When it comes to recreating the Moody Blues' orchestral sound, Time Traveller keyboard player Jeff Costick had a pretty good teacher.
Costick picked up some pointers on the band from Patrick Moraz, who played keyboards with the Moody Blues from 1978 to 1991.
"We kind of struck up a friendship," Costick said. "Some of my friends knew him, and I had some opportunities to be backstage with the Moodys early on. We had some conversations, and it's carried on through the years."
With its intricate arrangements and lush sound, recreating the Moody Blues' music is no easy feat. Costick said it took him six months to do all of the keyboard programming necessary when Time Traveller started in 1999.
Then again, the band always thought big.
"We never did clubs," Costick said. "It always was a big stage band. That's what we geared it for, and we got to open up for a lot of national acts."
WHO: Time Traveller (Moody Blues tribute) backed by the Chagrin Falls Studio Orchestra and Ohio (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young tribute)
WHEN: 5:30 p.m. Saturday (gates open at 5 p.m.)
WHERE: Warren Community Amphitheatre, 303 Mahoning Ave. N.W., Warren
COST: $20 for VIP seating on the lawn in front of the stage and $7 general admission; children 12 and younger are free excepting VIP?section
Over the years, Time Traveller - George Yunis, vocals; Jeff Johnson, guitar and vocals; John Kastelic, guitar; Costick, keyboards; Gary Simmons, bass and vocals; and Marty Zlocki, percussion - has appeared with Asia, Starship, Kansas, The Guess Who, Little River Band, Blue Oyster Cult and Creedence Clearwater Revisited.
But Time Traveller wanted to get even bigger.
The Moody Blues started doing orchestra concerts, getting a full-size symphony to play such progressive rock favorites as "Nights in White Satin," "Tuesday Afternoon," "Ride My See-Saw," "Question," "I'm Just a Singer (in a Rock and Roll Band)," "Your Wildest Dreams" and "I Know You're Out There Somewhere."
Time Traveller decided to do the same. They partnered with the Chagrin Falls Studio Orchestra and its music director, Stephen A. Eva, two years ago for their first orchestral concert, which was recorded for a DVD used as a fundraiser for the orchestra.
The orchestra will join Time Traveller when it performs Saturday as part of the River Rock at the Amp concert series. Also performing as part of Time Traveller on Saturday will be flutist Marybeth Suchocki and backing vocalist Jeannie Tyler.
"There's no feeling like being on stage with 50 world-class musicians behind you," Costick said. "It's the best feeling in the world. It's very intense and you have to be very disciplined when working with an orchestra. You can't have any variation in what you play from night to night."
The Warren concert is one of only two orchestral dates Time Traveller has booked this year, but it's something the band wants to do more of in the future.
"This kind of show is an expensive production to put on and coordinate," he said. "We have some more in the works and the planning stages, but it takes about a year to put something like this together. That's why the orchestra shows become an event rather than an everyday show."