Once upon a time, a band of rock 'n' roll players created a repertoire defiant of description. They called themselves the Moody Blues.

They're still out there, still defying.

From the ashes of fires raging in canyons north, the Moodies set about to build a better day Saturday evening at ParkWest, delivering more than two non-stop hours of their unique compositions.In short, these magnetic, middle-aged musicians "kept the candle burning" and put on a superb rock 'n' roll show. Born during the Great Metamorphosis of rock in the late 1960s, the Moodies are one-of-a-kind experimenteurs, and masters of their experiments. They demonstrated it in grand style.

Of course there were times when the songs seemed to have more energy than the players. And Justin Hayward had a hard time, on occasion, singing in tempo with the rest of the group. And it took more than a few minutes for bass guitarist John Lodge to realize he was performing live.

But none of the several thousand souls on the hillside seemed to care. After all, remember, these are the Moody Blues:

- Give Hayward a hand. Looking like the blond kid down the street, he was in top form on the lead guitar. His licks and riffs sizzled in "I'm Just a Singer in a Rock 'n' Roll Band" and "Here Comes the Weekend." He sang their latest release, "I Know You're Out There Somewhere," with passion, moving from microphone to microphone to declare it.

- Clap loudly for Lodge. After he tuned in, turned it on and warmed it up a bit, he was unstoppable as he bounced all over the stage, flirting with the back-up singing/dancing women and contributing strong lead and harmony vocals.

- Whistle awhile for Graeme Edge. The gray hair and matching beard belie the man's youthful power on the drums.

- Just smile and appreciate the genius of Patrick Moraz. The mad Swedish scientist he is, Moraz jumped and whirled wildly, pouncing on his electronic keyboards to provide the Moody music with just the right touches of synthesized sounds. On the other side of the stage from Moraz, hireling Guy Allison did a pleasant balancing act on his pair of keyboards.

- Lastly, stand and give ovation to Ray Thomas. Dressed in an expensive T-shirt that bears the cover of their latest album, "Sur La Mer," Thomas played tambourine most of the evening. He acted the patriarch, conducted songs and beseeched the crowd to enjoy the music as much as he does. When it came his turn to play along with the band, Ray Thomas the Flautist was impressive. His flute became a beautiful carriage for "Isn't Life Strange?" "Tuesday Afternoon" and "I Want to Be with You," a pretty, meandering love tune from the new album. In "Veteran Cosmic Rocker," Thomas was nearly a one-man show, singing, dancing and playing the harmonica and flute.

In all, the four Englishmen and the Swede played 18 songs, including "Once Upon a Time in Your Wildest Dreams," "The Other Side of Life," "Rock 'n' Roll Over You," "Timothy Leary," "Question" and the enchanting "Knights in White Satin."

Like those knights, may these Moody Blues never reach the end.