John Lodge of The Moody Blues

Live at the Northern Lights Theater in Milwaukee
by Tommy Rage
Posted: Nov 2019
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John Lohn of The Moody Blues at Northern Lights Theater at Potawatomi Casino - photo by Tommy Rage

John Lohn of The Moody Blues at Northern Lights Theater at Potawatomi Casino - photo by Tommy Rage

The idea that a music legend would need a few “warm-up” shows for the release of a new album seems odd. Especially if the legend is a 30-year veteran of an iconic British Prog-Rock band with over 20 million records sold and decades of touring under his belt. Moody Blues bassist John Lodge, who released his greatest hits album: B Yond – The Very Best of John Lodge, decided he wanted to brush up just a bit.

As the cornerstone bass player of The Moody Blues for over 50 years, John Lodge crafted some of the band’s most well-known songs and wasn’t about to hang up his Fender Precision Bass any time soon. Making the second stop of a four night “warm-up tour” before hitting big circuit, John brought his ‘10,000 Light Year Band’ to Milwaukee’s Potawatomi Hotel & Casino this November.

John’s energy was apparent from the moment he hit the stage, and he greeted the crowd with open arms, as the packed house rose to their feet and the prelude began from the 1978 Moody Blues hit “Steppin’ In A Slide Zone”. John eased into the grove and played perfectly with all four guest musicians. The veteran core of Alan Hewitt (keyboards), Duffy King (guitars), Jason Charbonneau (cello), and Billy Ashbaugh (drums) synced perfectly throughout the show and each musician displayed unique solos at different stages throughout the night.

Having remastered some of his solo material for his new releases: B Yond – The Very Best of John Lodge, John shared songs from his extensive repertoire: “Street Café”, “Get Me Out of Here”, and “Candle Of Life”. Mixing this perfect blend of his solo material along with Moody classics such as “Legend Of A Mind”, and “Isn’t Life Strange”, and “(Evening) Time to Get Away”, Moody Blues fans were beyond delighted.
John told detailed stories of how classic songs were written and recorded and he made himself at home with the audience. John shared kind words of praise for fellow Moody Blues drummer Graeme Edge, who re-recorded “Late Lament” as an intro for “Nights In White Satin”, as the ever-classic Moody Blues song began. Making a surprise appearance and bringing the audience to their feet to join in for the classic sing along was Jon Davidson of YES.

The energy of the night stayed high as John moved about the stage and interacted with fellow musicians and the audience. His smile gleamed when fans sang along to favorites, “Gemini Dream”, and “I’m Just a Singer”. Stand-up cellist Jason Charbonneau grabbed a guitar, as Jon Davidson of YES, made one last appearance and John closed out the night with the band. The audience roared with delight as the entire venue sang in unison with “Ride My See-Saw”, John out in front with his fellow musicians closing out a brilliant night of classics from start to finish.

John Lodge and his “10,000 Light Year Band” took their bow and left the venue; leaving fans both delighted and a bit disappointed that two and half hours of great classic rock music had passed so quickly and all of it without needing any “warm-up” practice whatsoever. Trust us John, you didn’t need any “warm-up” gigs. None.