THE MOODY BLUES : HALL OF FAME - LIVE FROM THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL
Label : Image Entertainment
Release Year : 2000
Recording Date : May 1, 2000
Venue : The Royal Albert Hall, London, UK
Running Time : 81 minutes
NTSC : 4:3
Review (AllMusic) : The Moody Blues, who avoided releasing a live album of any kind for the first decade of their existence, when they were a thoroughly contemporary act selling millions of records, have now regaled listeners with not one, but two official concert releases, accompanied by video/DVD issues of both performances. Hall of Fame: Live From Royal Albert Hall, like its predecessor, Live at Red Rocks, features the band accompanied by a full orchestra and augmented by a second drummer (Gordon Marshall) and two keyboard players with a pair of backup singers. Produced and directed by Miles Copeland, Lionel Schaen, and Andy Harcott, the video is actually quite fine and unexpectedly lively, coming from this band, which is nothing if not a known (and familiar) quantity 25-plus years into their history; the visuals are not only lively and graceful, but downright acrobatic in their shifts of angle and their editing, and the result is the better of the two concert videos by this band. Indeed, it's a testament to their power and the exquisite surroundings they're given here that even the material off of their then-latest album, Strange Times, comes off as exciting and bracing musically. That album provides a trio of new songs at this show, though the bulk of the proceedings are made up of the group's best-known '60s, '70s, and '80s songs. They add some unexpected fervor to "Legend of a Mind" and, even in the cavernous surroundings of Royal Albert Hall, manage to bring out the instrumental textures on "Ride My See-Saw" - indeed, this show is so well-recorded that the renditions here of "Your Wildest Dreams" and "I Know You're out There Somewhere" are superior to the original studio versions in presence and immediacy.
Review (Amazon) : With graying baby boomers becoming key underwriters of viewer-supported television, a staid Public Broadcasting System grudgingly acknowledged the existence of rock & roll in the 1990s. The Moody Blues, via their somewhat heavy-handed, 1993 concert video A Night at Red Rocks, were among the first Woodstock generation acts to end up in constant rotation during affiliate pledge drives. The band's PBS follow-up, Hall of Fame, is an improvement overall. Taped at London's Royal Albert Hall early in 2000, the Moodies' more freewheeling performance this time mixes satisfying selections from their catalogue of hits from 1968 to 1972 with a few Top 40 entries released in the late '80s ("I Know You're Out There Somewhere," "Your Wildest Dreams"). The sheer pleasure of watching the core quartet of Ray Thomas, Justin Hayward, John Lodge, and Graeme Edge ease their way into Mellotron masterpieces from Days of Future Passed, as well as the trippy curiosity of "Legend of a Mind" and the dizzying pop mutations of "Ride My See-Saw," is a study in grace. Backed by the once-fictional London Festival Orchestra (credited as a key musical collaborator on Days), the band eschews grandiosity for a pointed but delicate yearning, and whips up its typically stately tone of cosmic romanticism. The frenzied joy of a mixed-age audience brings smiles to the Moodies' faces and a sometimes-unexpected vigor to their vocals-catch Ray Thomas's booming "Welllll!" during every chorus of "I'm Just a Singer (In a Rock and Roll Band)"-which helps to make this program a treat to watch repeatedly.