Ultimate Rhythm and Blues show Sage Gateshead 4th March 2014
The Zombies, The Yardbirds, The Animals, Maggie Bell, Dave Berry
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 🙂 ), 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.
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.
After 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? 🙂 ). 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.”
Archive for the ‘The Zombies’ Category
Ultimate Rhythm and Blues show Sage Gateshead 4th March 2014
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.
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