The Moody Blues plays in Sarasota

The forefathers of progressive rock re-create their signature hits

March 20, 2014 

The Moody Blues in concert - Lancaster, Pa

Justin Hayward and John Lodge of the classic rock band The Moody Blues perform in concert March 12 in Lancaster, Pa.ASSOCIATED PRESS

OWEN SWEENEY — Owen Sweeney/Invision/AP

The Moody Blues hit their commercial peak in the '60s and '70s, when their lush music helped usher in the era of pseudo-symphonic rock.

So you might expect the audience at their upcoming concert at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota to be almost entirely made up of AARP members. And you might be surprised.Justin Hayward, one of three Moodies remaining from the classic lineup, said the group's current fan base discovered its music nearly two decades later, when such songs as "I Know You're Out There Somewhere" were radio hits.

"Oddly enough, the people that come to our concerts now mostly came to know us in the '80s," Hayward said in a phone interview a few years back. "Then they went back and found the albums from the '60s and '70s."

Hayward, along with fellow singer/songwriter John Lodge and drummer Graeme Edge (who lives in Bradenton) will be at Van Wezel for a sold-out show on Monday.

The trio adds other musicians for their shows so they can re-create the Moody Blues sound.

Ironically, Hayward said, one of the trickiest aspects of that re-creation is emulating the sound of the Mellotron that dominates the sound of their early albums.

The now-extinct Mellotron used a primitive form of sampling. It was extremely low-tech, but most modern synthesizers can't quite capture its warmth, he said.

Details: 8 p.m. March 24, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Tickets: Sold out. Information: 941-953-3368, www.vanwezel.org.

-- Marty Clear

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