Aug 09, 2013

from DIG BOSTONPosted on July 12, 2013 by Blake Maddux


Despite what the four-disc 1999 box set Zombie Heaven might suggest, the band did not record an enormous amount of material during its early- to late-60s time together. (Zombie Heaven, like most box sets, includes live and alternate versions of many songs.) Therefore, it was not surprising that Rod Argent and Colin Blunstone performed covers from their days with The Zombies as well as songs from their respective careers after the two wandered off in separate directions.

These performances came across as being less artificial padding than evidence that Blunstone and Argent were proud of the work they’ve done in throughout their five professional decades. Although Blunstone’s solo song declared “I Don’t Believe in Miracles,” the performance of the Motown classic “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me” made it clear that he didn’t mean Smokey Robinson’s band.

Additionally, the inclusion of “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted?”, a huge hit in 1966 for Motown legend Jimmy Ruffin, served as a reminder that the major (and minor) British Invasion bands – as unique as their individual sounds ended up being – were all rooted in American blues, soul, and R&B.

As nice as these were to hear, Argent and Blunstone knew damn well that the crowd was there for Zombies songs. Happy to oblige, the quintet started off the set with “I Love You,” “Can’t Nobody Love You?” and “I Want You Back Again.” They also drew four tracks from their latest album, 2011′s Breathe Out, Breathe In, of which Argent said the band was very proud.

In addition to “Time of the Season,” the boys served up “A Rose for Emily,” “Care of Cell 44” (in which the narrator joyously awaits his jailbird lover’s imminent release from the slammer), “This Will Be Our Year” (which, as Argent pointed out, Nike used in a Father’s Day commercial featuring Tiger Woods), and “I Want Her She Wants Me,” the song that might single-handedly deserve credit for there being a band called Belle & Sebastian.

Following this odyssey of classics was a mix of the aforementioned covers, new songs, the 1965 smash hit “Tell Her No,” and perhaps the oddest selection of evening, “Old and Wise,” an Alan Parsons Project song on which Blunstone sang lead back in 1982. (Odd, yes, but as I said before, Rod and Colin are proud of their long careers.)

The blokes ended the main set with “She’s Not There,” the song that catapulted them to stardom in 1964. Then, without perfunctorily heading backstage for the customary 30 seconds or so, they kicked into the extremely well-chosen “Just Out of Reach,” which appeared – along with the band – in the 1965 Otto Preminger film Bunny Lake Is Missing.

(Quick note about the opening act, Et Tu Brucé: Lead singer and songwriter Jaime White is the son of Chris White, the original Zombies bassist who wrote more than half of the songs on Odessey and Oracle in addition to – as Rod Argent said during the show – “90% of ‘Hold Your Head Up’.”)