Performing Arts
© Mike Keenan

The Zombies Rock!
Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino, Niagara Falls, New York

by Mike Keenan

Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino
Courtesy of Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino

The place was literally rocking on my first trip to Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino Bear's Den to take in a performance by The Zombies, one of my all-time favourite English rock bands formed in 1962 in St. Albans and led by Rod Argent (piano, organ and vocals), Colin Blunstone (vocals), assisted by Paul Atkinson and Hugh Grundy on drums and guitar.

This group, that dabbled in jazz and rhythm and blues, is known mainly for 1964's "She's Not There," "Tell Her No" in 1965 and "Time of the Season" in 1969, all of which they performed this night to the absolute glee of a thunderous full house. Their 1968 album Odessey and Oracle is ranked number 100 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

The Zombies were in great form and held the stage for close to two hours, belting out many new songs from their next album as well as the aforementioned oldies but goldies, and everyone thoroughly enjoyed the mix.

The Zombies were part of the "British invasion" that met success in the USA. Their mix of jazz and Colin Blunstone's superb vocals helped them to become distinct amongst the British rock music scene which was so well received across the pond. They described their experience in New York City, often doing six shows a day while in their early 20's, and accompanying other future greats on stage.

Following their split, Rob Argent formed his own group called Argent in 1968 with Chris White joining him as principal songwriter. While Colin Blunstone embarked on a solo career, Paul Atkinson and Hugh Grundy stepped out of the spotlight working behind the scenes with Columbia Records.

In 1990 the band briefly reformed with Blunstone, Grundy and White to record the 1991 album "New World" alongside Argent and Atkinson and featured several guests on guitar. In 1997 The Zombies released their ultimate greatest hits compilation "Zombie Heaven" featuring a staggering 120 tracks which included some previously unreleased material.

Tonight, lead vocalist, Colin Blunstone and his mates were amazing considering the age of the principal performers. His voice remains magical as is the Zombies' sound thanks to Rod Argent's keyboard playing, incredible to behold. Argent's organ solo in "Time of the Season" is nothing short of thrilling.

"Hold Your Head Up" was met enthusiastically by the audience especially after we were told that the next word was "woman" which is often not sung correctly. "Summertime" was another gem that was well received.

The first song "I Love You" was a terrific start, and towards the end of the set, a "New York" tune, thanking the city for their start, was a nice touch. The stories between songs by Argent and Blunstone were informative and enriching. Colin jokingly described himself as the first 19-year-old real zombie!

I never imagined I'd get the chance to see the Zombies live especially with most original members! They are seasoned professionals who know precisely how to entertain a crowd and they play with great precision, enthusiasm and energy, absorbing a multitude of influences.

They appreciated the audience's warm response and the gig translated into a memorable evening with enchanting music greeted by hand-clapping passion. Seeing them perform live is truly a wonderful experience.


The Zombies, photo by Mike Keenan The Zombies, photo by Mike Keenan The Zombies, photo by Mike Keenan

The Zombies   The Zombies, photo by Mike Keenan   The Zombies

The Zombies

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