The Paramount Hudson Valley has continued its remarkable comeback since reopening in 2013 by hosting a rather big name from the ’60s, The Zombies, who put on a remarkable show on Aug. 15. The Zombies haven’t been together under that name for a number of years since their first run in the ’60s, but after a few regroupings in the ’90s they have been actively touring since 2001. Original members Rod Argent (organ/vocals) and Colin Blunstone (vocals) have been joined by bassist Jim Rodford who played with The Kinks from 1978-1996 and with Argent in his band of the same name.
The evening eased in with a set by singer-songwriter Bruce Sudano, known for his writing and arranging for some of the most famous performers in the world along with his late wife, Donna Summer. The songwriter in Sudano was apparent throughout his performance. With some longer songs to fill out his 40 minutes on stage, Sudano and his two band members carried a Brian Eno type ambiance throughout the set mixed with elements of rock, blues, and reggae. The layering of sounds and interweaving of guitar, sax, and keyboard lines help bring the words to life – more poetic than lyrical.
When The Zombies took the stage, it may have well been a scene out of a club show The Beatles played in England in their earlier days with standing ovations and boisterous cheers. It was the first of many signs throughout the night that the band has, 50 years later, not drifted into the novelty band clique as some with decade-spanning careers have. Like the simple flick of a light switch, the first sight of original members Rod Argent and Colin Blunstone brought the somewhat placid crowd to life.
With a smile on his face that carried through most of the show, singer Colin Blunstone introduced the evening early in the set claiming “We’ve been playing songs for 50 years. We’ll play the hits and lesser known songs. We want to keep it fresh with new songs.” The evening did, yes, include their chart-topping hits “She’s Not There,” “Time of the Season,” and “Tell Her No,” among others. The real attention grabber though was the roster of other songs weaved around these show anchors. How much of an attention grabber? Let’s say there were no dull I’m clapping because I have to moments after each of these other songs. In fact, each song in their set received at least a few standing ovations, though some songs of course received many more than others.
Along with the “classics,” they performed a fairly eclectic mix of other songs to keep things interesting and fresh, a sentiment Blunstone touched upon throughout the show. Early in the set they brought back their 1964 single “You Make Me Feel Good,” and although it’s an old tune, it was their first time playing it live in 50 years. On the recent end, they performed a brand new bluesy rock song, “The Moving On,” which had only been written a few days prior and received quite well. Another recent song, “Any Other Way,” off their 2011 Breathe In, Breathe Out album, featured an acoustic guitar solo from Tom Toomey (a member of the band since 2011) that reverberated with the style of Mark Knopfler.
Part of the musical journey of the night included material from the band members’ other gigs while The Zombies were in their disbanded years. They brought out two songs from Argent (the band), including “Hold Your Head Up” with Argent wailing out two extended keyboard solos that brought the remaining few people in their seats to their feet. Blunstone introduced the other Argent song as “The hit by tall guys with lots of makeup which was a hit in the UK before they got to it.” He was of course talking about Kiss covering “God Gave Rock and Roll To You.” Blunstone also spoke of his time away from The Zombies with a story of how he met Alan Parsons and became involved in recording vocals on the Alan Parsons Project album Eye In The Sky before performing “Old and Wise,” one of the songs he recorded with Parsons.
To cap the evening off, the final song was a nod to the two original members of The Zombies. After a final bow from the whole band, Argent and Blunstone remained on stage to perform a duet on “The Way I Feel Inside,” one of the band’s earliest recordings.
The reactions of some people in the audience screamed nostalgia throughout the evening. Perhaps calling it a robust nostalgia would be a better way to describe it because of the band’s fresh mix of song selections. It was clear from this show that The Zombies have evolved with their latest regrouping to entertain fans old and new with a performance that is far from being a can of vegetables. They’re keeping up with the times pretty good too with different forms of social media to engage their followers. Don’t miss their show next time they pass through your neck of the woods – you may just regret it!
I Love You
Can’t Nobody Love You
Breathe Out, Breathe In
I Want You Back Again
You Make Me Feel Good
She’s Coming Home
Any Other Way
A Rose For Emily
Care of Cell 44
This Will Be Our Year
I Want Her, She Wants Me
Time Of The Season
The Moving On (newly written song)
Tell Her No
You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me
Old And Wise (Alan Parsons Project)
Hold Your Head Up (Argent)
She’s Not There
God Gave Rock and Roll To You (Argent)
Just Out Of Reach
The Way I Feel Inside