Archive for the ‘British Invasion’ Category

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Braving the River Rock for the Zombies

October 28, 2011

I’m a little behind in the blogging, despite my recently stated pledge to be more prolific (ie blog more than once a year). So here’s a catch-up item.

I’ve always resisted going to see shows at the River Rock Theatre. I cringe when I see the likes of Air Supply and Chicago in the River Rock’s weekly Georgia Straight ad. Although I’ve always said I would go if Merle Haggard showed up. (I’ve seen Johnny Cash and George Jones but not The Hag.)

Well, I finally caved when two sets of friends said they were going to see The Zombies at the River Rock. I didn’t know much about the band, aside from their great song “She’s Not There”, which the band I play in covers. So I bought a ticket. (Why are River Rock tickets so expensive? Another deterrent to going there.) I took the Canada Line directly to the Rock and walked by the depressing scene of mainly Asian people throwing their money away in the casino to get to the theatre.

The Zombies & The Strawbs on the River Rock Theatre Marquee

The Zombies at the River Rock Theatre

I’ll talk about both musical and non-musical aspects of the evening. Musically speaking, the Zombies were very good. I could see why the band has been so influential (many artists – from Elliott Smith to Neko Case to the Foo Fighters – have covered Zombies songs). They wrote great, ahead-of-their-time songs (like “Time of the Season” and “Care of Cell 44”) and still perform them with a lot of vigour.

The show was part of the Zombie’s 50th anniversary tour. Think about that for a second – that’s mind-boggling longevity (regardless of the long hiatus they had). Colin Blunstone is still a wondrous singer and Rod Argent is still the quintessential rock keyboardist. As a keyboardist myself, it was a thrill to hear Argent live. And Jim Rodford, longtime Kinks bassist, was also in the band, which was a bonus.

Check out Argent’s killing, multi-keyboard solo on “She’s Not There”:

And here’s the original version of “She’s Not There”, with beautiful women in arty poses:

I didn’t care for the Strawbs, who opened for the Zombies, mainly because I found lead singer Dave Cousins’ voice grating. They haven’t aged well like the Zombies.

Now for the non-musical report. The audience at the River Rock was pretty much as scary as I thought it would be. Many older men with receding hairlines (including myself) and pot bellies. (I’m not judging, I’m just sayin’.) Then there was the Man from Glad sitting in front of me. He tried very hard to pick up the woman seated two over from him. He talked her up, and she wasn’t resisting, talking as loudly as he was – in the middle of the concert! Glad Man eventually wormed his way over to the seat next to her and soon had his arm behind her seat. After the show, however, he walked away empty-handed. She’s not there, indeed.