The Moody Blues Glasgow Apollo 1979

The Moody Blues Glasgow Apollo 1979
moodiesprog My parents got their first stereo system in the late 60s. It consisted of a Garrard turntable, a separate amplifier and a couple of speakers. Around the same time my uncle bought a lovely HMV Stereogram. It was a wonderful piece of equipment, which I now have in my record room upstairs, alongside a modern player and an old Dansette. I would play my records on our stereo system, and also take them down the street to play on my uncle’s Stereogram, to compare the sound and the stereo effects. The albums I had at the time were The Beatles White album, Tommy by the Who, the Crazy World of Arthur Brown, and Days of Future Passed by the Moody Blues. Days of Future Passed was my favourite. The album had been recorded to demonstrate the New “Deramic Sound System” and had set out to demonstrate the potential of stereo recording. The sound was unlike anything I had heard before. The symphonic arrangements, the blend of classic and rock, the way in which the sound was divided across the two stereo channels; it was like entering a whole new sonic world for the first time. And the songs; “Tuesday Afternoon”, “Dawn is a Feeling”, and “Twilight Time”, were just amazing. But best of all was “Nights in White Satin”. I love the song to this day, but from the moment I first heard it I was fascinated by its unearthly quality. It stood out from the rest of songs on the album.
The Moody Blues early 1970s UK tours missed Newcastle. They played the Odeon in 1969, but didn’t return to the North East until the early 1980s. They did play Leeds University a couple of times in the early 70s, but I was just a little too young to make the trip to Leeds to see them. They then went on a hiatus from 1974 to 1978. So I never got to see the Moody Blues until 1979 when they returned to promote their new album “Octave”. Their 1979 tour was short, only taking in three venues: Glasgow Apollo, Stafford Bingley Hall, and Wembley Arena. I had waited so long to see this band, so decided to make the trip to Glasgow Apollo for the concert.
moodybluestixglasgow The “Octave” album featured the classic Moodies line-up of Justin Hayward on guitar and vocals, John Lodge on bass and vocals, Ray Thomas on vocals and flute, Graeme Edge on drums, and Mike Pinder on organ and synthesiser. Mike Pinder decided that he didn’t wish to tour, and was replaced by Patrick Moraz, who had just left Yes.
On the day of the gig, I picked up Marie from work at 4pm and we drove straight up to Glasgow. I got lost somewhere in the city, as I often have to this day, and we arrived late, missing the support act. Support came from the late Jimmie Spheeris who was an American singer-songwriter and released four albums in the 1970s. We had seats upstairs, with a pretty good view of the stage. The Moodies had a big sound system, with massive speakers hanging from the roof. It was the first time I’d seen anything on this scale in a concert hall. The set was a mix of old favourites, and tracks from “Octave”. Although the sound system was huge, I remember thinking that the sound level was quite quiet for a “rock” band. “Nights in White Satin” was my favourite, along with the last song “Question”. The encore was “Ride me See-Saw” which it has been each time I saw them.
It was great to see the Moody Blues after such a long wait, and they didn’t let me down. The Moodies toured a lot since the late 70s, often calling at Newcastle, and I have seen them several times since that night. I’ll reflect on those concerts over the next few days.
From the tour programme: “The legend that never really went away while their music lived on is now back live with Patrick Moraz in the keyboard seat and their first appearances in the U.K. for six years sealed by two capacity appearances at Wembley Arena in 1979…….now at the end of 1979, it’s time for Britain to welcome the Moody Blues back to the live stage. Inevitably, there’ll be people in the audience tonight who have never been fortunate enough to see the Moody Blues playing live, but just as many, and possibly more, will be those who’ve seen the group before and enjoyed their albums since the ’60s. A cause for celebration – the return of the Magnificent Moody Blues”. The programme advertised “Out of this World” which was a compilation album of Moodies classics released on K-Tel records.
Setlist: Steppin’ in a Slide Zone; Tuesday Afternoon; Twilight Time; The Day We Meet Again; The Story in Your Eyes; I’m Your Man; Top Rank Suite; Isn’t Life Strange; Driftwood; I’ll Be Level With You; Gypsy; Survival; The Balance; I’m Just a Singer (In a Rock and Roll Band); Nights in White Satin; Legend of a Mind; Question. Encore: Ride My See-Saw.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: