Archive for the ‘The Zombies’ Category

Ultimate Rhythm and Blues show Sage Gateshead 4th March 2014

Ultimate Rhythm and Blues show Sage Gateshead 4th March 2014
The Zombies, The Yardbirds, The Animals, Maggie Bell, Dave Berry
r&B A great concert with a host of acts from the 60s. Much more enjoyable than I expected. Two things stick in my mind from last night, and will be the themes of my blog entry today. The first is the subject of authenticity and the question “when is a band not a band?” (if you see what I mean ūüôā ), and the second is just how powerful a performer Maggie Bell is.
First up were The Animals and Friends which features original Animals drummer John Steel, keyboards player Mickey Gallagher (who replaced Alan Price in 1965), Danny Handley on guitar and Pete Barton on bass and lead vocals. Now you have to admire Pete Barton, he is an amazing front man, and has a growling, powerful voice which actually matches and rivals the original vocals of Eric Burdon. He also has the unenviable position of not only taking the position of the powerhouse Burdon, but also making announcements like “We’re going back to the Club A’Gogo” and introducing songs from 1964 (when he was actually 2 years old at the time). Amazingly, he pulls it all off and leads the band in authentic (there’s that word) renditions of all those great songs: We Got To Get Out Of This Place, Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood, and of course House of the Rising Sun. So although on the one hand, this version of the Animals features only one original member, on the other hand, the spirit and passion remains true to the roots of the ’60s band, and the performance comes over as authentic, true to the rich legacy and is delivered with passion and humility. A great start to the evening.
maggie The Animals were joined first by Dave Berry, who has replaced Spencer Davis on the tour, as Spencer is not well at the moment. I wondered at first whether Dave would fit well with this bill. In my mind I link him with the ’60s revival package pop tour, rather than a R&B package. But, as Dave reminded us, his roots lie in the Sheffield (and UK) R&B scene in the early ’60s, and he geared his short set towards this. He sang a few R&B classics and finished with an excellent version of “The Crying Game”. His performance was professional and slick, and he came over as a pretty cool guy.
Now when I was a young teenage kid, I stood a few feet in front of Maggie Bell and Les Harvey at Sunderland Locarno at a Stone the Crows gig. My mate and I were totally blown away by her voice and her performance that night. The lady simply oozed the blues, and sang with a passion and authenticity which came from deep in her soul. Now I haven’t seen her since the ’70s and wasn’t expecting what I saw last night. Maggie was simply sensational in every way. Much better than I could have hoped. Her voice remains strong, her performance electrifying, and she looks great. She sang a few blues classics including I’d Rather Go Blind, and finished with a an amazing duet with Pete Barton (by now I was starting to really admire that guy) of P J Proby’s “Hold Me”. I’d forgotten that Maggie hit the charts with a version of this on which she dueted with B A Roberston. Stunning.
maggietixAfter a short interval, next up was the latest line-up of the Yardbirds. Again the subject of authenticity comes to mind. This line-up features original drummer Jim McCarty and, back in the band after 50 years (!), original guitarist Top Topham who was in the band in the very early years and was replaced by Eric Clapton. The rest of the line-up are all relatively new: Ben King on lead guitar, Andy Mitchell on vocals and mouth harp, and David Smale on bass. Original rhythm guitarist Chris Dreja has recently left the band because of ill health. Like The Animals, this line-up remains true to the roots of the music and delivered pretty flawless versions of all those classics; “For Your Love”, “Heart Full of Soul”, “Over Under Sideways Down” “Shapes of Things” and an amazing version of “Dazed and Confused” (I’d forgotten that this was a Yardbirds song which Page took with him into Zeppelin).
The evening closed with a performance by the Zombies, who remain pretty authentic in that they feature two of the main originals in Colin Blunstone (vocals) and Rod Argent (keyboards, or was in “organ” in those days? ūüôā ). The Zombies took us through all the hits, including Argent’s Hold Your Head Up, Blunstones’ Say You Don’t Mind, and the classis Time Of the Season. The closed the evening with She’s Not There. Great stuff.
From the promotional material: “Relive the musical revolution of 1964 as the chart-topping stars of the 1960s, including The Zombies, The Animals, The Yardbirds, Dave Berry and Maggie Bell perform some of their greatest hits. This amazing line-up have collectively, over 50 years, delivered 37 hit records and held chart-topping positions for more than 300 weeks.”

