In the future, remembering days past

May 15, 2015

“Breathe deep, the gathering gloom…”

It was 1967 and I was 16 years old when I heard the opening lines of Nights in White Satin. And then, the heavily orchestrated music of the Moody Blues began:

Nights in white satin
Never reaching the end
Letters I’ve written
Never meaning to send

The strings soared into the stratosphere punctuated by Graeme Edge’s drumbeat and the sound was embedded into my teenage soul forever. Isn’t it funny how the songs we heard as teenagers still resonate for us as senior citizens? To this day I know all the words to that song and can put myself back in those days instantly. Yes, I had that album.

 I didn’t see The Moody Blues until the early 1980s and then, I was with someone who really wasn’t into them. We left early. So when they were in San Jose the other night, I was ready. The band took the stage and on the screen was projected what we used to call a psychedelic light show, and it was great. From time to time, old photos of the band in their youth came up, as well as old posters from concerts and ticket stubs as well. It was one of the best walks down Memory Lane of any concert I’ve seen.

So there we were (with younger friends whose idea it was to attend) in another Bay area venue filled with aging Baby Boomers, all of us reminiscing and for a few hours, at least, reliving our youth. A few wore costumes of our era, setting the scene perfectly. Here’s a woman in a hat that reminded me of Janis. Janis who? If you have to ask that question, you’re either already dead or too young. There’s only one Janis.


Moody Blues concert intermission

I was sorry I couldn’t catch a shot of a man wearing a vest –under it was a tie-dyed, long-sleeved shirt and a huge peace pendant hanging around his neck. I loved his spirit and longed to talk with him, but he never passed by our seats again that night.

As the band performed, I watched a nearby couple about our age singing every lyric. Have you ever looked at someone and seen, really seen, what they must have looked like young? It was that way for me with this couple. They were especially enthusiastic at this song, and then I really heard the lyric:
I know you’re out there somewhere
Somewhere you can hear my voice
I know I’ll find you somehow
Somehow, somehow
I know I’ll find you somehow
And somehow I’ll return again to you

My girlfriend caught my eye and pointed to my husband, saying, “that’s your story!”

But that wasn’t what made me tear up. What moved me beyond measure was the entire place full of people around my age, all of us thinking about our pasts, all of us reliving our youths, and all senior citizens. In our busy lives, we rarely have time to step back in time and think about those young years, but now, 50 years later –and yes, the Moody Blues have been playing together for more than 50 years–there we were, young again for just a few hours. Remembering how innocent we were then and how we had no idea where our paths might lead made me cry. Just thinking about it now makes me feel the same way.

“Look at the stage,” my husband whispered. “Have you noticed that there are two drummers? We’ve seen that a lot with these older bands. The older drummers simply don’t have the stamina they used to, so they add a drummer.”

And sure enough, off to the right, was a second drummer. He was moving fast and furiously, while original drummer Graeme Edge’s drumming was at least half the speed. I shook my head.  At that moment, a photo of the young Graeme Edge came up on the screen.


 He was beautiful, no?  He looked like so many gorgeous young rock stars of the era.

And here he is now, at age 74. Yeah. That said it all.

I smiled, ruefully, as the concert drew to a close and we left, maybe no wiser, but certainly older, with our days of future passing right before our eyes.

22 comments on “In the future, remembering days past
  1. Amy says:

    I loved this article. I’m a big fan of The Moody Blues. I think Graeme Edge still looks pretty darn good at 74! I was always a Justin Hayward fan, though. When I first saw him in a group photo from around the time he joined the band–sigh. lol I thought he was so cute. And I love his voice. Thank you for sharing your story. I love your blog! Have a great weekend….Amy

    • ivy hobe says:

      Loved this post and article. Actually wore out two vinyls. Memories of concerts and Santa Cruz California Beach winter 1973! 4am….forever in my mind…nights in white satin a song in my soul!
      Thank you for sharing.
      Ivy Hobe

  2. Janie Emaus says:

    I was just thinking the same thing the other day!

  3. I love The Moody Blues. What a treat Carol!

  4. Thanks for sharing this with us! I loved feeling like I was at the concert with you.

  5. You don’t need to remind me about Janis Joplin. She passed away right before my 10th birthday so we had a seyonce for her at my party sleepover. It was so scary my friends that I’m still in touch with remember it!

    Great memories. With only one radio station back then playing rock Nights in White Satin was playing all the time. Groovy, baby.

  6. Helene Cohen Bludman says:

    Oh does this resonate with me, Carol. I have experienced the same thing at concerts — knowing the lyrics to every song, singing along, and watching all the other senior citizens around me do likewise. It is like a group hug, isn’t it?

  7. Great post Carol! Not really a Moody Blues fan……thanks for sharing 🙂

  8. Diane says:

    In tears here. The Moody Blues WERE my teenaged years. (I listened to Seventh Sojourn ad infinitum ad nauseum.) In act, I judged potential boyfriends by whether or not this was their favourite band! Never got to see them in concert, though I saw a clip where they all came out on stage in wizard robes. I was transfixed. I would have loved your concert. Thank you for sharing the evening with us!

  9. Mary says:

    Carol, you have brought me right back to my high school dances. Knights in White Satin was always played as the last song. Loved reading this post.

  10. Super post today! Thanks for the memories.

  11. Joan Stommen says:

    Tonight we are young…..what a touching piece, review, walk down memory lane. Carol. I don’t get to many concerts anymore, but love hearing them through your eyes and ears! Moody Blues was perfect for you going through your rennovation project, huh? Great writing as always….thanks for the smile!

  12. Haralee says:

    Good shot of nostalgia, thanks. I will admit it here: I was in my 20’s until I realized Nights in White Satin wasn’t Knights in White Satin!

  13. Shonda says:

    I can relate from a generation just after yours to our own music. Time flies. And something crops up that takes you floating down memory lane. Thanks for the ride.

  14. Very nice article. You really managed to paint a very vivid picture that made me feel like I was right there with you enjoying every moment. You have real talent! Keep on writing. You are an inspiration to me as a younger writer and blogger!

  15. I think these concert experiences are wonderful. I went to Paul Simon and Sting and loved the entire experience. What a party!

  16. Love the Moody Blues, Carol. I enjoyed this post thoroughly–from the music to your emotions …I felt as if I was there. Music does have a way of transporting one to a different time. Thanks for sharing!

  17. I LOVE the Moody Blues and go to see them whenever they are in the Philadelphia area. I cry every single time I see them. Many things amaze me but I am blown away by how much their hearts seem to still be in the music. Every song means something to me but I know you are out there somewhere is my absolute favorite.

  18. I was a big Moody Blues fan and still have a lot of their songs on my iPod. Think I’ll go listen to Tuesday Afternoon right now!

  19. Sitting in my boyfriend’s Plymouth Duster, which he tricked out w/a great sound system, listening to the Moody Blues during a rain storm. You just brought it all back!

  20. Carolann says:

    Great story Carol. I loved them then as I do now. I recognized “Janice” right away. I had the privilege of getting to see one of her last concerts.

  21. Myke Todd says:

    Great article. The Moody Blues are timeless, and a class act.

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