Reviewed by Glenn Erickson
It sounds too good to be true - a videotaped Moody Blues concert from 1970, recorded at La
Taverne de L'Olympia in Paris. And it is too good to be true. This nicely produced DVD
gives us a rare look at the Moodies at the top of their popularity but only the vocal part of
the performances is actually live. What we're left with is a not very well shot concert before a
fairly unenthusiastic audience.
Lovely to See You; Never Comes the Day; Tortoise and the Hare; Are You Sitting
Comfortably?; Legend of a Mind, Nights in White Satin; Ride My See-Saw; Lazy Day; Gypsy; Candle
of Life; Tuesday Afternoon; Don't You Feel Small?; Question.
This is a short review, mainly because there's not much to say except my personal memories of the
Moody Blues. My teen years were spent in San Bernardino, California. It was famous for both Mormons
and Hell's Angels, but what we really had that was great were regular rock and roll concerts at the
Swing Auditorium on the Orange Show grounds. Tickets were cheap and apparently the bands liked us
as an audience (loud,
enthusiastic) because they came back again and again. I saw Credence Clearwater and the Moody Blues
there; the group was fantastic in person.
It was also great to see and hear the revived group again fifteen years later at the Universal
last rock concert to date. But the various Moody Blues DVDs I've rented have all been fairly
disappointing. They didn't age all that well and although they could play up a storm, their lyrics
sometimes come off as trite and pretentious ... sometimes. But there was nothing like long ago when
Justin Hayward and his band would wail into the mikes and produce their terrific weird harmonies.
An intimate concert in Paris from 1970? The Moody Blues The Lost Performance Live in Paris '70
starts off with high hopes. The color is good and the French titles well managed, even though they
mis-spell some song titles and Graeme Edge's name. The video coverage isn't all that great, with camera
angles only from the sides and backstage, as if the producers couldn't get permission to put even
one camera in front of the band.
And then when they start to play, the main fault becomes apparent. The songs sound identical
to the record versions - like, identical - right down to all those instrument overlays achieved in
a multitrack recording studio. As I remember it the group simplified the arrangements
enough to reproduce them in concert. The live performances I saw were just what
rock and roll fans wanted to hear: They sounded different from the records, but better,
more ferocious in the active songs and more personal in the solos. Justin Hayward's high voice was
incredible. There's nothing alive about the performances on the DVD.
On Mike Pinder's
website Pinder himself explains in a forum post that
he'd forgotten that the Paris concert was conducted for TV and utilized playback tracks for all
but the vocals, which are indeed live. This explains everything. Pinder says he can't remember
hopes that the fans will appreciate the disc for what it is. Seeing the old Moodies is so rare that
the disc is easy to appreciate, but what we get isn't a real performance even though the vocals are
authentic. The songs fade out
unnaturally and the band members are clearly straining to keep in sync instead of letting the
performance flow. This perhaps accounts for the restrained audience reaction.
The show is divided into two half-hour French TV shows. There are brief intros of the Moodies
preparing. John Lodge does the song intros. The disc has an insert with liner notes by Robert
On a scale of Excellent, Good, Fair, and Poor,
The Moody Blues The Lost Performance Live in Paris '70 rates:
Sound: Excellent, but I don't believe it's all a live performance.
Packaging: Keep case
Reviewed: June 26, 2004
DVD Savant Text © Copyright 2004 Glenn Erickson
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