September 13, 2014

Review: Justin Hayward - 'Spirits...Live (Live at the Buckhead Theatre, Atlanta)'

Justin Hayward’s solo albums are few and far between, and the opportunity to catch the Moody Blues legend performing on his own in an intimate venue is even rarer. Such is what makes Spirits...Live (Eagle Rock Records) so instantly appealing. Yet it’s the performance itself, which showcases Hayward’s most recent studio LP, last year’s Spirits of the Western Sky, that makes this live album such a rewarding one to behold.

The album suitably anchors the set, so much so in fact that Hayward either presumed his most faithful fans would be already familiar with it come showtime or he was simply eager to introduce it to his audience. Regardless, often reflective songs like “The Western Sky” and “It's Cold Outside Of Your Heart” succeed in this setting, not least of all because of the craft invested in their creation and the earnestness evident here in their delivery.

Sounding as resonant and refined as he did in the ‘60s and ‘70s, Hayward likewise enriches classic moments from his past—“Tuesday Afternoon,” “Your Wildest Dreams,” and (of course) “Nights in White Satin” are perfunctory yet captivating standouts—with often meticulous regard. Indeed this is not an informal excursion for Hayward from the familiar confines of his band, but rather a finely honed display of burgeoning inspirations and old magic.