Justin Hayward Still Has The Zest To Perform, Delivers A Gem Of A Show

Concert Review
Justin Hayward
The Vine
del Lago Resort
Waterloo, NY
Saturday June 3, 2023
Review/Photos: Joseph Suto

Justin Hayward who was the main vocalist of the renowned Moody Blues, made his way to the Vine Showroom Saturday night. He took the fans for a bit of a stroll down memory lane but also delivered a pristine sounding set. Not only did the fans get quite a few of the classic hits of the Moody Blues but Hayward talked about a few of the songs giving it a storytellers feel throughout the 85-minute acoustic set.

The show began with Hayward taking the stage and starting things off with the solo track “Eastern Sun” culled from his 2013 release Spirits of the Western Sky. From there he was intermittently joined by long-time keyboardist Julie Ragins, flutist Karmen Gould and guitarist Mike Dawes. Dawes also served as the opener and during his 25-minute set he played just an acoustic guitar and added quirky commentary making the show start with a twist. Hayward then played a batch of Moody Blues songs most notably “Tuesday Afternoon” which really drew a big response from the crowd as soon as they heard the opening chords. Lesser known songs such as “The Actor” and “Hope and Pray” went over very well.

One of the many highlights was “The Voice”. The 1981 classic played acoustically was unique and yet sounded very standard at the same time. Ragins bolstered the song with her aptly timed vocals giving it a different yet familiar flavor. But it wasn’t until “Your Wildest Dreams” where the show really kicked into gear. Very methodically they played what this reviewer feels was the best song of the night in “Question”. Simply stunning to hear this one and it was performed with such zest. Closing out the main set with the highest charting song the Moodies ever had in the stellar “Nights in White Satin” was a great way to end.

Back for two more songs, the band chose to close with the vastly underrated “The Story In Your Eyes” while capping things off with the last charting song the Moodies had with “I Know You’re Out There Somewhere”. It was simply amazing to see a show of this caliber at this point in the career of Justin Hayward. His voice to this point remains as vibrant as it was when he first joined the Moody Blues.

With the Moody Blues being put out to pasture following the retirement (2018) and subsequent passing (2021) of founding member Graeme Edge, it is now up to Hayward and bassist/vocalist John Lodge to keep the music of the band alive. With their enshrinement into the Rock Hall in 2018 and the many bands they influenced, their legacy will live on forever regardless.

Set List
The Eastern Sun
Driftwood (Moody Blues Song)
Tuesday Afternoon (Moody Blues Song)
The Actor (Moody Blues Song)
Hope and Pray (Moody Blues Song)
The Western Sky
The Voice (Moody Blues Song)
Living for Love
Forever Autumn
Never Comes the Day (Moody Blues Song)
Your Wildest Dreams (Moody Blues Song)
Question (Moody Blues Song)
Nights in White Satin (Moody Blues Song)

The Story in Your Eyes (Moody Blues Song)
I Know You’re Out There Somewhere (Moody Blues Song)

About Joseph Suto

Location: Buffalo, NY Photographer/Reviewer
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