The Hollywood Bowl kicked off its 2017 summer season with tireless rock legends The Moody Blues joining forces with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra (under the direction of Thomas Wilkins) to create an historic musical event: an epic start to finish run-through of Days of Future Passed, the band’s landmark album celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year.

The “full day” sonic experience, highlighted by a playful romp through “Tuesday Afternoon” and Justin Hayward’s transcendent, orchestra backed vocals on “Nights in White Satin,” was enhanced with groovy animated Summer of Love styled graphics on the back screen and esteemed actor Jeremy Irons giving fresh gravitas to the spoken-word poetry included on the album. Following the empowering fireworks onstage were the Bowl’s annual kickoff tradition of real fireworks exploding in the sky behind the famous shell during the Moodies’ first encore, “Question.”

The first half of the show was a more typical Moody Blues set, featuring still powerful guitar and bass licks by Hayward and John Lodge, respectively, and drummer Graeme Edge keeping time along with touring drummer Billy Ashbaugh. Other standout band members were Norda Mullen (flute, piccolo, guitar, vocals) and Alan Hewitt (keyboards, vocals). The set featured eight familiar hits (“I’m Just A Singer in a Rock and Roll Band,” “The Voice,” “Your Wildest Dreams”) and the wistful Lodge-sung album track “Nervous” from Long Distance Voyager.

Text By Jonathan Widran

Photo Credit: Craig T. Mathew and Greg Grudt/Mathew Imaging