Exclusive: The Moody Blues’ Justin Hayward Hypes Upcoming Tour with Christopher Cross, Says “Every Song’s a Winner”

Longtime Moody Blues singer/guitarist Justin Hayward and his solo band are preparing to launch a new U.S. leg of his Blue World Tour soon that also will include a run of co-headlining dates with singer/songwriter Christopher Cross.

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Hayward kicks off the trek with six headlining shows in California and Arizona, starting on June 18 in Sacramento, California. He’ll then team up with Cross for 10 joint concerts in the Northeast, beginning with a July 3 performance in Red Bank, New Jersey. Hayward also will play three additional shows without Cross later in July.

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The 77-year-old Rock & Roll Hall of Famer told American Songwriter that he’s particularly excited to hit the road again with Cross, with whom he previously toured in 2023.

“Yeah, it’s lovely, ’cause—how can I put it?—every song’s a winner,” Hayward enthused. “So, it’s really nice. I know wherever I am in the building, and he starts playing ‘Sailing,’ I just have to stand there and listen to it. It’s great.”

[RELATED: The Meaning of “Nights in White Satin” by The Moody Blues]

As for how the two artists came to tour together, Justin revealed that it was his idea.

“You know, [I suggested,] ‘Why don’t we just put two acts together?’” he noted. “And so, I had a list of people, and Christopher was on that list. And I think when his management saw it, they just thought, ‘Oh, yeah, that’s really nice.’”

About Hayward’s Performances

Hayward’s concerts usually feature a mix of classic Moody Blues songs, lesser-known tunes by his old band, selections from his solo albums, and some of his recent solo singles. Justin, of course, wrote and sang many of The Moody Blues’ biggest hits, including “Nights in White Satin,” “Tuesday Afternoon,” “Question,” “The Voice,” and “Your Wildest Dreams.”

Hayward revealed that for the new tour, he thinking about adding some “deeper cuts” to his set that he describes as “album things that never got much radio play, but I really liked.”

He added, “You know, making records, you never quite know what’s going to happen, and things that I’ve really liked have just been overlooked by … radio or just other people who just focus on one or two tracks.”

About Hayward’s Touring Band

Hayward’s touring group features three members—keyboardist/backing vocalist Julie Ragins, guitarist Mike Dawes, and flute player Karmen Gould.

Ragins had previously been a member of The Moody Blues’ touring lineup from 2006 until the group retired in 2018. Dawes, whom Hayward calls “a guitar genius,” has been playing with Justin for about a decade. He also regularly serves as Hayward’s opening act. The classically trained Gould is the most recent addition to Justin’s backing band.

“[Karmen has] really blossomed into a performer,” Hayward told American Songwriter. “[S]he always was a wonderful, gifted player, but to be on stage with her now is just great. And I love the ‘two girls and two boys’ thing, or ‘one old man and a boy and two girls’ in our case.”

Whether Hayward Might Work Again with Moody Blues Bandmate John Lodge

In April 2018, The Moody Blues were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. In November of that year, the band finished its Days of Future Passed 50th Anniversary Tour. After the trek, founding drummer Graeme Edge retired, which, in effect, signaled an end to the group. Edge, sadly, died in 2021 of cancer at age 80.

Since 2018, Hayward and Moody Blues singer/bassist John Lodge have toured regularly with their own solo bands, but have not played together.

Hayward told American Songwriter that he has no plans to work or tour with Lodge again.

“The Moodies is like a sort of [family, and] always has been,” Justin maintained. “And that … will go on without me and John, you know? … But I like what I’m doing now, and it’s my time to do what I want to do, and with the people I like. … So that’s what I’m doing now.”

More About Hayward’s Tour Plans

Hayward’s joint shows with Cross run from July 3 through a July 16 concert in Morristown, New Jersey. Justin then will play headlining gigs on July 17 in Bethel, New York, and July 19 in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.

He’ll wind down the U.S. trek with a July 21 performance at the Great South Bay Music Festival in Patchogue, New York. That event also will feature ex-Yes singer Jon Anderson, and former Jethro Tull guitarist Martin Barre.

Hayward also has a seven-date U.K. tour lined up in October.

Tickets for Hayward’s concerts are available now via various outlets, including StubHub.

Justin Hayward’s 2024 U.S. Tour Dates (* = with Christopher Cross):

  • June 18 – Sacramento, CA, @ Crest Theatre
  • June 20 – Santa Barbara, CA @ Lobero Theatre
  • June 21 – San Diego, CA @ Balboa Theatre
  • June 23 – San Juan Capistrano, CA @ Coach House
  • June 25 – Phoenix, AZ @ The Celebrity Theatre
  • June 26 – Tucson, AZ @ Rialto Theatre
  • July 3 – Red Bank, NJ @ Hackensack Meridian Health Theatre*
  • July 5 – Tarrytown, NY @ Tarrytown Music Hall*
  • July 6 – Derry, NH @ Tupelo Music Hall*
  • July 7 – Webster, MA @ Indian Ranch*
  • July 9 – Hershey, PA @ Hershey Theatre*
  • July 10 – Selbyville, DE @ Freeman Arts Pavilion*
  • July 11 – Washington, DC @ Warner Theatre*
  • July 13 – Glenside, PA @ Keswick Theatre*
  • July 14 – Bethlehem, PA @ The Wind Creek Event Center*
  • July 16 – Morristown, NJ @ Mayo Performing Arts Center*
  • July 17 – Bethel, NY @ Bethel Woods Event Gallery
  • July 19 – Great Barrington, MA @ Mahaiwe Theatre
  • July 21 – Patchogue, NY @ Great South Bay Music Festival
  • October 7 – Halifax, U.K. @ Victoria Theatre
  • October 9 – Dunfermline, U.K. @ Alhambra Theatre
  • October 10 – Aberdeen, U.K. @ Aberdeen Music Hall
  • October 13 – Darlington, U.K. @ Darlington Hippodrome
  • October 14 – Wirral, U.K. @ Floral Pavilion Theatre
  • October 16 – Bexhill on Sea, U.K. @ De La Warr Pavilion
  • October 17 – Tunbridge Wells, U.K. @ Assembly Hall Theatre

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Photo by John Nichols

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