The Moody Blues, who avoided releasing a live album of any kind for the first decade of their existence, when they were a thoroughly contemporary act selling millions of records, have now regaled listeners with not one, but two official concert releases, accompanied by video/DVD issues of both performances. Hall of Fame: Live From Royal Albert Hall, like its predecessor, Live at Red Rocks, features the band accompanied by a full orchestra and augmented by a second drummer (Gordon Marshall) and two keyboard players with a pair of backup singers. Produced and directed by Miles Copeland, Lionel Schaen, and Andy Harcott, the video is actually quite fine and unexpectedly lively, coming from this band, which is nothing if not a known (and familiar) quantity 25-plus years into their history; the visuals are not only lively and graceful, but downright acrobatic in their shifts of angle and their editing, and the result is the better of the two concert videos by this band. Indeed, it's a testament to their power and the exquisite surroundings they're given here that even the material off of their then-latest album, Strange Times, comes off as exciting and bracing musically. That album provides a trio of new songs at this show, though the bulk of the proceedings are made up of the group's best-known '60s, '70s, and '80s songs. They add some unexpected fervor to "Legend of a Mind" and, even in the cavernous surroundings of Royal Albert Hall, manage to bring out the instrumental textures on "Ride My See-Saw" -- indeed, this show is so well-recorded that the renditions here of "Your Wildest Dreams" and "I Know You're out There Somewhere" are superior to the original studio versions in presence and immediacy.
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