In 2013, Moody Blues singer Justin Hayward released the excellent Spirits Of the Western Sky, his first solo album since 1996. He took to the road for a solo tour, bringing along a crack band including Mike Dawes on guitars and dual keyboard/vocalists, Alan Hewitt and Julie Ragins. A show at the Buckhead Theatre in Atlanta, GA, was filmed and makes up the new DVD Justin Hayward -- Spirits...Live.
Images old and new of Hayward and the band make up a video montage that begins the DVD. Set to an instrumental rendition of "Captivated By You," it serves as a nice introduction to the proceedings. The show, which features a nice mix of new songs and Moody Blues classics, opens with one of Hayward's best-loved numbers, "Tuesday Afternoon." Hayward is on acoustic guitar, his voice remarkably unchanged over the years, on this lushly orchestrated track.
The group continues with a medley of older songs, including "Lovely To See You" and "It's Up To You." Dawes takes to the stage for these songs and has a camera perched upon his guitar neck, giving a birds-eye view of his tasteful lead playing. The vocal harmonies on this and throughout the show are top notch.
"In Your Blue Eyes" and "The Western Sky," both new songs, follow. Dawes switches to electric guitar on the former, an optimistic, pretty track, while the latter is a laid back acoustic ballad. Neither feels out of place in the show.
Of course the older songs get the biggest response with "Question" arguably getting the biggest of all. Hayward switches to 12 string for this classic Moody Blues song and has the audience hooked from the onset of his Pete Townshend-like strumming during the guitar's intro.
The DVD is shot in 16x9 Widescreen