Argent in concert 1972 – 1974

Argent in concert 1972 – 1974
I first saw Argent in concert at Sunderland Top Rank on a double bill with Beggars Opera. I have a feeling it was a 12 midnight to 4am show that they put on now and then, sometimes on bank holiday weekends. Both bands were heavily organ-based; I had already seen Beggars Opera before, but Argent were new to me. Hold Your Head had just been realised, which places the concert sometime in 1972. I remember everyone standing on the tables in the Rink, singing to Hold Your Head Up; think they played in twice, once in the set and once as an encore. (Update note: I’ve just seen someone selling a poster for the gig on ebay. It was on Sunday 28th/ Monday 29th May 1972, from midnight to 4am. The gig was promoted by Fillmore North ie Geof Docherty. Support for Argent came from local bands Brass Alley and Beckett, and Beggars Opera. Tickets were all of 60p). I was impressed enough to go and see Argent again at Newcastle City Hall in 1973. Their lp at that time was “In Deep” which features the track God Gave Rock and Roll to You, later to be covered by Kiss. Argent were back at the City Hall in 1974, boasting a quadrophonic/stereo show, which featured speakers around the hall; I remember I was sitting right next to one on the balcony. The ticket advertised the concert as quadrophonic downstairs and stereo in the balcony! Interesting concept. The lp for this tour was Nexus, which was pretty heavy prog rock stuff, with tracks such as The Coming Of Kohoutek (great title) and the mega opus Music From The Spheres, which clocks in at over 8 minutes on the lp and was probably longer live. Alongside these new songs, The Zombies’ Time of the Season also got an outing in concert in those days. By 1974 Russ Ballard had left the band to be replaced by John Verity and guitarist John Grimaldi. Argent was a class act. Some great songs, and some top keyboard form Rod Argent. I remember being jealous of Rod Argent’s (very) long hair, and being fascinated by Russ Ballard’s guitar which had holes drilled through the body. A few years after Argent had split, I saw Rod Argent at a free keyboard demonstration concert at Middlesbrough Town Hall. I notice the ticket for the 1974 tour shows that Clancy, who were part of the pub rock scene of the early 70s, were the support act. Argent have reformed recently, and have been playing a few concerts in the past week. I would like to see them again, but haven’t caught up with them yet. (Update note: I found a flyer for the Quadrophonic gig at the City Hall so have added it here). I have since seen Rod a couple of times with Colin Blunstone and with The Zombies, who he tours with now. photo Update on 26/12/12. I’ve added a scan of the poster from the gig at Sunderland Top Rank, which John bought on ebay. This shows that it was a midnight to 4am show, on May 28/29 1972 (late May bank holiday). The Line-up was Argent, Beggars Opera, Beckett and Brass Alley.

The Zombies Manchester Bridgewater Hall 24 April

The Zombies Manchester Bridgewater Hall 24 April 2009

Went with David to the magnificent Bridgewater Hall to see the Zombies play their Odessey and Oracle show. David almost didn’t come; he hadn’t heard much by the Zombies; I persuaded him to come along.¬† The drive to Manchester took longer than usual; the traffic was terrible on the M62. However we arrived at around 6.30 with plenty of time to spare.¬†

We took our seats in the second row and the band took the stage shortly after 7.30. The first half was the Zombies touring band, which consists of Colin Blunstone, Rod Argent, Jim Rodford, Steve Rodford and Keith Airey. Keith hails from Sunderland and is an old friend from many years ago. The set consisted of Zombies and Colin Blunstone hits with Argent’s Hold your head up as a closer. All delivered excellently; Colin Blunstone’s voice is as exquisite as ever. I manage to say hello to Keith Airey as the band leave the stage; it must be almost 30 years since we last met.

The second set is what everyone has come for. The remaining members of the original band take the stage along with Keith who takes the guitar parts (the original guitarist died some years ago). This is one of four shows this year in which they are playing their classic Odessey and Oracle album in its entirety, using original instruments in order to recreate the original sound as far as they can. And it doesn’t disappoint. Each track sounds as it did when it was recorded. My own favourites are Rose for Emily and the classic Time of the Season. David declares it possibly the best concert he has ever been to; and I have to agree with him. Musically¬†it can’t be faulted. Keith invites us back stage after the gig, and I have a chat with him about old times and meet Colin Blunstone and the band. We set off for the drive home and get back around 1.30am. A very¬†special concert.

 

Set list:

First set: Selection of Zombies and Colin Blunstone hits; finishing with Argent’s Hold your head up.

Second set: entire Odessey and Oracle album: Care of Cell 44; A Rose for Emily;¬†Maybe After He’s Gone;¬†Beechwood Park; Brief Candles; Hung up on a Dream;¬†Changes; I Want Her, She Wants Me; This Will Be Our Year; Butcher’s Tale; Friends of Mine; Time of the Season

Encores: Shes not there; Going out of me head; Summertime

 

Album info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odessey_and_Oracle

Website: http://www.rodargent.com/

ticket
ticket

 

flyer

flyer