The Zombies - Colin Blunstone & Rod Argent - Boerderij, Zoetemeer, 5/11/2004

"The audience for their part dance cautiously throughout, careful not to aggravate their arthritis, reserving space for body movements that would not induce a hernia or an onslaught of gout. "

 


Sitting in the lovely Boerderij bar, the one with the big screen, we felt quite spruce and loose. Actually we were the youngest in the place. We also looked foppish enough, what with my flamboyant neckerchief and velvet jacket, and the trainee nurse's jacket and frilly shirt combo. Tell you what kids, I fancy we were the most baddass people there. But that wasn't difficult; for this was akin to a nostalgia night for 95% of the audience were obviously original fans from the Zombies' mid 60s hey day.


 


The regulation oldster gig wear was on view everywhere you looked; mail order catalogue black leather jacket, regular if somewhat faded jeans, well cared for sneakers. The place was pretty full, a feel of Friday night at the ten-pin bowling pervaded; comfortable, past caring, rather stately entertainment. The Zombies played up to this rather splendidly. Starting off with a selection of oldies ("I Love Her", "Wonderful", "Evelyne"), then a jazzy version of "What Becomes of the Broken Hearted?" followed by a majestic version of "Time of the Season"... It was all the audience wanted. Between songs there was a lot of stage banter, you can imagine the type of thing; "well, we first played this with so and so in 1969 in Abbey Road and that was wonderful; blah blah..." There was also an example of every on-stage matey gesture you can think of; pointing, thumbs ups, hand waving, in the air clapping. All of which was rapturously received. Blunstone was a cerebral presence, a palpable nervousness informed his movements, standing for the most part stock still apart from twitching his fingers, or nodding his head to the music. He reminded me of a bashful but louche English Lit teacher. By contrast, Rod Argent was all crisp, well spoken bonhomie, informing us of the history of each song.   


 


Before you think I'm sneering, let me point out that along with all other 60s groups I've seen, (even if, as was the case here, it's an amalgamation of some original members plus 60s session musicians), the Zombies sure can sing. They know how good it is for an audience to hear the power of a great song sung well. The vocal delivery by the entire band was fucking superb. "Wonderful" was wonderful; "A Rose for Esther", off the brilliant lost psychedelic classic "Odyssey and Oracle" was so fragile, you felt you could have blown the song away with one puff. There was power too, most notably on "Hold Your Head Up". But of course, most people really wanted to hear one song, and, when "She's not There" was aired as part of the encore, you can imagine how well that was played. It fucking rocked kids. Worth the admission price alone.


 


The audience for their part dance cautiously throughout, careful not to aggravate their arthritis, reserving space for body movements that would not induce a hernia or an onslaught of gout. There was also a lot of shushing when the hubbub at the bar occasionally got too loud; in fact this is a trait that the young and flippant could do with copying. Got that kids? Learn from your elders.


 


Words : Richard Foster.