Zombies Create Magical Night

By Mervis, Scott | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA), October 16, 2015 | Go to article overview

Zombies Create Magical Night


Mervis, Scott, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)


Did you ever go to a friend's house because he really wanted to show you something, and then when you get there he shows you like 10 other things first and you're like, "I just want to see the thing! Show me the thing!"

That's a little bit like the show Wednesday night at Carnegie of Homestead Music Hall. The Zombies are adored almost exclusively for 1968's "Odessey and Oracle," one of the best and most unsung psych- pop albums to emerge in the '60s. It has a cult following among musicians and record-store geeks, and it's rated No. 100 on Rolling Stone's list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, so if you haven't heard it, please buy it or stream it now, and enjoy.

The billing was The Zombies "Odessey and Oracle" tour and, normally, when bands play albums in their entirety, they throw in a couple of extra hits at the beginning or the end. The Zombies stalled this for an hour and 40 minutes, doing an entire first set, in storyteller fashion, that was one of the stranger conglomerations of music you'll ever see from one band.

It bounced from the charming blue-eyed soul hit "Tell Her No" (from the 1965 debut "Begin Here") to hard blues-rock songs from a just-released new album to an extended version of Argent's "Hold Your Head Up" that seemed to thrust us into the middle of an Emerson, Lake & Palmer arena concert, circa 1973.

Rod Argent, the kind of guy who makes a big flourish of keyboard strokes, is one of two principals of The Zombies, along with singer Colin Blunstone. Watching this odd couple together you get a hint of why the band broke up before "Odessey" even came out. Mr. Argent is a bruiser type who's constantly pumping his fist and pointing at the audience.

Mr. Blunstone is a beatific-looking soul who seems shy and almost panicked on stage until he steps to the mic and unleashes that high golden voice.

The Zombies of new album "Still Got That Hunger" bear almost no resemblance to The Zombies of "Odessey and Oracle." "Moving On" and "Edge of the Rainbow" sounded like typical blues-club fodder, which I can assure you is not what the audience came for, and "New York," about The Zombies meeting their American influences on their first tour, seemed, well, a little corny.

"Maybe Tomorrow" did come with a good story about how Paul McCartney personally stepped in and allowed The Zombies to break a copyright rule about quoting Beatles songs, in this case "I believe in yesterday."

The playing from the current Zombies touring band was excellent throughout, and Mr. …

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