CLEVELAND — Sporting a leather jacket while sitting in a hotel lobby just a few blocks from Public Auditorium on Saturday were Denise Weir and her husband, Steve.
The couple had traveled from Chicago to watch their all-time favorite band, the Moody Blues, be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Saturday night.
John Lodge, left, and Mike Pinder, both members of the Moody Blues, arrive on the red carpet before the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
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“We’ve had this in the works since December,” Ms. Weir, 66, said, adding she and her husband have seen the Moody Blues more than 30 times. Mr. Weir, 70, sat next to Denise while wearing a light blue Moody Blues shirt. “As soon as they [were announced to be inducted] we called the museum and became donors. We were able to cement tickets right away.”
The couple was just a few of the 6,000 people who attended the sold-out 33rd annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. This year’s ceremony honored bands such as Bon Jovi, the Cars, Dire Straits, the Moody Blues, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, and Nina Simone.
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Fans cheered outside the red carpet in the rain wearing ponchos and holding umbrellas to see their favorite artists arrive at the venue while musicians such as Ann Wilson, Desmond Child, and Jerry Cantrell of Alice In Chains took pictures and answered questions in the press room back stage of the auditorium.
Wilson told the room full of journalists it was The Moody Blues’ 1967 album Days Of Future Passed that still resonates with her. She inducted the band Saturday night.
“That was the album that really hit home in my story and I kept on listening. Their music had great melodies, fantastic poetry, great playing, philosophy. All of those things meant a lot to me.”
The ceremony’s weekend started on Friday at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.
Hundreds of rock fans were surprised when Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora, and David Bryan of Bon Jovi, as well as Justin Hayward of the Moody Blues appeared at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum at an unveiling of a plaque with names and signatures of this year’s Hall of Fame class.
“The kindness of generations around this globe have allowed me, my guys ... an opportunity to touch heaven, and so we now join a very elite group as members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,” Jon Bon Jovi told the crowd at the unveiling of the plaque and dedication of a new gallery at the Rock Hall.
Warm weather brought hundreds of people to East Fourth Street several blocks away from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to experience live music and food and beverages on Friday. Yet, aside from a 20-degree drop in temperature and constant downpour of rain, the city of Cleveland still packed Public Auditorium Saturday night.
Beneath the many ponchos and umbrellas were T-shirts of Bon Jovi, the Moody Blues, Dire Straits, and the Cars worn by fans from throughout the county who traveled to Cleveland. Later in the night, they would see the original members of Bon Jovi perform hits like “It’s My Life” and “Livin’ On A Prayer.” The band was inducted by radio and television personality Howard Stern.
Joe Milliken, music journalist, editor, and website publisher was excited to see the Cars at the night’s ceremony.
Mr. Milliken will release his book, Let’s Go! Benjamin Orr and the Cars, a biography on the musician he has worked on for 11 years. The book features more than 120 interviews from people who knew the musician personally.
Cars vocalist and rhythm guitarist Ric Ocasek attended Bowling Green State University earlier in his life, but it didn’t last long, Mr. Milliken said.
“When he was young he didn’t really like school, but after he got out of high school he kind of figured, ‘Well, if I’m going to do anything I better try to get an education so he got a little more interested in college with Bowling Green and one other university. But he didn’t last long. He tried it. I think he was at Bowling Green for one year and that was it.”
Back at the downtown hotel lobby, Ms. Weir took out her phone and scrolled through the many pictures she has standing with the members of the Moody Blues. The couple saw the band six times last year alone, and countless other times since the 1970s.
Despite the five-hour drive from Chicago, there wasn’t a chance in the world they were going to miss witnessing a historic moment for their favorite band, much like the thousands of other people sitting in their seats Saturday night at Public Auditorium.
“This is really a nice experience. We’re getting to the age where we want to enjoy ourselves as much as we can,” Ms. Weir said. “We have to start knocking things off our bucket list in the ‘60s when we were young kids and we wanted to do it, we would wish about it. Now we can. We’re reliving it.”
Those who missed Saturday’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony can watch it on HBO on May 5.
Contact Geoff Burns at:firstname.lastname@example.org or at 419-724-6054.