The Zombies at Charleston Music Hall (Photos + Recap)

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    Rank: Crisp Air
    Points: 83.75

    The Zombies at Charleston Music Hall (Photos + Recap)
    Published: April 9, 2024

    The Zombies at Charleston Music Hall. Photo by Joseph Neinstedt ( @joel8x).

    On Tuesday, April 2nd the Charleston Music Hall hosted the English, Rock and Roll Hall of Famers, The Zombies, who graciously dropped in the Lowcountry on their North American run. My evening consisted of a superior view from the fourth row, accommodated by some friends at the locally beloved venue.

    Original members including Colin Blunstone (vocals) and founding keyboardist Rod Argent (also lead and backing vocals) are trekking this tour alongside Søren Koch (bass), Tom Toomey (guitar), and Steve Rodford (drums). 

    After the band split in ‘67, the remaining [sometimes active] original surviving lineup includes Chris White (bass) and Hugh Grundy (drums), both known to have jumped in on some of the band’s recent tours.

    An almost sold-out show, the scarlet theater seats were primarily filled with long-time fans. With the exception of some younger folks, like myself, who were witnessing the legendary band for the first time.

    The Zombies at Charleston Music Hall. Photo by Joseph Neinstedt (@joel8x).

    It was dazing to observe the boomers (specifically the non-squares of the generation) who were in all likelihood listening to The Zombies when they exploded onto the scene in the mid-60s. 

    My experience was consumingly surreal, as an avid admirer of the music that overtook this historic period – a period that’s shaped our most monumental references to rock music as a whole.

    Wendy Colonna

    The night embarked with the Americana artist from Louisiana Wendy Colonna, who was touring  with the ensemble for a total of six nights along the East Coast. 

    Colonna played an assortment of originals, heavily including tracks from her older discography, and closed with the eerie-twanged single “Nothin Gonna Take My Love”. 

    Not an artist I’d expect to join a band like The Zombies, but a testament to their evolution and ability to dip into a melting pot of various genres while also supporting smaller artists.

    The Zombies

    Rod Argent of the Zombies at Charleston Music Hall. Photo by Joseph Neinstedt (@joel8x).

    The Zombies remain a staple of the pivotal movement of rock and roll that emerged from the UK in the early to late 60s. Included under tapestries with other electric wizards that evolved during that time in England; The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, The Who, etc. 

    When I listen to The Zombies, I’m drawn to Rod Argent’s honey-wrapped, dextrous craft on the keys. The live experience exceeded all my prog-centric expectations. 

    This is the guy who recorded on Lennon’s Mellotron at Abbey Road immediately after The Beatles finished recording Sgt. Pepper

    Rod Argent of the Zombies at Charleston Music Hall. Photo by Joseph Neinstedt (@joel8x).

    Argent stood the entire performance, panning the audience in a euphoric haze. He rarely glanced at his instruments and didn’t miss a beat.  

    All of these cats are in their mid-late 70s and if it weren’t for the gray hair, you’d have no idea. The performance from start to finish was seamlessly carried out, with occasional prefaces to select songs. I was captivated by their crystal clear connection with the audience – their eyes speaking for themselves. They took in every moment, and the crowd followed their lead without question. 

    True to their Roots

    Søren Koch of the Zombies at Charleston Music Hall. Photo by Joseph Neinstedt (@joel8x).

    The band stayed true to their roots – most dressed casually in a cool leather jacket and jeans. Bassist Søren Koch was draped in quintessential English attire; a paisley ascot paired with a brown velvet blazer. 

    They started off the set with some of their biggest hits like “Summertime” and “Time of The Season”, while the crowd sang along to every lyric. It didn’t take long for the nostalgic groupies to get out of their seats and dance in front of the elevated stage. Their husbands remained seated. 

    Blunstone often put his hand on his heart throughout the performance and had a certain mellow presence that felt so authentically humble. I could feel the wisdom and pure love for the music radiating from the stage, and it seeped into every inch of the auditorium. 

    The Zombies at Charleston Music Hall. Photo by Joseph Neinstedt (@joel8x).

    There’s something mystical about seeing a group that’s been around for this long, that doesn’t tour often. The thought of it being the last or only time to see a band of this caliber live makes for a more engaging experience.. The crowd was locked in with this unspoken recognition. 

    Colin Blunstone led the talking points throughout the band’s set, introducing Argent’s 1971 “Hold Your Head Up”. Blunstone noted the direct relation of the meaning behind the track to the visibility of divine feminine liberation. 

    This was the number that prompted the standing ovations that persisted throughout the rest of their set. I was taken back into time. Each member exuded the most bona fide elements of 60s music. 

    Bona Fide 60s Rock

    The Zombies at Charleston Music Hall. Photo by Joseph Neinstedt (@joel8x).

    The humming “bums” from the callback vocals, swayed laid-back movements, and sprightly hip shakes, all exemplify this, but particularly when Søren Koch took center stage for a solo. Koch’s lips remained pursed as he paneled every corner of the audience with his headstock. The surf-rock riffs ricocheted off the bassline and sent a shockwave of thrill to the crowd. The audience couldn’t help but smile, as the sight of the group reliving the glory days was overwhelmingly sublime. 

    The band covered the well-known Beatles tune “You Really Got A Hold On Me”, alongside other famed originals like “Tell Her No” and closed out the evening with a personal favorite “She’s Not There” as winking lights appeared in the background. 

    The entire production exhibited the unalloyed genius that is The Zombies with their approachable demeanor, orchestratic aptitude, and the overpowering spirit that is their aura, which relayed their legacy – even before they played any music.

    Steve Rodford of the Zombies at Charleston Music Hall. Photo by Joseph Neinstedt (@joel8x).
    Rank: First Frost
    Points: 126

    Great article SG! Yea it truly was a magical evening. I kept remarking on how incredible their song catalog is.. timeless hits, one after the other. Great stories and insights into the songs meanings and place on the charts etc. I felt like a kid again.

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