Duffy King "Solo Guitar Christmas"!
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“If Nights In White Satin was the only hit that they ever wrote, from their remarkable Days Of Future Passed album, then that alone would be enough to elevate most bands towards the heady heights of legendary status. However, as having recently been inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall Of Fame proves, this eternal British band of brothers has created a peerless back catalogue of music and hits to be the envy of their contemporaries and pretenders alike. And in true troubadour fashion, bass player/singer John Lodge is committed to keeping these everlasting songs alive.Lodge is currently playing a short tour of the UK, in support of his recently released 10,000 Light Years Ago album, which rocked up to the elegant church environment of The Cadogan Hall.Striding onto the stage with his trusty Fender Jazz bass in hand and looking every inch the rock star from his cool confection of hair right down to his leather gear and boots, Lodge launched into Moody classic Steppin’ In A Slide Zone. With the first few rows of mostly female followers already out of their seats worshipping a superb set of songs like the 1970s never ended, Lodge put on a musical masterclass to rock'n'roll back the years.Songs from the aforementioned recent release 10,000 Light Years Ago fitted in seamlessly with back in the day Moody tunes Peak Hour, (Evening) Time To Get Away and The Sunset. As did the surprise inclusion of Candle Of Life and the redemptive nuances of Saved By The Music.Lodge prefaced his set of Moody classics, solo specials and deep cuts with both humorous and revealing anecdotes. Explaining how his fourteen-year-old self met with Ray Thomas on a Birmingham bus and resolving to start a band together called El Riot And The Rebels which eventually became The Moody Blues, he and his crack band of musicians played a head-spinning version of Thomas’ raga infused Legend Of A Mind.A willingness to experiment with music has been an essential component in the longevity of artists such as Lodge. The epic breadth and scope of musical styles and feelings are what has given the Ivor Novello awarded Lodge a long and rewarding career. Just hearing the tricky arrangement of the title song to his current release with its progressive and psychedelic time changes and melody is to witness a masterly performance in itself.Major props must be awarded to the band with guitarist Duffy King, cellist Jason Charboneau, drummer Billy Ashbaugh and keyboard wizard Allan Hewitt (who also produces Earth, Wind & Fire) effortlessly enjoying every note of this evening's performance.Dipping into the wondrous well of Moody tunes, Lodge and band played searing takes of Gemini Dream, Isn’t Life Strange and I’m Just A Singer In A Rock ‘n’ Roll Band. And he was finally joined by Yes singer Jon Davison to blast the loon pants off the punchy, psychedelic hit song Ride My See-Saw to close a consummately played show of one of rock music’s finest songbooks.The aftershow included both The Who and Small Faces drummer Kenny Jones and actor Robert Powell, who revealed how both he and fellow actor Dennis Waterman almost went deaf after appearing onstage with The Who in the mid-70s.A wistful Lodge also recalled being paid £20 as a sixteen-year-old for a gig in my hometown of Ellesmere Port in 1961. Tonight's magical show by this mighty Moody Blue completed a career come full circle back in this majestic hall just off Chelsea’s Sloane Square and topped off a splendid evening of classy entertainment from a true British musical legend.” - Paul Davies
“John Lodge at Trading Boundaries, Sheffield Green, East Sussex Paul Davies 10-Apr-2019 Concert Reviews, Rock, UKA magical fairy lit evening in an enchanted venue straight out of a musical fantasy found a pitch-perfect performance of more than moody proportions by John Lodge and his crack ensemble of players. Still sporting a magnificent bouffant style head of hair as though he has just stepped straight out of a late 1960s King’s Road Chelsea hair salon, Lodge literally and musically rolled back the years with a classy retrospective set of Moody Blues classics, back in the day solo specials and a confident pick of tunes from his excellent recently released solo album 10,000 Light Years Ago. Exuding natural charisma and clearly very comfortable engaging with a close-up audience, in this warm and intimate venue, as he is to 10,000 plus capacity arenas, this 10,000 light year man created a buzz of anticipated joy prior to his grand entrance. Walking onto a stage decorated with Hindu and Buddha statues and eastern inspired decorated ornamentation, opener Steppin’ In A Slide Zone enraptured a musically sharp and devoted audience and so began an evening of legendary music. Funnily forgetting the Moody’s album title from which Nervous was taken from – Long Distance Voyager – Lodge confidently negotiated the tricky arrangement of this and the punchy psych out of Peak Hour. Prefacing songs (Evening) Time To Get Away and Sunset with the reflective wisdom of Days Of Future Passed being the album that changed his life forever, the presence alone of these much-loved songs produced a wistful and swooning effect on the collective countenance of this evening’s sold out fanbase. Paying his heartfelt respects to his recently passed away bandmate, Ray Thomas, by recalling their first meeting on a Birmingham bus and a resolution to form a band which developed into The Moody Blues, Lodge has lost none of his own Brummie accent as he launched into a head-spinning take of Thomas’ Legend Of A Mind. Searching for the lost chord metaphorically inspires musicians to experiment and expand their sound base in a quest to surpass their own and their fans expectations and Lodge has done just this on numerous occasions as tonight’s setlist revealed in bucket loads. Going back to his well of musical wonderment, Lodge effortlessly switched between superbly played bass lines and fills and 12 string acoustic to plunder a back pocket of seminal penned songs. It’s no surprise that this affable and visibly content Ivor Novello winning song man revels in sharing his anecdotes to a peerless catalogue of tunes as he smiled his way through a rare outing of Candle Of Life and the redeeming Saved By The Music. A sonic triptych of stellar Moody Blues songs Gemini Dream, Isn’t Life Strange and I’m Just a Singer (In a Rock ‘n’ Roll Band) closed an evening of exquisite entertainment in an exotic environment as an audience of diners and standing fans raised the starry roof of this entrancing venue especially when the band returned to blast the loon pants off psych classic Ride My See-Saw. No artist alone can be a one-man band and execute the arrangements of some of the most sophisticated songs in rock music and, as mentioned earlier, Lodge is blessed with a crack band of players. Guitarist Duffy King, Cellist Jason Charboneau, Keyboard maestro Allan Hewitt (who also produces Earth, Wind & Fire) and holding everything together, between the onstage exotic adornments, drummer Billy Ashbaugh are some of the finest musicians I have witnessed in a close-up and personal setting. Not enough words can be written to commend venues such as Trading Boundaries for the effort, passion and risk-taking in putting on special evenings of music with top-notch food and service. To wander around the vast rooms of authentically sourced antique Indian furniture and decorations is to have one’s mind, body and soul transported to another continent and then there is the upstairs Roger Dean room whose artworks Trading Boundaries represent and display for sale. Moreover, Roger is a frequent visitor here from his nearby studio in Lewes. My evening was completed by the thrilling company of Yes singer Jon Davison – who revealed that Yes are currently writing new songs for a forthcoming album – who joined my dining booth with John Lodge’s wonderful daughter Emily and Trading Boundaries co-owner Michael Clifford who with Tracy Thomson founded this delightful and sparklingly magical emporium of live music and exotica. ” - Paul Davies