The Moody Blues were a rock band from the 1960’s and 1970’s that had reasonable success. They didn’t have the fame of Led Zeppelin or Pink Floyd, but they still had fame. Arguably their most famous track was none other than “Nights in White Satin” from their record Days of Future Passed. It had a cool vibe, and it was all together a nice little prog rock song that predated bands such as King Crimson and Rush.
Now, if you read this article’s title, you must be really confused. Well, keep reading and it will make sense. In 2008, music would be the basis for Hard Rock Park in Myrtle Beach, SC. Yes, it’s the same Hard Rock seen in Hard Rock Cafe.
The park housed rides based around, you guessed it, hard rock music. Me and my family went there in its only season as Hard Rock Park; it got sold and rebranded to Freestyle Music Park after that season due to troubles in money management and the economy. It only lasted one season under that guise as well. I can only remember two rides: A Led Zeppelin roller coaster and the one I’m talking about today. That ride is none other than “Nights in White Satin: The Trip.”
I have no idea why they picked this song as the basis for a ride. A prog rock ballad from the 1960’s just doesn’t feel like a basis for a theme park attraction. Led Zeppelin made sense for a roller coaster because their music had high energy to match. On paper, a slow song should’ve work with a ride like this, but its opera nature just clashed with the ride’s visuals and pacing.
These type of rides usually have memorable songs and impressive visuals. It may be unfair to compare it to something like the animatronics of “It’s a Small World,” but with a trippy song, trippy visuals are needed. They tried to emulate a trip, but it just looked cheap. Whether that be due to budget issues or a muddled vision, I’m not sure.
I’m not meaning to bemoan the people who worked on this, but the ride just felt lacking. The trees look like a Scooby-Doo background, and the various shapes just didn’t look cool, I’m sorry. It’s cool that the band re-recorded the song for the ride, but I prefer the original version.
All in all, this ride and park were just misguided. Theming can make or break an amusement park, and hard rock music isn’t going to be something that resonates with a lot of families out there. It’s not like the family friendliness and craftsmanship of Disney or the nonstop thrills philosophy of Cedar Point; Hard Rock Park was just themed areas based on a genre that not everyone will like. “Nights in White Satin: The Trip” was just an awkward experience all around. That said, I’m happy that I got to experience it years ago.
I was inspired to write this article after remembering this park and watching a lot of Defunctland videos. Check that channel out, you won’t regret it!
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Thanks for reading! YouTube clip uploaded by SallyCorp.