Sunday, September 04, 2005

DVD review - The Moody Blues Live at Montreaux 1991

2.5 / 5

The Moody Blues Live at Montreaux 1991
released: May 31, 2005
Eagle Eye Media
running time: 96 minutes

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Formed in 1964, the Moody Blues are one of the most respected and longest running psychedelic pop bands around. Sure, they have pretty much long abandoned making anything resembling psychedelic music decades ago, but they still play the old hits that brought them to world wide attention. The newer tunes, however, show that the Moodies became a pleaseant adult contemporary band.

For Moodies completests, this DVD is a must-have. For the casual fans, however, this isn't their definitive concert DVD. Filmed seven years before DVDs were sprung on the consumer market, the footage isn't as sharp as you would expect. Further proof that this is more of a "budget" DVD is the complete lack of extra features. No interviews or additional footage. Despite having a large catalogue of albums, there are only a paltry 15 songs here! They should have augmented the DVD with tracks from another show. Live, the Moody Blues are pleaseant but not all that exciting or dynamic.

On the plus side, you can really enjoy the DVD if you play it on the tube while surfing the Internet, reading your e-mails, etc. The songs were obviously well received by the Montreaux audience, including the new material. The newer songs are good for what they are trying to be, middle of the road pop, and usually have delicate but tasty guitar solos. Of course, a lot of people will find the newer material utterly boring. Like so many veteran bands, the Moody Blues exist to tour and play mostly classic tracks for the fans. They are a bona fide nostaligia act who would not have an easy go of it were they a new band starting out with their recent geriatric, adult contemporary offerings. They still record new albums, but they don't sell as well as the olders ones did.

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The livelier tracks caught my attention the most: "The Story in Your Eyes," "I'm Just A Singer (In A Rock and Roll Band)," "Ride My See-Saw," "Gemini Dream," and "Question." In the 80s, they captured new listeners with the album The Other Side of Life and it's hit title track and the upbeat song "Wildest Dreams." Of course, some people accused them of selling out, but they were able to turn new fans onto their ledgendary back catalogue. I definitely know people who had never listened to a Moodies album before, snap up The Other Side of Life, due to all the airplay it received. "Lean On Me (Tonight)" has a subtle reggae feel to it and some tasty guitar playing that barely saves it from being soft rock dreck. Sung by bassist John Lodge, the recording here is noticeably terrible! Not something you would expect from a DVD.

The Moody Blues deserve a well-documented, richly photographed, concert DVD, with a lot more songs. This isn't it. I haven't seen the Red Rocks DVD for comparision, unfortunately.

01. "Lovely To See You" (On A Threshold Of A Dream, 1969)
02. "Gemini Dream" (Long Distance Voyager, 1981)
03. "Tuesday Afternoon" (Days of Future Passed, 1967)
04. "Bless The Wings (That Bring You Back)" (Keys Of The Kingdom, 1991)
05. "Lean On Me (Tonight)"(Keys Of The Kingdom, 1991)
06. "Say It With Love" (Keys Of The Kingdom, 1991)
07. "The Story In Your Eyes" (Every Good Boy Deserves A Favour, 1971)
08. "Your Wildest Dreams" (The Other Side of Life, 1986)
09. "Isn’t Life Strange" (The Seventh Sojurn, 1972)
10. "The Other Side Of Life" (The Other Side of Life, 1986)
11. "I’m Just A Singer (In A Rock & Roll Band)" (The Seventh Sojurn, 1972)
12. "Nights In White Satin" (Days of Future Passed, 1967)
13. "Legend Of A Mind (Timothy Leary)" (In Search Of The Lost Chord, 1968)
14. "Question" (A Question Of Balance, 1970)
15. "Ride My See-Saw" (In Search Of The Lost Chord, 1968)

Some random notes.
Boyish looking Justin Hayward, sported a puffy pirate shirt (Seinfeld!) Drummer Graeme Edge resembled Jerry Garcia. There was a second drummer in the form of Gordon Marshall. Bassist/ vocalist John Lodge and Justin Hayward looked remarkably well preserved. The light show was completely unspectacular. There is a lack of sophisticated camera angles. It appears as if no camera cranes were used. Justin Hayward is one of the few lead singers who doubles as lead guitarist and he manages to hold his own. He won't be compared to Jeff Beck or anyone like that, but he bends the right notes without overdoing it.

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