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The Zombies ~ 2013 July 3 ~ Payomet Performing Arts Center ~ North Truro, MA

... by Joanne Corsano ...

Colin Blunstone of the Zombies
Colin Blunstone
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Band Personnel: Colin Blunstone, lead and backing vocals; Rod Argent, Hammond organ, backing vocals, lead vocals; Jim Rodford, bass and backing vocals; Tom Toomey, electric and acoustic guitars, backing vocals; Steve Rodford, drums

Set List

I Love You - Nobody Loves You Like I Do - Breathe Out Breathe In - I Want You Back Again - What Becomes of the Broken Hearted - I Don't Believe in Miracles - Show Me the Way [Rod on lead vocal] - Any Other Way - A Rose For Emily - Care of Cell 44 - This Will Be Our Year - I Want Her She Wants Me [Rod on lead vocal] - Time of the Season - A Moment in Time - Tell Her No - You Really Got a Hold On Me/Bring It On Home - Old & Wise {Alan Parsons Project} - Hold Your Head Up {Argent, written by Chris White} - She's Not There ... encore ... Just Out of Reach - Summertime {George Gershwin}


The Zombies are an old band. Lead singer Colin Blunstone marveled that they got their start 52 years ago! They are so old, they are a two generation band (the drummer is the bass player's son) and the "younger" generation band member has gray hair!

But does that stop them from rocking? Tell her no! No no no no no no!!!

Colin Blunstone is the lead singer and did most of the talking. What a voice! Time has not dimmed his vocal prowess at all. The backing vocals were also very, very good. "Tell Her No" was especially impressive, as the three backing singers (Rod, Jim and Tom) sang the "no no no" part while Colin sang a different version of "no no no" over them. It was chillingly good. Throughout the show the vocal skill of these four musicians continued to impress. Rod also shone on lead vocals on a couple of songs.

Not just a great singer, Colin Blunstone also is a great entertainer. Throughout the show his wit and genuine enthusiasm for performing sparkled. Commenting on the intimacy of the venue, Colin told the people in the front row: "you're so close, you'll be singing backup vocals ... unpaid." That got a big laugh, as did much of his banter throughout the evening.

The Zombies don't have a deep catalog (like, say, the Kinks do). They only recorded two albums during the 1960s before they ended their original run, but various compilations and "lost album" releases have padded their catalog. Since re-forming the Zombies a decade or so ago, they have also released a studio album called Breathe Out Breathe In, from which they played a handful of selections. But none of the songs felt like "filler"; every single number excelled. Highlights, of course, were the Zombies' three actual hits ("Tell Her No," "Time of the Season," and "She's Not There,") as well as the Argent hit, "Hold Your Head Up," which turned into an extended jam by Rod on the Hammond organ, along with rambunctious singing along. When introducing the song, Rod explained that the lyrics are "Hold your head up, woman," not "Hold your head up, wo-wo" as many people think, or even "Hold your head up, Norman" as one fan once said to him!

The show was part pure entertainment, part Zombies history. While introducing various songs, Colin (and sometimes Rod) took the chance to tell stories of the band history. When the band played a mini-set of five songs from the band's 1968 album, Odessey and Oracle, Rod told the story of the album. It didn't sell well when first released and received very little notice, but as the years went by took on more and more of the status of a 1960s lost cult classic. Many musicians of today praise the album; it's in the top 100 of Rolling Stone's top 500 albums of all time; it is selling better today than it did in 1968; Dave Grohl (of Nirvana and the Foo Fighters) said that the song "Care of Cell 44" was the single song that influenced him the most.

Part of my reason for wanting to see the Zombies was the presence of Jim Rodford in the band. Jim played bass in the Kinks for 18 years, during the latter part of their career. I have often said Jim was my favorite Kink who wasn't Ray or Dave. He always had an energetic stage presence. I remember he would play off of Dave Davies (Kinks lead guitarist) and the two would sometimes do playful semi-choreographed dance steps. I was delighted to see Jim engaging in the same sort of playfulness with the Zombies' guitarist, Tom Toomey. Jim plays a bass without a head; how do you tune a thing like that?

The Payomet Arts Center is located at an old abandoned military base in the wilderness of North Truro, within the confines of the Cape Cod National Seashore. Before the show Concert Going Partner and I took a walk around the old military village, where many buildings had "keep out - asbestos" warning signs, and the whole complex had a forbidding, mysterious, ghost-town feel to it. Adding to the mysterious feel was a prominent view of the Jenny Lind Tower, a gothic style tower from which the famed 19th century opera singer Jenny Lind was rumored to have sung, when the tower was a component of a railroad station in Boston. A couple more minutes of walking takes you to a gorgeous view of the Atlantic Ocean spreading out as far as the eye can see.

The performance space is located inside a tent, with a good big stage, excellent sound, and pretty good visibility for most of the audience, although there were sections of general admission seating outside the wings of the tent. I'm not sure those folks got a very good view. But everyone inside the tent was happy. The venue sells beer, wine and soft drinks as well as snacks, and tailgating before the show was popular. There is also plenty of parking. The seating was general admission, but within categories depending on how expensive a ticket one had purchased. Concert Going Partner and I went for the least expensive ticket price, but since we were near the front of the line, we were able to select very good seats along the side of the stage near Tom (the guitarist) who gave us a thumbs up sign a few times during the show.

The show was opened by Et Tu Brucé, who played an uptempo, melodic half hour. They were very enjoyable. One of the members of the band is Jamie White, who is the son of Chris White, the Zombies' original bass player (who also wrote many of their songs).

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