An Evening with the Moody Blues

Lovely to see you

 

Words inexplicably fail me as I attempt to describe what the Moody Blues have meant to me since I first heard “On the Threshold of a Dream” in 1969.  This classic rock band has unknowingly provided the soundtrack to my life’s drama, and their music fills my head, even as I type these words.  I have seen them in concert over a dozen times in the last thirty years.  They have always offered a performance that lifts me up a tiny bit higher than I was before.

March 3rd, 2007 was the last time I saw the Moody Blues perform live in concert.  My sister, her husband, my brother and I traveled to the Ameristar Casino in north Kansas City, Missouri on a warm spring day for dinner and the concert.  This was the latest in decades of attending performances by the Moody Blues, and we looked forward to it for weeks.

 

Images from a band

The Moody Blues at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas
The Moody Blues at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas
On the Threshold of a Dream
On the Threshold of a Dream
To Our Children's Children's Children
To Our Children's Children's Children
A Question of Balance
A Question of Balance
Seventh Sojourn
Seventh Sojourn
December
December

I'm just a singer in a rock and roll band

 

My sister made several calls to the casino that day in hopes of delivering a message to the Moody Blues.  She wanted to explain to them that my brother was suffering from pancreatic cancer and did not have much time left.  She wondered if the band might be willing to acknowledge him onstage in some way.  Ameristar promised to try and help, and seemed genuinely interested in the gesture.  It was a long shot, but if it worked out she believed it would do wonders for him.  He loved the Moody Blues and their music almost as much as I did, and something personal from them would have been a gift from God.

 

When we arrived at the casino in Kansas City, our first order of business was dinner.  We ate at Bugatti’s, an Italian restaurant highly recommended and with good reason—the food was wonderful and the service outstanding.  My sister ordered a lobster tail and I couldn’t resist the “wood-fired seafood bake”.  This consisted of lobster, scallops, shrimp, calamari, clams and mussels with pasta in a saffron scented broth, cooked in an individual copper skillet.  This medley appealed to my love of seafood, and the magnificent aroma that bombarded my senses when the meal arrived told me I had chosen wisely.  My brother was tempted by the lamb but settled on Veal Marsala.

 

My brother enjoyed his food, but his medication upset his stomach and he didn’t eat much of it.  He regretted ordering such an expensive meal only to pick at it, so I ate a bit of it myself.  I wasn’t sure if it made him feel better, but I thought it might keep him from feeling as if he wasted his money.  He was always squeamish about eating off another’s plate, so I repeated a refrain used at our mother’s house and assured him that spending time with small children desensitized me toward eating from someone else’s plate, or having somebody eat from my own—it happened all the time.

 

We had a small block of time after the meal and gambled a bit.  I sat next to my brother at a video poker machine and leisurely fed quarters into it.  I kept an eye on him to ensure his judgment wasn’t impaired by medication or fatigue, but he did fine without my help.  Neither of us won, but it felt good to make a few small bets.  All too soon our time was up, and we slowly made our way to the concert hall where the Moody Blues were to take the stage.  Our tickets were good—about four rows back and off to the side.  Access was easy.   

 

Shortly after the Moody Blues appeared, we noticed a block of empty seats in the front row.  After a few moments we decided they were unclaimed and asked the security staff if we could move up front.  As middle-aged people (with one of us leaning on a cane), we hardly had the appearance of troublemakers and the security guard nodded in the affirmative.  We gathered our belongings and hurried towards the chairs in front, scant feet from John Lodge with Justin Hayward standing at center stage.  To his right was Norda Mullen, the pretty American woman who replaced Ray Thomas when he retired.  Toward the back of the stage sat Graeme Edge at his drum kit.  We allowed my brother to sit closest to the center of the stage.  I sat next to him, my sister was beside me, and her husband sat on the outside.

 

I was thrilled my brother could experience this, and I was totally into the music.  I’m normally a pretty quiet member of the audience and limit myself to polite applause, but I was almost as caught up in the moment as the screaming teenagers that attended Beatles concerts must have been, forty years earlier.  “Nights in White Satin,” “Question,” The Story in Your Eyes,” “Isn’t Life Strange,” “Lean on Me” and “December Snow” were among the many great tunes performed that evening, and  I cheered loudly before and after each song.  My brother believed they heard me and responded with surprised looks or faint smiles a couple times.  He braced himself on my arm for support when he wished to stand and cheer for the band as they played his favorite songs.  I don’t know how long they were on stage, but I enjoyed our front row seats and responded to their music with unbridled enthusiasm.

