Friday, June 21, 2013

Now that's what they call Rock: The Zombies in Concert

My wife and I just got back from one of the single best concerts I've ever had the privilege to see: The Zombies at Penn's Peak, outside of Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania.

As is usual with Penn's Peak, the opening act Et tu Bruce was a bit of a letdown, no matter the line-up (featuring the son of original Zombie Chris White). Their music was interesting, but I really couldn't define what sort of style they were going for. And there was this woman named Jo providing back-up vocals that really dragged the performance down with a lack of personality. She did play the cowbell masterfully in the final number, I will admit.

The Zombies played a variety of songs from their original albums, solo work and their newest album, Breathe In, Breathe Out. They did all their big hits, naturally, along with a vibrant set that showcased the fifty years of history the band encompasses.

The legendary Odessey and Oracle album was represented quite well, as "A Rose for Emily", "Care of Cell 44", "I Want Her, She Wants Me" and, of course, "Time of the Season" were performed in as a suite of songs.

I'd have to say the highlight of the concert for me were Colin Blunstone's performance of "Old and Wise", a song he sang on the Alan Parsons Project album Eye in the Sky. Most people know that the Project was primarily a studio creation, having only performed live in its original incarnation once. To hear one of their songs, and such a poignant, beautiful tune as it is, performed live brought a tear to my eye.

Rod Argent's hit (with the band Argent) "Hold Your Head Up" got the crowd on its feet (though really, most of the band's songs did that). He even made a point to explain that the chorus was indeed "Hold Your Head Up, Woman", no matter what nearly every lyrics engine tells you.

The final two songs were again special: One of the Zombies' hardest-to-find songs, "Just Out of Reach" was played; This song was one of two featured in the Otto Preminger movie Bunny Lake is Missing, a classic thriller/whodunit with Lawrence Olivier, Kier Dullea and Carol Lynley. (My thanks to Jon Pike for intriguing me enough about this film back in our college days to make me hunt it down.) The concert closed with, of all things, a George Gershwin song from 1936. "Summertime" had been intended as the first Zombies single way back when, but was shelved for "She's Not There". A classy number to end a very classy, professional and obviously fun concert for audience and band members alike.

No pictures this time around, since I thought I'd try the camera in my new TracFone. Unfortunately, the camera in a new TracFone sucks for actually taking photos. Luckily, it's cheap for what we use it for. Y'know, as a phone.

Next week, we're raring to go for the Happy Together Tour, which features Chuck Negron (of Three Dog Night), Gary Puckett, Gary Lewis and the Playboys, Mark Lindsay (of Paul Revere and the Raiders), the Union Gap Band, and the Turtles, complete with Flo and Eddie!

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