The Zombies CD/DVD package Recorded Live in Concert at Metropolis Studios, London opens with an explosive “I Love You”, the May 1968 Top 15 hit from People, a group which featured lead John Tristao, now with CCR – Creedence Clearwater Revisited. Original Zombies bassist Chris White wrote “I Love You” and the Zombies rendition immediately grabs attention with its mesmerizing guitar line and eternal sentiment. It’s a great opening to a sensational concert, a sterling set of Zombies classics that grace this double disc tucked inside a gorgeous package that folds out with photos of vocalist Colin Blunstone and keyboardist Rod Argent
Recorded on the birthday of David Bowie and Elvis Presley, January 8, 2011, what is striking is that had this selection of songs been released in the heyday of double vinyl lps – 1976’s Bob Seger Live Bullet, Peter Frampton’s Frampton Comes Alive, The J Geils Band Blow Your Face Out – the Zombies would have probably ruled the world. It’s actually a huge statement on the record industry to hear this music 43 years after the release of the quintessential Odyssey & Oracle album…for, had a double-live lp been the follow-up, this could have been the monster that would have unleashed the Zombies into the mainstream in a bigger way.
Odyssey & Oracle, said to be recorded in August of 1967 contained the hit “Time of the Season” in mid-1969, about two years after being put to tape and – as legend has it – became a big hit at the insistence of Al Kooper (former Blood, Sweat & Tears founding musician who went into A & R for Columbia). As it turned out the late Paul Atkinson (Zombies’ guitarist) was also A & R for a few labels (I was fortunate to meet him twice at RCA in Los Angeles)…and the pity of it is that the guys’ talents were better suited on the stage, not behind the scene.
So what we have here, ladies and gents, is an amalgam of British rock sounds that bridge the gap between Kaleidoscope U.K. / Fairfield Parlour,
Procol Harum and Denny Laine’s original Moody Blues. Argent’s heavy piano lines and organ flourishes build, weave, excite and are the perfect ambient balance to Bluntstone’s distinctive voice. That Colin Blunstone hit with Laine’s “Say You Don’t Mind” and Dave Stewart’s rendition of the Motown classic “What Becomes of the Broken Hearted” as well as Russ Ballard of Argent fame’s “I Don’t Believe In Miracles” is an excellent reason to include them here, along with Argent’s classic “Hold Your Head Up.” It’s a greatest hits live package, for sure and with timing being everything, we can enjoy it now for what it is, a sublime release from a veteran duo who should have been as popular as they are influential. Tracks 5 – 8 (“Any Other Way”, “A Rose For Emily”, “Care of Cell 44” and “This Will Be Our Year”) truly provide that Harum/early Moody Blues mix to a wonderful effect.
“Whenever You’re Ready” follows “Time of the Season” and it sounds like the group was listening to Spanky & Our Gang – a perfect song for Spanky to record in these new times, actually. It’s a wonderful package that re-establishes how important the music of the Zombies is to the world. Joe Viglione
From the publicity sheet sent:
Set List: I Love You / Can’t Nobody Love You / Mystified / What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted / Any Other Way / A Rose For Emily / Care Of Cell 44 / This Will Be Our Year / Beechwood Park / I Want Her, She Wants Me / Time Of The Season / Whenever You’re Ready / Tell Her No / I Do Believe / Say You Don’t Mind / Hold Your Head Up / I Don’t Believe In Miracles / She’s Not There / Summertime
Live At Metropolis Studios, London, is a series of 6 concerts recorded in 2010/2011 at the famed Metropolis Studios in West London, featuring Van Der Graaf Generator, The Zombies, Bill Nelson, John Lees’ Barclay James Harvest, Caravan, and Roy Harper.
Each of these legendary acts performed in front of a small audience in a unique and ambient setting, resulting in a spectacular collection of concerts filmed in HD and recorded in 5.1 Surround Sound. Each concert in the series will be released on CD/DVD* in summer 2012.
(*Due to extended running times, the Bill Nelson & Van Der Graaf Generator releases will include two CDs.)
The first three concerts in the series will be released on August 7, featuring Van Der Graaf Generator, The Zombies, and Bill Nelson.
The second installment, featuring Caravan, John Lees’ Barclay James Harvest, and Roy Harper, is slated for Fall 2012 release.
Joe Viglione is the Chief Film Critic at TMRZoo.com. He was a film critic for Al Aronowitz’s The Blacklisted Journal, has written thousands of reviews and biographies for AllMovie.com, Allmusic.com and produces and hosts Visual Radio. Visual Radio is a fifteen year old variety show on cable TV which has interviewed John Lennon’s Uncle Charlie, Margaret Cho, Ray Manzarek, John Densmore, Felix Cavaliere, Marty Balin, Bill Press and hundreds of other personalities.