 

We shifted further to the center of the stage for their encore, and Justin Hayward and John Lodge were right in front of us as they sang “Ride My See-Saw”.  My sister held out a CD and pen in hopes they might sign it after they finished their act, but they did not.  This wasn’t a surprise; in all the Moody Blues concerts we attended over the decades, we never saw them interact with the audience in that way—but one can always hope. With regret we noted they did not acknowledge my brother, either.  Seeing someone in his condition on the front row, we thought they might have said something to him or shook his hand if they got the message.  We concluded they did not.  That would have made for an amazing moment, but the evening was good enough anyway.  We all had a marvelous time.

 

 

A wonderful day for passing my way


My sister was somewhat disappointed in her inability to communicate with the Moody Blues, but she need not have been concerned. My brother described our activities as the “perfect day.” He measured his time left on Earth in months, and knowing the pain he endured just from moving about, well—if he said the day was perfect, it was. My brother is gone now, and the Moody Blues have not passed our way since. Their beautiful words and music offered a night of peace and happiness for my brother, almost for the final time. "December Snow" was played at my brother's funeral.

“A wonderful day for passing my way; knock on my door and even the score with your eyes…

“Lovely to see you again, my friend; walk along with me to the next bend…” --Justin Hayward for the Moody Blues

Together we'll stand on the threshold of a dream

An Evening With the Moody Blues

Have you ever seen the Moody Blues perform live in concert?

  • No, I've never had the opportunity.
  • I've seen them once.
  • I've seen them a few times over the years.
  • I never miss an opportunity to watch them perform live.
See results without voting

Comments 32 comments

Sage Williams profile image

Sage Williams 6 years ago

Mike what a truly moving story. The Moody Blues has always been one of my favorite groups as well. I was fortunate to have seen them in concert a while a go.

Nice hub,

Sage


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Sage, thanks for reading. I have loved this band ever since I was a teenager, and it was nice to have had such a terrific evening watching them perform.

Thanks again, I appreciate your comments.

Mike


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida

Mike - this is a nice tribute to the Moody Blues but a wonderful tribute to your beloved brother. It's great he had this night.


JannyC profile image

JannyC 6 years ago

That was beautiful.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

drbj, thank you. I was glad he had a night like this also--he enjoyed it so much, and as for the rest of us--the memories will always remain.

Thanks again.

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Thank you, Janny. It was a nice evening, and there was something nice about being able to share it with everyone through my words. I appreciate your reading and saying hi.

Have a good Sunday.

Mike


SusanAdele profile image

SusanAdele 6 years ago

This was a very beautiful memory for you Mike. Sharing a special time with his loved ones must have been uplifting for your brother. It's great that you had that time together.


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia

I was going to write a hub about this group! I think they're awesome. This account brought a tear to my eye, Mike. I'm glad your brother got to enjoy this experience and that you were with him.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Susan, thanks for reading. This evening was indeed a memory I treasure and will never forget. I would have preferred my brother live to a ripe old age, but good memories help.

Thanks again.

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Habee, I wrote another hub once about the Moody Blues and it seems I remember your saying you were a fan. Hope you still write it, I would love to see what you have to say.

Thanks as well for your kind words, I appreciate them greatly. Have a great Sunday.

Mike


pmccray profile image

pmccray 6 years ago from Utah

This hub was so beautiful. What a perfect way to spend with your brother. Peace to you my friend.


Just A Voice 6 years ago

What a wonderful hub. I love how you said at the beginning;

"This classic rock band has unknowingly provided the soundtrack to my life’s drama, and their music fills my head, even as I type these words."

I too have soundtrack(s) that goes along with my life and the music has a certain auto-play function when a certain memory prompt gets tripped.

I am so glad your brother got to have a perfect day that day. What a beautiful memory.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

pmccray, thanks for reading. The memories of this day will always hold a warm spot in my heart, and I can't help but smile when I think back and remember, even now.

Thanks again.

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Voice, thanks for stopping by. I was going to write a hub once about what music I considered my "soundtrack," but there was so much (and so much of it was by the Moody Blues) that it didn't make a good read. It felt good to write about this day, and the soundtrack still plays in my head.

Thanks again, Voice.

Mike


prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

Hi Mike, you are so lucky to see them perform live in Kansas in 2007 but you saw them before already. It is amusing at times how songs lift us and the singers. My fav song which always makes me sad is "Dust in the Wind". Night, Maita


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Hi Maita. Thanks for reading. If the Moody Blues pass this way again, I will go see them again. Hopefully they have one more tour of the Midwest in them before they retire.

