It is hard to believe that the music of Justin Hayward and the Moody Blues has been around for 50 years. Memories drift back to 1970 when one could take a couple of draws on a doobie, kick back, put Days Of Future Passed on the turntable, don headphones, and drift away to the ethereal, blissful sounds of the music of the Moody Blues. Seemed like the packed house at the Fox Theatre shared some of those same memories. Those memories were renewed during the concert and for a short time it felt as though our youth had returned. Mr. Hayward jokingly admitted during the show that he had “some” recollection of the early days.
The show opened with band member, Mike Dawes, on guitar. Mr. Dawes enthralled the crowd from the first notes played. He has played guitar since the age of twelve. Now in his twenties, Mike is a marvel on guitar. He appeared to know every crack and crevice of his instrument and yet he caressed the guitar like a newfound lover. He was able to coax layers of music simultaneously that included bass, percussion, harmony, and melody. His sense of humor and exuberance was infectious.
Justin Hayward took the stage with keyboardist, Julie Ragins Her synthesizer added just enough of a touch to make the songs of the set reminiscent of the original Moody Blues sound. The set started with “Tuesday Afternoon.” By the second song, Mike Dawes joined in to finish the trio. The only part of the band missing was drums and percussion. However, I don’t think the fans noticed. There were more standing ovations than I could count. When Justin requested audience participation, the rabid fans were more than willing to oblige.
One of the things that I found surprising and endearing was Justin’s willingness to engage with the audience with his stories from the past. The stories ranged from his childhood memories to present day. Interestingly his musical influences from childhood were Buddy Holly and The Everly Brothers. When he was first able to come to the United States, he took a tour of Lubbock, Texas, the birthplace of Buddy Holly. His dreams of childhood later became the inspiration for his song, “The Western Sky.”
The musical legend’s two-hour set was over as it seemingly began. The deafening applause marked the end with a request for Justin Hayward to return to Tucson next year. For a complete set list, click here. The tour continues for the bulk of June and then picks up again in Europe in September 2016. Click here for information.