“Red Rocks is a rain-or-shine venue,” they said. Apparently not, because word is that the crazy rain on Saturday night caused the Gramatik show to be cut short. Come Sunday, and nobody fancied the idea of risking the Moody Blues under our notoriously unpredictable weather, so the show got moved to the Denver Coliseum.
This was a massive disappointment to us, because this was supposed to be this editor’s first Red Rocks show since arriving in the state in August. No offense to the historic Coliseum, but the venue is much like any other arena found around the country (bad acoustics, bad food, terrible parking organization – you know the drill). Assigned seating was abandoned, forcing people to squeeze in where they could, regardless of where their ticket saw them originally placed.
All of that said, the Moody Blues put on a great show and, at the end of the day, that’s why we were all there. Justin Hayward’s voice sounds as sweet as it ever did and, when combined with the voices of John Lodge and Graeme Edge, the harmonies are still exquisite. The light show is interesting, if a little dated (it often resembles one of those old 1990s rave videos, or perhaps an acid flashback – maybe that’s the point).
The rest of the band that the core Moody Blues trio has assembled is impressive and, while the sound had a habit of getting a lost in this cavernous venue, the band still sounded extremely tight. Meanwhile, all of our favorite tunes were aired, from the ’80s hit “I Know You’re Out There Somewhere” to classics like “Question” and of course “Nights in White Satin.”
The West Midlands region of England produced some incredible bands in the 1960s and early ’70s, including Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. The Moody Blues are another, and in 2015 (51 years after forming), they still sound great. Symphonic and anthemic, they’re everything that’s great about prog rock without the dullard jammy aspects. Long may they continue.