Classic rock fans may have a hard time accepting that it has been more than 50 years since the release of The Moody Blues’ prog rock classic Days of Future Passed. Though the album was initially released in 1967, it didn’t reach its highest Billboard chart peak until a 1972 reissue soared to the number three spot. For many U.S. fans, it may “only” be about 45 years since their first encounter with the psychedelic concept gem. That’s also when their signature hit “Nights in White Satin” hit number two on Billboard‘s Hot 100. Throughout 2017, the Moodies’ current touring lineup—founding member and drummer Graeme Edge, longtime guitarist/vocalist Justin Hayward, and veteran bassist John Lodge—was on the road celebrating the 50th anniversary of their landmark.
New from Eagle Rock Entertainment is the first-ever live performance of the entire album, filmed at The Sony Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto, July 2017. The booklet for Days of Future Passed Live tells us the entire preparation took some two years to fully realize. The idea to stage the entire record in concert first cropped up back in 2013. Apparently the notation for Peter Knight’s original orchestral arrangement for Days had long been lost, ditched after the original 1967 recording sessions. This left the painstaking task of recreating the score to musical director Elliot Davis and co-arranger Pete Long.
Backed by a number of reliably professional musicians, Hayward, Lodge, and Edge sound spirited throughout the entire song cycle. Hayward’s still-mellifluous tenor is a particular treat to hear, strong and clear even after so many years. The Days of Future Passed portion runs a little over an hour and, on its own, would be worth the price for Moody Blues enthusiasts. But quite generously, Eagle Rock’s Blu-ray includes an additional 50 minutes of concert footage, including renditions of ’80s hit singles like “The Voice,” “Say It With Love,” “I Know You’re Out There Somewhere,” and—of course—the 1986 smash “Your Wildest Dreams.”
Still craving more Moodies? The Blu-ray, which boasts a splendid DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround mix (and a more plain-Jane but still exceptional-sounding LPCM 2.0 stereo track), also includes “The Moody Blues Remember Days of Future Passed.” This new, 20-minute documentary features Hayward, Lodge, and Edge discussing the creation of the original 1967 album as well as sharing their obvious joy in bringing the music to the stage a half-century later.
A beautiful way to remember and re-experience a beautiful album.