Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Moody Blues

It was sometime in the late 1960's or late '70's that Blues entered my consciousness. A good time for them to crash into my brain my wife and I just completed our seven children, I was the rising young financial star in a film company called American International Pictures a nice position which didn't really translate into much cash. We, my wife and I were both tired but I was having more fun. She was stuck at home with the brood (that's the way it was done back in the day) and I was working hard doing some travelling through Europe, South America as well meeting with big shots from other countries when they came to the United States. This of course meant big business dinners, a lot of motion picture screenings and just enjoying the benefits of being a big fish in a little pound. But as I said, we were getting tired. A business associate, another young Turk introduced me to The Moody Blues. He also tried to introduce me to Colombian Gold but when my wife found out she really chewed my ass leaving bite marks all over my backside and I am not referring to love bites. So all I had was The Moody Blues and for me their first and best album, "Days of Future Passed".

I would come home wasted from the day's work, play and drink. As long it wasn't from Colombian Gold my wife wasn't unhappy as I would lay on the floor and put on the album. It was with the London Symphony orchestra and it brought visions into this tired mind of stars retreating as the dawn was breaking and the first song, "The Day Begins" started to play. They would bring me through he day into the evening with "Nights In White Satin" then raise me up again with "Fly Me High" all the way through "Tuesday Afternoon" and end it with "Twilight Time" and a fabulous poem and the London Symphony Orchestra howling great notes. Naturally I played this at full volume. It was a transcendental experience which led me to buy many of their albums but none had the effect "Days" had. I often wondered just how much of an experience I would have if I listened while I smoked some Colombian Gold. Then a friend of mine told me "The Blues" were coming to Madison Square Garden. Without saying we went.

We had great seats somewhere in the front center. There was a group, good or bad I don't remember, who warmed up the place which needed no warming at all. I noticed a haze which seem to come over the place. No anti-smoking laws were in place back then. I kept breathing deeply and by the time they came on, with the first number, "I'm Just A Singer In A Rock And Roll Band" I was flying. They finally got to the numbers on "The Days of Future Passed" and I realized I had a contact high! In the middle of Madison Square Garden, with tens of thousands screaming and adoring I floated to "Tuesday Afternoon" and absolutely flew to "Nights In White Satin", my wife could not be mad at me because whether it was Colombian Gold or Mary Jane from Mexico it didn't matter I was floating way up there joined with the masses there forever even though we would never know who we were but what did that matter.

Unfortunately, life continued on and I got older, so did my wife and kids. The company moved to California and I didn't and soon "The Blues" and the motion picture business was gone in a fog of boring Bank business which at least paid well even if it wasn't any fun. Just last Saturday, my oldest, and I mean "Old", son got tickets for "The Moody Blues" at Westbury, for those not New Yorkers this is a place that has been around forever and puts on great shows and concerts on Long Island , New York. I wondered if I would recapture the "experience" but I doubted it. I thought the crowd would be old, really old, you know like me, but I was happy to see that despite an older crowd, guess the average age was about 55 but there were young ones and old, you know like me. There was not an empty seat in the place. There was a feeling of excitement as we waited and then suddenly down the aisles came, Graeme Edge, Drummer, Poet, Composer, Born March 30, 1941, John Lodge, Bass Guitar, Singer Composer, born July 20, 1945 and Justin Haywood born Oct. 14, 1946 and I thought "What old bastards! I hope they can get through the performance without having a heart attack.". They had four more musicians that were younger, a guy on keyboard, a magnificent Percussionist, and two beautiful gals one keyboard who doubled on Tenor Sax, the other Guitar who doubled on a flute and she was terrific. Well let me tell you they were terrific as they played an hour with a half hour intermission and finished with another hour. The place was rocking. Even old guys, you know like me, got up and were yelling, singing and waving arms. Graeme, John and Justin were great, full of life and the longer they played the younger they looked. For a brief moment they transported me back to Madison Square Garden but it wasn't quite the same, it wasn't their fault, no smoking permitted, no contact high.

The Moody Blues had us in the palm of their collective hands. The night may be over but their music will always live in my mind and heart reminding me of times when this old guy wasn't quite so old.
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