This is a concert that has been in preparation for more than two years.
As the coronavirus pandemic seemingly wanes, the Zombies, the British invasion band whose hits include the transcendent ‘Time of the Season’, will finally play their long-delayed show at the Manship Theatre.
Most of the concertgoers attending Saturday’s Zombies performance have held on to their tickets since the show’s original date in 2020. A few tickets were recently returned, but a waiting list ensured they would be quickly redeemed.
“This show has moved so many times,” said John Kaufman, the theater’s director of marketing and programming. “But people wanted to keep their tickets and they (the Zombies) still wanted to make the date. We still wanted to do the show, because we had been working on it for so long.
Veteran singer-songwriter Bruce Sodano opens the show.
The 21st Century edition of Zombies features two founding members, vocalist Colin Blunstone and keyboardist Rod Argent. The first British invasion band after the Beatles to earn a US No. 1 hit (“She’s Not There”), the Zombies disbanded in late 1967, more than a year before the unexpected rise of ” Time of the Season” at No. 1 in America.
After the Zombies broke up, Blunstone embarked on a solo career. Argent found success with his second self-titled band, Argent (“Hold Your Head Up”, “God Gave Rock ‘n’ Roll to You”). But the world hadn’t heard the last of the zombies. Decades of mounting acclaim for the initially neglected album “Time of the Season” debuted on 1968’s “Odessey and Oracle” – paved the way for the resurrection of the Zombies.
In 2000, Blunstone and Argent reunited for a limited series of reunion concerts. But rather than quitting after their scheduled six gigs, they continued. First introducing themselves as Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent, they soon reclaimed their original moniker, performing and creating new music as Zombies.
On March 29, 2019, the 50th anniversary of “Time of the Season” topping Cash Box’s Top 100 Singles chart, the Zombies were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
“It was amazing because Cash Box published their magazine the same day 50 years ago,” Argent said during an interview with The Advocate.
Eligible for induction since 1989, the Zombies’ belated Hall of Fame honor came decades after the inductions of peers such as the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Kinks and Who. Argent, showing no disappointment at not being nominated for Rock Hall until 2013, said being nominated was an honor.
“In the five years leading up to induction, we’ve been nominated four times,” said the keyboardist and songwriter. “I never thought we would cross the finish line, but we did. And it was a fantastic night. It was great to meet the other bands, many of them for the first time, like Def Leppard and the Cure. I couldn’t believe how many of these groups said such nice things about us. They said we influenced them, even people like The Cure, which I never would have imagined.
In the 1960s, Argent, unlike his contemporary Mick Jagger, hadn’t planned that he would travel the world with the Zombies nearly 60 years after the hits of “She’s Not There” and “Tell Her No”.
Argent discussed his unexpected longevity with another of his British Invasion peers, Graham Nash, after the former Hollies and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young member attended a recent Zombies show. Back in the ’60s, Argent said, if he or Nash had predicted they would be performing and recording excitedly in the 2020s, “we would have looked at each other and said, ‘You’re fucking nuts.'”
Argent’s lasting friendship and musical partnership with Blunstone dates back to Easter weekend 1961, in their hometown of St. Albans.
“At that first rehearsal, I met Colin, who was a friend of a friend,” Argent recalls. “Incredibly, everything worked out. I have been very good friends with Colin from that time until today. We still have fun together. Her voice has changed a bit, but it’s more moving than it’s ever been. We still sing everything in the original keys and our chops are better than ever. We still focus on the things we did when we were 18. It’s a privilege, really.
7:30 p.m. Saturday
Manship Theater, 100 Lafayette Street.
manshiptheatre.org and thezombiesmusic.com