The Zombies - Mardi Gras Casino, Hallandale - April 8
The Zombies were once one of the most underrated groups of the British Invasion. However, time has been good to the band. As founding member, keyboardist, and composer Rod Argent proudly pointed out during the band's set last night at the Mardi Gras Casino, its legend and music has been much extolled in recent times by the likes of Tom Petty, Dave Grohl, and Paul Weller.
While the Zombies have found a few gilded champions, the band has always held a special place in the hearts of Invasion aficionados, and the brilliance of its output remains difficult to overstate, as anyone who has spent some quality time with the band's 1968 album, Odessy and Oracle, can attest.
2014's version of the the Zombies -- with key members Argent and iconic frontman Colin Blunstone intact -- performed to a capacity crowd last night in Hallandale Beach.
There is a certain caveat to seeing aging artists perform, a haunting anxiety cast by the implausibility that any of them can live up to the meet the myth their music has spun. The venue of choice -- a stage set at the foot of a dog track nestled in the backyard of a casino -- only further fueled our apprehension that we were in for a night of disappointment, and that this piece would have more to do with paying respects than enjoying a show. How very wrong we were.
As the crowd bustled about in the track's grandstands and folding chairs, the Zombies began their set with a revelation in that Colin Blunstone, now in his 69th year, has inexplicably honed the voice that provided the breathy, velveteen coos of the band's classics into a a powerful, controlled belt.
Every note Blunstone sang was confidently put in its rightful place with just the right amount of British charm and a dash of unexpected swagger. The wandering, psych-kissed soul of "I Want You Back Again" was a supreme display of vocal perfection. Blunstone wailed the song's choruses over harmonies that may as well have been auto-tuned, and the song's deft piano explorations had the crowd positively spellbound.