The Zombies – Whelans

17 02 2008


Have been meaning to post about The Zombies’ gig in Whelans last Thusday night but haven’t had the chance. I knew the gig could go either way. I’m very wary of going to see reformed bands as they have the very strong possibility of being dreadful and ruining the nostalgic memories you have for that band. The only reformed band show that I’ve gone to that has risen beyond all expectations was when I went to see Love a few years ago in The Ambassador – a truly wonderful show but this may have been partly due to Arthur Lee’s hiring of a young band to play the part of Love rather than using original members so not sure if it really counts (I must add I did enjoy The Pixies and Television re-union gigs that I saw too though they were flawed in parts and Brian Wilson was absolutely magnificent but that doesn’t really count as a re-union).

‘Odessey & Oracle’ is a favourite of mine. A superb album packed with great concise songs, none outstaying their welcome or doing anything more than necessary. The Zombies’ were also responsible for a long list of great pop singles as well as that classic album but they’re obviously aware of the importance of that 40-year old album as they played three songs from it in one chunk towards the start of the show and another double-track chunk later on. They’re also performing the album as a complete work in London next month with a string section. Being as it was probably why most people were there, it would have been nice to have heard a bit more from it and I would have thought it would have made more sense to spread them out throughout the show. Minor quibbles, really, considering how brilliant they sounded.

What isn’t a minor quibble, though, is their guitarist’s requirement to add dreadful endless guitar solos to lots of the songs (Not the ‘Odyssey & Oracle’ material, thankfully). I know some people get off on guitar wankery but I find it dull, pointless, miserable and of no relevance to my life in absolutely any way. So when a guitarist goes for his ninth guitar solo of the night, rubbing his guitar off a mic stand or using a beer bottle, it does nothing but make me feel like reaching for my coat to catch the last bus home. It’s a shame because when they were good, they were rather awesome. Bluntstone’s voice sounded as smooth and lush as it did forty years ago and even his new song (‘Any Other Way’) was very impressive. But when they fell into the trappings of ostentaciousness, it seemed out of character with the original Zombies’ sound and all a bit unnecessary.

So, a gig of two extremes. Which kind of matches the audience that were there that night – an older crowd who didn’t get to see them first time around (They had never played Dublin before) and a younger skinnily-dressed crowd who have discovered the majesty in ‘Odyssey & Oracle’. I’m still glad I went, though, because the high points were as great as you could have hoped for.




2 responses

20 02 2008

Sounds like a nice show. Haven’t really heard too much of the band. Anyway, I was just browsing through blogs and noticed yours. Good stuff. You write some solid posts.

Keep up the good work.

20 02 2008

Thanks for the kind words, Nick.

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