The CODES in LA and the Moody Blues in Vegas, January 2018

The venerable CODES, now pushing 11 years playing together, longer than most marriages, had a fabulous gig at the famous Globe Theater in downtown Los Angeles on January 24. We have a very serious following at the yearly International Stroke Symposium and hundreds of fans reliably show up for our gigs. This time we had a great light show to augment our usual fare, and, as always, some new material. It all went extremely well.

I then hopped up to Vegas to catch the last of the Moody Blues road shows. They ended their tour on Jan 26 at the Wynn Theater. I managed pretty good (but not great) seats as the show was quickly sold out and I ended up with StubHub tickets, all of which sold out quickly as well. The theater was nice, the acoustics were perfect and it wasn’t too loud.

The Moody Blues started their career in 1964, but really struck pay dirt in 1967 with the release of their second album “Days of Future Passed”, a fusion of symphonic classical music and rock, eventually termed “progressive” or “art” Rock. The two singles from that album “Nights in White Satin” and “Tuesday Afternoon” are Rock standards. This album was quickly followed up by “In Search of the Lost Chord” in 1968 featuring flute solos by the late Ray Thomas.

These guys have been playing music, making albums and touring for 50 years. They did a Caribbean Cruise with the Zombies in 2014 (a friend attended). I saw them live in 1980 and again sometime in the 2000s here in Pittsburgh. They always have a great show. They have sold 70 million albums world-wide and were (finally) inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2018.

This particular tour in Vegas was interesting in several respects.

There are three remaining members of the band, lead singer Justin Hayward as been there since 1966 and has won virtually every award possible as a songwriter. Bass player John Lodge has also been there from the beginning. Drummer Graham Edge doesn’t appear to be in the best of health and I noticed there were two drummers, the younger guy assertively pounding the skins as Graham kind of went on a relaxed cruise mode. Mellotron Player Mike Pinder quit in 1979 to develop new artists. Ray Thomas died recently. The three surviving Moodies are all over 70 years of age.

They came out to a really beautiful stage, a large screen behind them showing clips of them at a much earlier age. It was an interesting dynamic. The problem then was which of their massive catalog of songs to do before they moved on to play “Days of Future Passed” in it’s entirety, (the symphonic sections were canned). So they picked some pretty good selections, including “The Story in Your Eyes” which almost brought a tear to my grizzled eye as it brought back times and relations in my early life. But they only played for 45 minutes, then took a 20 minute break before coming back with the album.

That seemed a little bit brief to me. I played three hours straight two nights before and I’m older than all of them, but truth be told, I sure as Hell don’t do it every week for a full three month tour. They looked tired and I bet they were. They didn’t have time to play some of the classics I think they should have, but time doesn’t heal all ills. Ray Thomas was replaced by a female flutist and she was very good. Overall the production was very good but it was very obvious that Justin Hayward was losing his voice. He soldiered on but he was close to croaking.

All in all, it was a very serious remembrance of my past. “For our Children’s Children’s Children”, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour” and “Seventh Sojourn” got me through medical school in the early 70s and are vivid, painful markers of some relationship’s I’ll never have again. I was near tears at some of these markers. I’ll probably never see them again.

Video Clip is me pulling out my iPhone and taking a brief video of the boys singing a song I didn’t come on to for a bit later. I then hooked this video onto one I took of the Moody Blues in performance.

 

“Travelling eternity road
What will you find there?
Carrying your heavy load
Searching to find a piece of mind.”

From Children’s Children, 1969)

David Crippen, MD, FCCM
Professor Emeritus
University of Pittsburgh (Ret)

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