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Rod Argent is Featured Artist (May 2012) at Get Ready to ROCK! Radio
The Alban Arena, St Albans 27 November 2011
by Noel Buckley
Not so much an unexpected triumph as a fun filled celebration of The
Zombies 50 year musical heritage, this sell out return to the band's
home town of St Albans was everything the occasion demanded.
the good humour, the in between song anecdotes and the appearance of the
extant original members Chris White and Hugh Grundy, the Zombies
reminded us of just why they are held in such high esteem half a century
after tentatively making their professional debut.
And as Rod Argent reminded us several times during the course of the
evening tonight was all about linkages from the past, present and
played two sets of career highlights interspersed with Colin Blunstone's
solo material and Rod's anthemic Argent rockers, as well as some of the
songs referenced by such contemporary artist as Paul Weller, The Foo
Fighters and The Vaccines.
central pillar in the Zombies edifice is the attention to musical detail
as a succession of strong melodies were given a broader brush stroke by
rich backing vocals ranging from pristine harmony singing to intuitive
'ooh and aah's'.
Zombies are primarily all about the songs and Colin's unique voice that
brings many of them to life. Rod Argent and Chris White between them
have written some of the great songs of our time, including 'She's Not
There', 'Time Of The Season' and 'Hold Your Head Up', all of which were
given an airing tonight.
there's Colin Blunstone with his ethereal, timeless voice as he dipped
into his solo career to engage the crowd in some 'call and response'
singing on a cover of 'What Becomes of the Broken Hearted'.
He also sang
beautifully on Chris White's 'Andorra' - complete with a humorous
introduction about the song's author who wandered on stage with a smile
and a pint in hand.
similarly impressed on his melodic 'Any Other Way' on which Tom Twoomey
added lovely acoustic guitar. The band collectively added intermeshing
vocals on the voice and piano led 'Rose For Emily', while Colin's
rousing version of Denny Laine's 'Say You Don't Mind' had the crowd
taking a collective intake of breathe before he hit the top note on the
The real joy
was the way the band managed to integrate old songs with the material
from the excellent current CD 'Breathe Out, Breathe In' to weave a
carefully textured musical quilt, as both sets flowed seamlessly.
You almost had to pinch yourself to realise that the opening brace of
songs 'Sticks & Stones' and Chris White's 'I Love You' came from 1965,
particularly as the newer material was carried by the very same melodic
qualities that anchor the expiatory vocals of 'Breathe out, Breathe In'
and the celebratory feel of 'A Moment in Time'.
over the lead vocals on the powerful 'Show Me The Way', another new song
that made great use of a contrasting dynamic between the opening cool
bv's and his own brusque vocal. 'Time of the Season' was inevitably
another high point with Colin's breathy vocal and Rod's dancing notes
leading the band into ascending 4 part harmonies before Rod added a
definitive proggy organ solo.
provided another moment in the set when the past collided with the
present, on the Beatles influenced, riff driven 'Play It For Real'. And
as the band brought the exploration of their catalogue full circle, they
climaxed the show as an octet featuring both drummers with added bv's
from Viv White on 'She's Not There'.
achieved a sense of closure with a wonderful version of the standard
'Summertime' from their 1965 'Begin Here' debut album. Half way through
the song time appeared to stand still as everyone in the hall sang along
on a perfect example of enduring Heritage Rock spanning generations.
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