Review: ‘The Zombies’

When Rod Argent and Colin Blunstone reclaimed the Zombies moniker in 2004, the pair seemed content to pay homage to themselves by playing a set loaded down with tunes from their 1968 LP "Odessey & Oracle."

When Rod Argent and Colin Blunstone reclaimed the Zombies moniker in 2004, the pair seemed content to pay homage to themselves by playing a set loaded down with tunes from their 1968 LP “Odessey & Oracle.” It was a logical choice — “Oracle” is a stone cold pop classic, filled with complex harmonies and breathtaking hooks — but that sort of narrow revivalism has clearly worn on the band who only performed six of the album’s 12 songs at the Grove.

On the one hand, it’s admirable that Argent and Blunstone are presenting a diverse cross-section of their careers instead of merely shoving one album down the audience’s throat. But they just don’t seem to be picking the right songs. Instead of digging up B-side treasures (“The Way I Feel Inside,” “Leave Me Be”) and lesser-known singles like the R&B-tinged “Whenever You’re Ready,” the Zombies are pulling out arena rock anthems from Argent’s post-Zombies band Argent and playing curious covers (“What Becomes of the Brokenhearted”).

Blunstone is still in fine singing form, exhibiting a subtle charisma that nicely counteracts Argent’s indulgent organ soloing. As is the case with several re-formed bands from the 1960s, the new members let virtuosity get in the way of the austere beauty of the songs. Drummer Steve Rodford can’t seem to help injecting hi-hat flutters and tom fills into nearly every musical break, while guitarist Steve Rodford performed a number of bizarre Eddie Van Halen-esque solos.

The Zombies

The Grove of Anaheim; 1,000 capacity; $60 top

Production

Presented by Nederlander. Reviewed on July 17, 2008.

Cast

Band: Rod Argent, Colin Blunstone, Keith Airey, Jim Rodford, Steve Rodford.
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