Experiencing The Zombies at The Showbox, Seattle WA
As I sit in my red, vinyl bean bag chair, put my headsets on, cord attached to my turntable….
I drop the needle and just listen. I’m the youngest of 4, therefore, I have a wide exposure to music. By the time, I was 5 years old, I was madly in love with Paul McCartney. The 60’s British Invasion fascinated me. I loved the music, the fashion, the cool vibe. Someday…I would travel to London and be as groovy as those teenage girls were. When the 1970’s rolled around, I started developing my own tastes in music. I loved listening to my transistor radio, and learning all the new songs. In 1972, I was in the Junior High drill team. One of our routines was to Argent’s “Hold Your Head Up.” I vividly remember holding my blue and white pom poms high above my head, in rhythm to the beat.
April 2017, The Showbox Theater, Seattle WA
I’m a late bloomer in the adult concert scene. Hence, I’m making up for it by ‘Rockin’ Through My 50’s’. I only discovered what an awesome venue The Showbox at Pike Place Market is 2 ½ years ago. My daughter and I saw Heart there, and we ended up right next to the stage! Amazing to be just a few feet away from such a celebrated band. Now I keep an eye open for special opportunities to see legendary bands that I love. When the Zombies advertised their tickets for sale at The Showbox, I immediately bought tickets. I knew this was going to be a unique performance.
I learned at The Heart concert that you want to arrive early and sit in the bar, Kerns Music Shop. There is a limit of how many people are allowed in there, and you are the first ones to enter the venue when it opens. Very important, if you want to stand next to the stage, or sit at a table. While you’re sitting there, though, it’s a fantastic opportunity to talk to other concert attendees. We’re all there for the same reason, so it makes for enjoyable conversation. On this night, my husband and I ended up sitting next to Larry, Debbie and Steve. Complete strangers, but by the time the venue doors opened, we had a special bond. That’s what music does. It erases boundaries, and opens the doors for our souls to communicate. We were in the same stages of life. The kids are grown, so it’s time to start reviving your passions. They were amateur musicians, who had set down their instruments and voices when the responsibilities of being working parents took over. However, like myself, they were reviving their passions in life. We shared our concert stories. I loved Larry’s story about seeing Joe Cocker in concert! Another musical legend gone too early. Time flew by quickly and it was time to enter the venue. I gave them the name of my music blog, so hopefully they will see this! ‘Hi Guys! It was great sharing music with you!’.
Jeff and I were thrilled with where we could sit. At the back of the floor, center stage. And, in chairs! Valuable location. Once again, we had great people to sit and talk to. This couple traveled all the way from Florida, just to see The Zombies! They had never been to Seattle before, so it was a perfect reason to travel. Another great aspect of attending concerts. It creates a reason to travel to new destinations, and meet new people. They were lucky to have VIP Meet and Greet tickets. I regretted not buying those tickets myself. After eyeing their special merchandise (a Zombies bag, filled with an autographed book, a CD and other items) I decided to visit the merchandise table. I don’t need another black concert t-shirt, but this was a very special tour. And I even bought a personally autographed CD. When the concert ended, I realized I had made a smart decision!
It was ShowTime, and out they walked! The show was split up into two sets. The first half was their current touring band. Rod Argent, Colin Blunstone, Jim Rodford, Steve Rodford, Tom Toomey. They performed some of their well-known hits, along with songs from their latest album ‘Still Got That Hunger’. I did not have any expectations. I recognize that they are in their 70’s, so I certainly cannot expect them to sound like they did in the 1960’s. I was floored. They sounded amazing. Colin Blunstone, at age 71, is still singing strong and crystal clear.
Hitting all the high notes and in full rhythm. And Rod Argent, also age 71, was still performing magic on the keyboards. When they performed ‘Hold Your Head Up’ (by the band Argent, post Zombies), it was a full 12 minutes of pure excellence. I couldn’t believe it! All that energy and precision. It was like time had stopped for their voices and musical abilities. I also loved what Rod said before they performed this song. It had been sung wrong this whole time. It was supposed to be sung with the words, ‘Hold Your Head Up High, Woman.’ The crowd went wild and sang along with enthusiasm. They received a long, standing ovation after the song concluded. Totally impressive.
The second set reunited all the surviving members of The Zombies, with the current touring band. Colin Blunstone, Rod Argent, Chris White and Hugh Grundy. They performed the legendary Odyssey and Oracle album. I was blown away. Many times, I found myself feeling very emotional. This was a special, once in a lifetime moment for me. And, I could tell I was not alone in feeling that way. The crowd showed so much love, respect and recognition for their lifetime of work. Initially, when they came out onstage, you noticed their age. Men in their 70’s. By the end of the concert, all you noticed was their immense talent. Pure quality, pure harmony, pure genius. They were a band that formed ahead of their time. To be honest, I had never listened to the entire Odyssey and Oracle album before this concert. Now, I can’t turn it off. I have it playing through my Bluetooth earphones right now. It’s an incredible masterpiece. A rock opera. Rolling Stone has it listed at number 100 of its “500 Greatest Albums of All Time” list. How did these young men, in their 20’s, create such a work of art?
The concert ended. They stood tall on the stage, and received several minutes of applause. Every person standing on their feet. A performance of a lifetime, that we will not see repeated. It was very emotional for me, to see these men honored and respected, after so many years. 50 years since Odyssey and The Oracle was recorded. And the age group? It was a mix of young and old. 20’s through 70’s. All sharing in giving thanks to a very legendary, groundbreaking band from the 60’s British Invasion. The Zombies.
It’s the time of the season for loving….
Susan In Seattle