"In 1977, as the Moody Blues were coming to the end of their six-year sabbatical from recording, they released "Caught Live + 5," a double-album that featured three sides of a live concert recorded at the Royal Albert Hall on December 12, 1969, and one side of 5 rare studio tracks. Very similar in format to the 1982 double-album by Genesis, "Three Sides Live," but "Caught Live + 5" proves that the Moody Blues got to this concept first. The live concert recording---the only live Moodies release featuring original keyboardist Mike Pinder---is excellent, with the Moodies giving some of the tunes a refreshing, rough-and-tough live treatment, especially "Gypsy," "Peak Hour," and "Ride My See-Saw." The live portion of the album shows what a tight band the Moodies are, as they also give tremendous performances of other favorites like "Dr. Livingston I Presume," "Tuesday Afternoon," "Nights In White Satin," "Legend Of A Mind," and the progressive-rock suite of "Have You Heard" & "The Voyage." For those of us who never got to see the classic Moodies line-up live, the "Caught Live" portion of the album is definitely the next best thing. As for the five studio songs, they're all quite good. John Lodge's "Gimme A Little Somethin'" is a nice number, and Mike Pinder's "Please Think About It" is a fine, slow-but-steady piano shuffler. But it is Justin Hayward who shines the brightest with his trio of compositions. "Long Summer Days" is a marvelous light-hearted song, and "King And Queen" and "What Am I Doing Here?" are both wonderful, dramatic, haunting Moody Blues songs.With the long-awaited, brand-new Moody Blues studio album "Octave" still a year away, the Moodies sent their fans a very generous postcard with "Caught Live + 5," a most-appreciated combo platter of vintage live and studio material. For the diehard Moody Blues fan, this album is a must-have."
5 Good Things About This Album
Martin A Hogan | San Francisco, CA. (Hercules) | 07/01/2001
(2 out of 5 stars)
"If you listen to most "live" recordings since the seventies, you will notice that the audience applause is edited to allow for more music. Any ramblings of the group is also edited except for the most important announcements. That does not happen here. The listener hears Ray Thomas banter on as if he forgot what song was next and the clapping between songs is real - that is, far too long for a recording. To make it worse, this concert was recorded in 1968 (this album was releasd in 1977) when live recordings were very difficult. The sound quality is simply poor and sadly, no one went back to redigitize this. It is a shame, as the Moody Blues perform fantastic concerts wherever they go.The 5 great things about this album are the five studio songs at the end. They are classic late sixties Moodies songs and make up for the live recording. This was a clever move on the marketers part, who were given less than enough material for four sides of the original double album (yes, this is a single CD). They added these last five songs to further the purchase appeal. It worked.The "Red Rocks" concert is far superior. Buy this for the five songs and "Red Rocks" for the live quality."
The only offical early Moodies live stuff available
Matt Walsh | Pepperell, MA United States | 02/16/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It's tragic that this is the extent of early Moodies live stuff that has been released. And they probably could have found a better show than this random, short 1969 set. But the fact that it's the only official early live stuff available is what makes it such a must for any Moodies collection.The "+5", in case you don't know, is 5 songs from their classic period that for some reason or another didn't make it onto an album. They are all awesome; "King and Queen" and "What Am I Doing Here" are masterpieces. As for the live stuff, it's awesome too. The highlight is a live rendition of the final third of "On the Threshold of a Dream," which consists of "Are You Sitting Comfortably," "The Dream" and the "Have You Heard" trilogy. It's wonderful to hear "Have You Heard" live, as it is such a masterpiece, and "Are You Sitting Comfortably" is mystical and achingly beautiful here... Ray's flute work is amazing! Far superior to the album cut! Other highlights include "Legend of a Mind," "Nights in White Satin" and "Peak Hour." There are a few weak performances, but even those are fascinating. The banter in between songs, with Mike Pinder doing most of the talking, is also awesome. I agree with an earlier reviewer that liked the raw sound of this album in contrast to the carefully orchestrated "Red Rocks" tracks. I have seen the Moodies perform with and without the orchestra, and I will always prefer them without, because their instruments are in the spotlight all the time.It's a unique and very cool concept to get a live show and studio rarities on one cd. It's really a great deal!"
All in all...a great souvenier for 1969 Moodies fans
Lee J. Davito | 10/30/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I will admit that the sound quality isn't the best...but anybody who was around in 1969 can agree that most all live recordings from this era sound about the same.
If you're a long time Moodies fan and never got to see them live....and if you never grabbed the vinyl version when first released in 1977...this would be a bargain for you....and a nice addition to your collection.
The recordings acoustics are similar to that of an arena...I believe it was recorded at the Royal Albert Hall...as that is the building pictured on the case. I personally like the audience and background noises....it gives a bit of realism and an audience vantage point to the listener.
The 5 bonus tracks were also released on the PRELUDE cd..along with 6 other unreleased tracks from the early days. Something else that all true devoted Moodies fans should be without.
A Perfect Snapshot of the "Classic" Moody Blues
Steve S. | Roswell, GA USA | 01/30/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I agree with what the previous reviewers have said: John's falsettos almost hurt your ears; the sound is more "raw" than what we've heard since they returned to full-time touring in '92.
But you know what? That's what makes Caught Live so interesting and so much fun. It is EXACTLY where the Moody Blues were in 1969...experimenting with their sound and letting the audience in on the experiment.
Some observations of my own: Mike Pinder was very much the heart of this incarnation of the band. You can hear the beauty of the strings in his Mellotron, and his sound is so recognizable and more lush when compared to anything Patrick Moraz and Paul Bliss have done in his wake. It also appears, as I listen to this for the first time on CD, that he was the live leader of the band. I'm pretty sure that's Mike introducing all the songs and speaking on behalf of the band. And I really think that his harmony is missed on the band's later work.
As for the songs...I've wanted the current band to do "Peak Hour" for a long time. The live version on Caught Live only reinforces that feeling. Obviously they can't do "Have You Heard," since it's Mike's song, but I agree with the earlier reviewer that it is absolutely splendid. "Gypsy" definitely sounds like an alternate take, but I love the fact that it's not an exact reproduction of the album version. I'd love for the band to resurrect this one in concert. "Never Comes The Day" is an under-rated classic and sounds great here.
This album is definitely worth having, if only to compare the differences between the Moody Blues of 1969, 1992 and 1999."