Like the Beatles, the guys in Moody Blues were popmusicians who turned into visionaries, thanks to their experientments with entheogenic drugs. Even writing a tribute to the illustrious (and reckless/irresponsible) Timothy Leary. And like the fab four they found their true environment in the studio, writing complex, yet catchy and engaging songs with intelligent, often spiritual lyrics.
But whereas Beatles never tried to recreate their works live, Justin Hayward & co. did their best. And as this recording from Isle of Wight demonstrates, they didn't really succeed in recreating their music on the stage (probably they should have had some extra musicians on board), and in truth none of the tracks sound as good as the studio versions.
The playing is sloppy in places, the vocals ragged. On the other hand there is a beautiful, optimistic, purple hazy atmosphere, and the songs, except the downright embarrasing "Minstrel's Song", have stood the test of time very well. Justin H.s are of course classics: "Tuesday Afternoon", "Night's In White Satin", but also his lesser known songs like "Never Had A Dream" and "Are You Siting Comfortably" are lustrious gems. Mike Pinder's "Melancholy Man" and "Have You Heard" sound moving and relevant. "Legend Of A Mind" of course a psychedelic classic.
The tapes have been mixed by Justin H. himself, which unfortunately hasn't been able to compensate for all defects of the masters.
For fans only - or for anyone interested in 'the hippy era' - but they will get an intersting historic document with definite glimpses of still artisticly relevant music. And an enjoyable hour of pleasant, high aiming music.
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