Saturday At The Movies: The Zombies Live At Metropolis Studios, London

I learned a lot during my university years. How to write a really good essay…how to navigate the waters of women…and how to open my ears even further to sounds I’d never really listened to before. In high school, I was pretty open-minded about music. Play me something and I’d listen to it. When I hit university, the floodgates were wide open. It’s where I fell in love with the music of The Beach Boys, where they went from being golden oldies to revolutionaries. And it’s where I discovered a band called The Zombies and their masterpiece, Odessey and Oracle. Maybe you’ve heard it, but in all likelihood, you haven’t, even if you do know that albums classic single, Time Of The Season.

The Zombies are one of those bands I come back to every so often, usually to listen to Odessey and Oracle, an album that, to many ears, is on par with Pet Sounds and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. It had been a while mind you, when I found a copy of the band’s new live concert film on DVD in the Biff Bam Pop mailbox. 50 years on from their debut, I was keen to see what principal members Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent were sounding like.

Find out for yourself after the jump!
Keyboardist Argent and lead vocalist Blunstone are the only original members still part of The Zombies, but judging by the performance recorded for Live At Metropolis Studios, London, you wouldn’t know it. This line-up, which also features bassist Jim Rodford, his son Steve on drums and Tom Toomey on guitar, have been playing together the last few years and gel well. Amazingly, both Argent and Blunstone, who are each close to 70 years old, look a decade younger and sound eerily like how they did back in the 60’s.

Filmed in HD at Metropolis Studios in front of 120 fans, the gig is the definition of intimate. Though the crowd appears every so often throughout the film, the cameras spend most of their time on the band members, who travel through time from their earliest songs (She’s Not There) to works in progress. Along the way, a healthy amount of Odessey and Oracle is performed, including gorgeous takes on A Rose For Emily, Care of Cell 44 and Beechwood Park. The band hits a few covers, such as What Becomes A Broken Heart and Gershwin’s Summertime, and also finds time for Argent’s Hold Your Head Up, a cigarette lighter anthem if there ever was one.

At the end of the DVD, I was left thinking two things. The first, how much I still enjoy The Zombies and their music, all these years later. It’s pretty timeless stuff. The second – that I really want to see these guys live. I’m fairly certain you can’t ask for anything more from a concert film.

You can order The Zombies Live At Metropolis Studios, London here. You can also check out similar sets from Van Der Graff Generator and Bill Nelson in the Live At Metropolis Studios series. 

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