'The Royal Affair And After' serves as a reminder of the huge influence of the Moody Blues. It's a touching tribute to the band but above all, it is a hugely enjoyable rocking live romp through the archives on an album that fizzes along.
John Lodge is usually credited with being responsible for some of the Moody Blues’ finest rock songs, and that is well evidenced in stirring versions of ‘Steppin’ In A Slide Zone’, ‘Ride My See-Saw’, and the essential ‘I’m Just A Singer In A Rock And Roll Band’.
Lodge is now 76 years old yet his voice remains as bright and clear as ever. His Brummie accent comes to the fore on the intros to songs and his vocals remain on point as we are taken on a journey through days past; glorious songs that live on in the mind.
The slow and fast structures of songs – much copied by bands that followed – worked well for the Moody Blues on songs such as ‘Question’. Its omission from the setlist is a disappointment but given the wealth of the back catalogue some tough choices obviously needed to be made.
Tribute is paid to each of his former band members with a song from each. Hence, we have renditions of Mike Pinder’s ‘Sunset’, ‘Late Lament’ spoken by Graeme Edge who sadly passed away last year, and the stone-cold classic that is ‘Nights In White Satin’. Written and enshrined in rock history by Justin Hayward on ‘Days Of Future Past’, Jon Davidson from Yes is given the rather unenviable task of trying to match his soaring voice.
Davidson joins Lodge again for the encore ‘Ride My See-Saw’ bringing a thundering end to the album.
The Moody Blues left an indelible mark on the history and evolution of progressive rock with their pioneering use of the mellotron and symphonic rock. Their influence has been cited by bands such as diverse as Genesis, E.L.O. Deep Purple, and Marillion among many others.
‘The Royal Affair And After’ can be seen as a fine testimonial to the band and its legacy, but make no mistake, it is a great live album in its own right.