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Concert Review: Moody Blues prove they've still got it

11:27 PM CDT on Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The synchronicity between the Moody Blues and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra truly manifested itself in the second half of the English band's concert Wednesday, the first of two sold-out nights at the Meyerson Symphony Center.

"Isn't Life Strange" from 1972 embellished its already ethereal quality with gorgeous strings from the orchestra and beautiful flute playing from Norda Mullen. John Lodge was on lead vocals, but the harmonies between him and band frontman Justin Hayward created soaring drama punctuated by the interplay between smoke and light rays.

Then, of course, there's "Nights In White Satin," the Moodies signature ballad. It began with the recitation from drummer Graeme Edge and quickly took flight in Hayward's hands. The flute solo, the symphonic finale and the engulfing chorus made for quite a wow moment.

Yet the biggest stunner is the longevity of this group 45 years after its inception. Yes, the core is down to a trio after the 2002 retirement of flutist Ray Thomas. Onstage the group employs four other musicians to help create the wall of sound. But if anything the Moody Blues are in the midst of a third, or maybe fourth wind.

"Nights In White Satin" is in Rob Zombie's Halloween II movie. The melodic "Tuesday Afternoon," which arrived early in the first half of the two-hour set, is prominently heard in a Visa commercial. The band regularly tours and always draws an enthusiastic crowd.

The songs are the reason they endure. We're talking about "The Voice," the concert opener, as well as "Your Wildest Dreams," "The Other Side of Life" and "I Know You're Out There Somewhere," all staples from the '80s.

We can even mention "I'm Just a Singer (In a Rock 'n' Roll Band)" and "Ride My See-Saw," the encore number. Those and many more keep the Moody Blues alive and viable.