba are planning a hologram reunion tour, as computer-generated 'ABBA-tars' of their younger selves, it was a pleasure to hear some favourite rock classics delivered by a live, first-rate band on the Drayton stage.