Thoughts on Last Night's Incredible Zombies Show at the Kessler.
A few days ago, we stumbled across an issue of Rolling Stone magazine from March 2, 1972 that happened to contain an interview with former Zombies frontman Colin Blunstone.
That article came out a good five years after the had band split. At the time, bands of impersonators fraudulently touring as the Zombies were still fairly rampant.
At one point, the author of that piece asks Blunstone if he thought the Zombies would ever reform. Responded the singer: “We're getting a bit too old, aren't we?”
Last night at The Kessler, however, original Zombies members Colin Blunstone and keyboardist Rod Argent proved that there was little truth to that statement — even 41 years later. Rounded out by bassist Jim Rodford (a founding member of Argent's self-titled act and a performer in The Kinks for nearly 20 years), guitarist Tom Toomey (who played on Blunstone's solo albums) and Jim's son Steve Rodford on drums, the band not only satisfy a room packed so tightly that it was nut-to-butt even in the aisles, but they managed to pull of a few surprises as well.
More than just the fact that the band's members had quite obviously aged extremely well, they remain in top form, and ballsy as ever. Blunstone never shied away from the high notes, nor did the band have to change any of the keys for its tunes to accommodate an aging voice. Aside from his trademark breathiness, his falsettos were equally stunning.
No matter how age-defying Blunstone's vocals were, however, Argent was very apparently the crowd favorite. Whether the band was performing cuts from their master Odessey and Oracle works, tunes from the band Argent, Alan Parsons songs that Blunstone had appeared on back in the day, or Zombies deep cuts so old that the band joked at one point they'd forgotten they ever recorded them, Rod Argent's playful presence and keyboard wizardry were a treat to witness.
This was especially true during extended versions of Argent's “Hold Your Head Up” and the Zombies mega-hit “Time of the Season,” which the band was gutsy enough to throw in only halfway through their set, where Argent soloed maniacally, much to the delight of the packed house.
And just as Blunstone predicted when we spoke with him earlier in the week, the handful of tunes they played from 2011's Breathe Out, Breathe In indeed fit in quite well alongside the songs they performed that had been written 50 years earlier. Being the last remaining member of the band's original instrumentalists, Argent was able to let through a bit more of the neo-jazz leanings he tended to temper at times during the Zombies original run, and which provided a thread that tied five decades of material together quite nicely.
When all was said and done, we stood outside as the venue slowly emptied. Literally every single face we saw sported a grin stretching from ear to ear. Folks weren't just thrilled they'd caught a glimpse of some aging legends before they checked out. Nor were they simply pleased to have seen a decently executed nostalgia act adequately playing through a catalog of 50-year-old hits.
No, those in attendance didn't just walk away talking about the fantastic rock show they'd just witnessed. Rather, everyone seemed most pleased to acknowledge that they were lucky enough to have even been in the room as such a special performance took place.