Aug 09, 2013
Written by John Reed for Music-News.com
The music world was all abuzz last year when the Rolling Stones’ 5oth anniversary as a band officially arrived. And while the band just finished their tour to celebrate (which is now Mick Jagger and the boys’ 51st year as a band) - it is interesting to note that another band from that era, The Zombies, were actually started 52 years ago! One of the original British Invasion bands (and one of the best), The Zombies performed (and sold-out) at the wonderfully renovated Regent Theater in Arlington, MA on July 7, 2013. Lead singer Colin Blunstone revealed the age of the band on stage and it was amazing as The Zombies as in as great form now as they were during their early hit making days.
Fronted by original members Blunstone and Rod Argent, The Zombies were, and are, one the most interesting and accomplished bands of all time. Celestial vocals and harmonies combined with master musicianship and songwriting skills which match those of Brill Building/Motown alums, the bands catalogue is one of the most captivating ever put on record.
Opening their show with “I Love You” and Solomon Burkes “Can’t Nobody Love You,” it was jaw dropping to hear the power in Blunstone’s vocals. When they did a cover of Jimmy Ruffin’s “What Becomes of the Broken Hearted,” it was a reminder that the Zombies really have soul to spare.
Since the Zombies were the creators of one of the greatest and highly critically acclaimed records ever made,” Odyssey and Oracle,” they dished out a good sampling of the record on Sunday.
Blunstone reminded the crowd that Dave Grohl’s favorite song is the lead off cut from “Odyssey and Oracle,” “Care of Cell 44,” which the group pristinely resurrected in all its angelic harmonic filled glory. “Time of the Season” is where Rod Argent shined (as he did many times this night) as his complex and infectious keyboard led solo astounded.
Argent and Blunstone were very quick to give credit to former Zombie bassist Chris White (whose son’s band, Et Tu Brucé, opened the show) for his songwriting contributions and even told of how White wrote the majority of the wildly successful hit “Hold Your Head Up” for the band Argent (the band that Rod Argent formed after the original Zombies spilt), which was a centerpiece of the Zombies set. It was also made extra special as current bass player Jim Rodford is now in the Zombies. Rodford, who is a masterful bassist, has a resume that included an 18 stint with The Kinks (and he was originally asked to be in the Zombies).
The show ending “Just Out of Reach” was a treat, as band had done the song for the 1965 Otto Preminger film “Bunny Lake Is Missing,” was followed by a killer revamping of ”Summertime” (from the Zombies first album), which was appropriate for the heat wave that was going on just outside the theater that night.
Liner notes from the bands 1997 box set ” Zombie Heaven” stated that the only time the original Zombies played Massachusetts was at the Pittsfield Boys Club in 1966 (however, the current version of the band has performed in Massachusetts more recently). Not an appropriate place for such an iconic band, so it was great to see then in a venue more fitting for one of the coolest quintets of all time.