Night of The Zombies!

Life imitates art … On Thursday night at The Metropolis it did!

The Zombies, the band which were part of the British Invasion, arrived in Montreal for the first time since 1965. Known for their pre – progrock  sounds and somewhat haunting jazzy psychedelic melodies, seemingly brought some sort of Voodoo with them …

At 7:30pm – the concert venue lost power. The Zombies  indeed in town as part of The Montreal En ( sans ) Lumiere Festival.

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Thankfully, Hydro -Quebec arrived, plugged in a cable and continued on their way to a nice pasta dinner. This paved the way for the local Quebec band – Les Revenants, to take the stage only twenty minutes behind schedule.

Les Revenants scared people with their first tune. It seemed like just another local ( insert band name here ) act with one good song and little talent opening up for a big name to get exposure. Les Revenants are not that type of band. Take the folk-ish Mumford and Sons, add some Stray Cats and voilà! What ensued was an upbeat set with strong guitar chords bordering on the days of  Dick Dale and the Deltones. A perfect set-up for a mostly baby boomer crowd awaiting to relive their past …

Rod Argent, Colin Blunstone, Jim and Steve Rodford and Tom Toomey are The Zombies. A group of musicians who are at the top of their game. Argent and Blunstone, the two founding members of the historic band – talents beyond belief in their respective corners.

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Argent, a man whose post and pre – Zombie resume consists of work with Andrew Lloyd Weber and his self-named 70’s band; Argent – a master on the keyboards.

Seldom sitting while delivering energetic solos in songs such as the band’s new hit ‘Breathe Out Breathe In’ and ‘What Becomes of the Broken Hearted’. At the same time – demonstrating a gentleness in songs such as “A Rose for Emily‘ and Gershwin’s ‘ Summertime’. Setting the stage ( no pun intended), for his partner Blunstone. Especially on the latter two compositions.

Blunstone, a man in his late sixties, a gentleman – showcased a voice which is rare in this day and age. Reaching deep within to pull out powerful pitches while at the same time retaining the ability to swoon young children to sleep with tender lullabies. It is obvious that Blunstone takes pride in a voice which has in the past added depth to the Alan Parsons Project. The man allows Rod Argent to take care of the theatrics and bantering. His job is to offer vocal enchantment. His job is safe …

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The Zombies delivered a three -part show.

Nostalgia. Arena – rock. Prog – rock.

‘She’s Not There’, ‘Time of the Season‘ and ‘ Hold Your Head Up’  ( the 70’s are nostalgic) delivered the nostalgia and many young and old types alike to the area directly in front of the stage to dance. The dancers stayed until the end.

Fans of the band’s classic Odessey and Oracle album, guys like Montreal band Elephant Stone’s lead singer Rishi Dhir ( a band which will open up for The Zombies in upcoming shows), delighted with the songs chosen. ‘Care of Cell 44’, ‘A Rose for Emily’ and ‘I Want Her She Wants Me’ reminded fans of an album which showcased the Zombie sound. A sound ahead of its time. ‘Pet Sounds’ meets “Revolver’. Prog – rock 101.

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Argent, guitarist Tom Toomey and bassist Jim Rodford delivered the arena rock. A trio  who lived those days front and center.

Argent and Rodford with Argent while Rodford also played bass for The Kinks at places like The Montreal Forum in the 1970’s. Toomey’s guitar singing throughout the Metropolis, Argent’s perfectly delivered keyboard solos and Rodford’s steady timing – a nudge to those who thought the Zombies were strictly a nostalgia act like Air Supply. Steve Rodford, the son of Jim and a relative ‘youngster’ on drums – providing energy a la Jason Bonham or Zach Starkey. Musical kids are raised in the business. Musical kids are ahead of the game in so many ways.

All in all – life imitated art. At least until the lights came back on …

SetList

1. I Love You
2. Can’t Nobody Love You
3. Breathe Out, Breathe In
4. I Want You Back Again
5. What Becomes of the Broken Hearted
6. I Don’t Believe In Miracles
7. Show Me the Way
8. Any Other Way
9. A Rose For Emily
10. Care of Cell 44
11. I Want Her She Wants Me
12. Time of the Season
13. A Moment in Time
14. Whenever You’re Ready
15. Tell Her No
16. Old and Wise
17. Hold Your Head Up
18. She’s Not There
19. Just Out of Reach
20. Summertime

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2 thoughts on “Night of The Zombies!”

  1. Thanks for the enthusiastic review, but botching the name of one of the very greatest of Motown ballads (though admittedly not a high-point of the set), “What Becomes of the Broken Hearted,” is rather upsetting and somewhat telling…

    1. Hey thanks for pointing that out – appreciated. Somewhat telling? Well – considering I was / am fighting a bad case of bronchitis and I am human, I hope one day to be as perfect as you.
      Thanks for reading person without a name.
      Rick

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