Justin Hayward Darlington Hippodrome 13 September 2022

justin7Well, the last time I was at Darlington Hippodrome, it was called Darlington Civic Theatre and the performance was by none other than the Chuckle Brothers (Laura was a big fan at the time). I remember, I think it was on another occasion we saw the Chuckle Brothers at Newcastle Tyne Theatre, the late great lovely Barry Chuckle sang “Tell Laura I Love Her” to Laura as he signed her programme; which we both found quite funny and also quite touching! But that’s a story for another day.

justin4The Civic Theatre has morphed into the Hippodrome after some refurbishment which has entailed the construction of a new entrance, bar and restaurant which has lots of glass and is lovely. The old theatre remains as it was, still maintaining the lovely vintage red chairs, boxes and balconies as it did back in the day of the musical. Wonderful.

justin6But tonight was a night full of nostalgia in the company of the great Justin Hayward of the Moody Blues. Justin has toured a few times recently and I meant to catch up with him but for some reason or other never managed to. Anyway I put that right the other evening and shared a great night with the man who is in many ways the voice of the Moody Blues.

Given the passing of the only original member drummer Graeme Edge, and Justin and John Lodge each performing their own solo tours, it seems the Moody Blues no longer exist. So, experiencing Justin Hayward in performance is the closest we are likely to get to a full Moody Blues concert. We had a great view in the third row of the stalls, and the sound was perfect.

justin 1 - CopyOpening the show, with a short set of three or four songs was Mike Dawes, a simply amazing guitarist. Imagine this: he played the bass parts with his left thumb on the lower strings, the melody in chords with his left fingers, the lead guitar parts with his right hand plucking the strings and hitting the frets to create harmonics, and his elbow hitting the guitar to produce rhythmic drum sounds. All of this while he jumped around on stage. Redefining the concept of the one-man band. Unlike anything I have seen before. The guy took a short break and then reappeared as part of Justin’s band. The rest of the bad was an excellent flautist and another lady playing keyboards and providing accompanying vocals. During the short interval I took the chance to buy a nice cool Guinness, and a couple of programmes and signed posters for my friend John and I.

JUSTIN POSTER - CopyThe set consisted of a mix of Justin’s solo material and Moody Blues songs, some very familiar and some less so. Justin talked quite a lot to the audience, explaining the background to each track. After a couple of songs we were into the beautiful “Tuesday Afternoon”, one of my favourite Moody Blues tunes, from the magnificent Days of Future Passed. This was followed by more lovely melodic songs and then another favourite “The Voice” and “Forever Autumn” from Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds. This was soon followed by the classic “Question” (I still recall the Moody Blues playing this on Top of the Pops) and closing the show was (what else could it be) “Nights in White Satin”. Justin’s voice is as strong and beautiful as it ever was. The encore consisted of three songs including two more of my favourites “The Story in Your Eyes” and “I Know You’re out There Somewhere”. A great night with a great voice and a great man. Excellent. Happy days.

JUSTIN PROG - CopySetlist: The Eastern Sun; Driftwood; Tuesday Afternoon; The Actor; Hope and Pray; The Western Sky; The Voice;    Living for Love; Forever Autumn; Never Comes the Day; Your Wildest Dreams; Question; Nights in White Satin;     Encore: The Story in Your Eyes; I Know You’re Out There Somewhere; I Just Don’t Care.

It was great to see a friend from the blog who came up to say hello!

6 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Badfinger (Max) on September 23, 2022 at 10:56 pm

    I stupidly missed the Moody Blues through the years and I regret it. I would like to see him. He seems really nice and even liked on one of my posts!


  2. I still have my vinyl copy of “In search of the lost Chord” bought second hand in my mid-teens from a friend who said it was too “soft”. During the “heavy/punk/disco”, 70’s being a male Moody Blues fan seemed to place me a minority. One of the first albums that I bought when I had a wage, post-university, was the War of the Worlds and “Forever Autumn” remains a real pleasure. Hayward possesses a wonderful voice and has written some great songs, the Moodies were fantastic. I’m glad to hear he is still doing what he does best. Thanks for sharing.


    • Posted by vintagerock on September 26, 2022 at 5:17 pm

      Hi Alun many thanks for sharing. I bought a copy of Days of Future Passed when it 1st came out and played on my uncles new HMV stereogram. He has now sadly passed, but I inherited that stereogram and still have the album. I then saw the Moody’s in the late 70s at Glasgow Apollo which was the nearest date to the north-east on their 1st tour for many years. I have seen them many times since and they never failed to amaze me with that orchestral rock songs and Justin’s beautiful voice. One disappointment in what was a great show. The Moody’s always finished with an encore of Ride My Seesaw. I miss that song. Otherwise Justin was magnificent. Happy days Peter


  3. Posted by Graham. on October 5, 2022 at 4:24 am

    Thank you Peter. It was great to meet you also in Darlington.A very enjoyable concert.


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