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Music DVD Review: The Moody Blues – Threshold Of A Dream: Live At The Isle Of Wight Festival

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The Moody Blues legendary performance at the 1970 Isle Of Wight Festival finally sees the light of day. While the music has been in circulation for some time, this DVD presents all the available video footage from their performance for the first time since it was recorded 39 years ago.

1970 found The Moody Blues one of the top rock attractions in the world. There album, A Question Of Balance, had been released several months before this performance and was at the top of the charts in a number of countries when this concert took place. At the festival they shared equal billing with the likes of The Who, The Doors, and Jimi Hendrix and more than held there own.

Threshold Of A Dream: Live At The Isle Of Wight Festival begins with a twenty minute documentary that includes interviews with the members of the group. These interviews, which are woven around vintage video footage, give a quick history of the group, the effect of the mellotron upon their sound, and their remembrances of the festival. Seeing the modern day Moody Blues speaking about themselves forty years ago when they looked so young is both poignant and interesting. The documentary alone is worth the price of admission.

Their actual performance at the festival is better than I expected. The video has been restored about as well as the state of the art at the time will allow and the quality is more than presentable.

Their music also comes across well. The sound they were producing at the time was a creation of studio techniques and was difficult to present live, especially in an open air setting so large. While Mike Pinder’s keyboards are present, they wisely strip the sound down to basics which makes them more like a traditional rock ‘n’ roll band.

Their set was a mixture of new, old, well known, and obscure. “Gypsy” from To Our Children’s Children’s Children may seem an odd choice for a concert starter but it quickly sets the tone for what will follow. Justin Hayward is in fine vocal form on the classic ballads “Tuesday Afternoon” and “Nights In White Satin.” Lost gems such as “Tortoise And The Hare” and “Melancholy Man” are presented in all their live glory. “Question” and the encore song “Ride My See Saw” find the Moodies rocking away into the night.

One of the more enjoyable features is that the group engages in more improvisation than I am used too from them as many of the songs are lengthened beyond their norm.

Threshold Of A Dream: Live At The Isle Of Wight Festival is both musically historic and a must buy for any fan of the group. Music and The Moody Blues shall not pass that way again.

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