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Nights in white satin, never reaching the end…
Threshold of a Dream: Live at the Isle of Wight Festival mixes together archival film from 1970, new interviews with The Moody Blues and some other clips of the band playing on various variety shows and other appearances. American documentary filmmaker Murray Lerner shot tons of footage at the legendary Isle of Wight music festival during 1970, and that becomes the source material for this set. This music event was said at the time to be one of the largest gatherings in the world, with estimates of over 600,000 people, easily surpassing the attendance of Woodstock. Included in the lineup of over fifty performers were The Who, Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis, The Doors, Ten Years After, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Joni Mitchell, Melanie, Donovan, Free, Chicago, Richie Havens, Leonard Cohen, Jethro Tull, and Tiny Tim. Yet there was one band who seemed to cause a huge stir on the basis of their greatest album hitting in the same era. The Moody Blues had produced A Question of Balance in 1967, and their appearance marked the band at a creative peak.
The Moody Blues were known for pioneering the idea of merging rock music with classical elements by utilizing symphonic recordings through a keyboard device called a Mellotron. The guys had taken psychedelic and made it classy, introducing mellow symphonic rock that still claimed to "expand minds." The performance we see captured here on this Blu-ray shows them playing mainly a set off their big album.
The basic presentation includes the concert progressing, and we get to hear the band tell their story as they explain their career and the Isle of Wight music festival. Early on in the program they often talk over the music, which can be frustrating. I wanted to hear "Tuesday Afternoon," but instead got a lot of conversation over a large part of it. Later on in the show this stops, and we suddenly see more of the performance intact.
The Blu-ray includes a 1080i/AVC encoded transfer formatted in widescreen to fit your television. Interview footage looks sharp and crisp, it's all relatively new and recorded on high definition video. Where the image is challenged is during the over four decades old concert footage that was never really filmed purposefully to be shown in any format. Let's face it, it is complete serendipity that we have this recording at all. So the concert stuff is dicey at times, but certainly worth preserving given that it captures so well what seeing The Moody Blues in 1970 would look and sound like. There's a good bit of grain, scratches, and odd camera angles to be taken in. But on the whole it is amazing to see these guys so young and vibrant, and the shots of the huge crowds are astonishing.
The disc ends up serving as the history of The Moody Blues; a chance to see a live set from when they were at a peak, and a good chronicle of the Isle of Wight music festival from 1970. It looks and sounds as good as one could hope given the age of the source material and the conditions it was filmed under. It's amazing to see this kind of stuff surface, and also awesome to get the band to talk about the music and the show now in hindsight. Definitely an easy decision for fans to purchase, but also for anybody interested in the music scene of the time.
Guilty of taking you all the way back to 1970 when The Moody Blues were
playing for 600,000 people.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Eagle Rock Entertainment
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