I always loved the song "Dust in the Wind." It is very beautiful but the words are sad. I remember playing that song over and over when I was younger.

Thanks again.

Mike


Just A Voice 6 years ago

Aha! Great minds think alike! I too once considered writting out what would be my life soundtrack, and like you it became too hard to pick and chose that I finally admitted defeat.

It was going to become like the song Alice's Restaurant and go on for longer than it should.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Voice, thanks for coming back! You thought about a soundtrack also, did you? I think it's a good idea for an article, I just didn't know how to make it read well. I do think it's a great topic--I would be interested in knowing what kind of songs might end up on a soundtrack of your own. If you don't feel like writing about it, write down a few of yours in the comment field here, okay?

Thanks for coming back!

Mike


susanlang profile image

susanlang 6 years ago

Wow.. Mike. I must admit, that baby boomer feeling hit home with this one, but I have great respect for and admire the love you show towards your brother. The band was a rock hit at the top of their game. I have some of the albums boxed and put away. Maybe I'll dig them out.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Susan, thanks for reading. I had to chuckle at your baby boomer comment--you're right, my baby boomer roots were out in full force here. The Moody Blues were an amazing band and should be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Definitely dig out the albums--they will sound just as good now as they did when you bought them.

And thanks for the comment abou my brother and me--it was very gracious.

Mike


susanlang profile image

susanlang 6 years ago

Your welcome Mike, anytime.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Hope you had a good weekend, Susan! Thanks again.


Just A Voice 6 years ago

Here where I live we have a wonderful shop in an eclectic part of town called Spinners. They have all the vinyl you could hope for. Nothing beats that scratchy vinyl record of your favorite nostalgic band blasting out of your hi def stereo. I can spend hours in that store discovering old audio memories. They even have prestine albums, still with the posters that use to be included with them...remember those...

The first hub I wrote was conceived while listening to one of those albums.

I don't even know how I would begin to list my favorites...but, I might take this on as a challenge for myself. It could be fun...and controversial as I'm sure some would proclaim some of my choices as extremely hokey...

Could be fun!


Truth From Truth profile image

Truth From Truth 6 years ago from Michigan

You have great taste in music Mike, excellent story. Thanks.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Voice, thanks for coming back. There is a store in my home town called Love Garden that sells albums, and while many of them show their age, some are still in great condition. One of the things that has been lost with the advent of cassettes and CDs is the cover art. Albums from the Moody Blues, Pink Floyd and Yes all had terrific art on their covers. REmember Santana Abraxas or the some of the Rolling Stones album covers? Great stuff, and all that is nearly gone now. There just isn't enough space on an CD case to have the same impact. If CDs give way to downloads, cover art will be lost forever.

I was trying to take the same challenge and come up with a few songs that might be on a soundtrack of my life the other day. I was thinking something from Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" album would have to be there, whether it was the title track or "Shine On You Crazy Diamond." "December Snow" from the Moody Blues would be included, and maybe "California Dreamin'" by the Mamas and the Papas. I will definitely give it more thought.

Thanks for coming back, Voice!

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Truth, thanks for stopping by. Some day, you'll have to tell us what your favorite music is.

Thanks again.

Mike


rml 6 years ago

This is a very touching story. What a wonderful memory to keep with you. I hope you had a nice Memorial Day weekend.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

rml, thanks for reading. I'm glad you found my little story a good one. I have had a very enjoyable Memorial Day so far, and intend to visit the graves in honor of my brother, as well as other friends and relatives. Thanks again.

Mike


Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago

The Moody Blues were/are so fantastic! I love their concert at Red Rock! Everybody perspired but Justin Hayward.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Hi, Micky. Thanks for reading. I would have loved to have seen them at Red Rocks--I did buy the DVD, at least. They don't stop off in the Midwest too much any more but when they have, I have tried to see them perform. I saw them once in Las Vegas, also. The night I wrote about here, I was lucky enough to get to the front row. It was a nice evening.

Thanks for reading, my friend.

Mike


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 6 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

I was lucky enough to have seen the band at the Isle of Wight and they were brilliant!


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Bard, thanks for stopping by. I would have loved to have seen the Moody Blues at the Isle of Wight, that must have been fantastic. They were pretty much at the height of their fame then, and that must have been a great show. I have seen parts of it on DVD, but it must have been amazing to have been there. I have seen them many times, but only since they reformed in 1978. It would have been great to see them perform when Mike Pinder was still in the group.

Thanks again for stopping by, I appreciate it.

Mike

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