Thursday, October 3, 2013

Concert Reviews

We haven't had time to write our own concert review yet ... but heard from a couple of readers who were at The Zombies / Burton Cummings Show last Friday Night at The Arcada Theatre ... including free tickets winner Steve Sarley.  

Today I thought I'd share some of their opinions regarding this incredible double bill ...  

Thanks again for the tickets! What an incredible show!   
I wrote a little story / review of the show which is attached. 
I'm not trying to steal your gig. Just appreciative of everything you do. 
Thank you - 
Steve Sarley

First of all, I’d like to thank Kent Kotal for running a contest to win tickets to the Burton Cummings / Zombies concert at the Arcada Theater in St. Charles. I was the lucky winner. I’d also like to thank the promoter, Ron Onesti, who provided the tickets to Kent. 

Kent’s interview with Burton Cummings, which was incredible work, had me totally pumped to see the show.

The show took place this past Friday night and I thought I’d share my impressions with all of Kent’s loyal readers on this incredibly fantastic website. 

First off, the night opened with a band of youngsters called “Et tu Bruce.” I don’t know how to type the accent mark over the “e” in Bruce, but it is pronounced “Broo-say.” The name comes from the fact that two of the band members have the last name of “Bruce.”  

These Brits have released four albums over there and I don’t know why they haven’t caught on here. They played for about 35 minutes and were excellent. They were definitely pop oriented and some of their songs had very catchy hooks and should have been hit singles. “Never Say Trevor” had top 40 written all over it. 

The Zombies were next to hit the stage. To be honest, I’ve never been a fan of the Zombies or Argent, a spin-off group. Damn! I really missed out. 

They played for an hour. They played their hit singles, three songs from legendary album, “Odessey and Oracle,” a couple from an album that came out a year-and-a-half ago and one from a forthcoming new album. 

Colin Blunstone is an incredible vocalist and I don’t know how he didn’t make the Rolling Stone top 100 vocalist list. His voice has gotten better with age. Rod Argent is a very underrated organ player. He can hold his own with Keith Emerson and Rick Wakeman on the keyboard, but he also is a great showman. That is odd for an organist. Argent’s voice was also strong. The Zombies put on a show that I advise all to see the next time they hit the States. 

Interestingly, both Blunstone and Argent told a number of stories and anecdotes and their speaking voices were soft and gentle. They sounded like they were telling children some bedtime stories. 

After a short intermission, during which I was fortunate enough to share a few words with Kent Kotal, Burton Cummings hit the stage of the Arcada. The guy was at the top of his game. Kent’s interview was spot on. The Guess Who and solo numbers that Cummings played sounded just like the original singles. His voice, at 65, hasn’t changed one iota from what it sounded like when the Guess Who first hit the public airwaves. 

Cummings is a good showman and moved around the stage in the manner of a much younger man. He played piano, harmonica, percussion and guitar. He tried to play his new flute but said that the instrument had a defect. This caused him to skip “Undun,” one of my favorites. 

Cummings played over 20 songs and I knew all but two.  What an incredible catalog of music this guy is responsible for. My favorites were “Laughing,” “Stand Tall,” and “Star Baby,” but everything he played was magnificent.  Cummings’ back-up band was very strong as well. 
All in all, I cannot remember ever seeing a stronger concert from top to bottom. It was great. 

A couple of things struck me about the show. I am always happy to enjoy the bands of my youth, but my fun is mixed with wistfulness as I ponder my age and the age of the performers. Argent, Blunstone and Cummings don’t have a gray hair in their collective heads. I guess that’s a tribute to Clairol or Just for Men and there’s nothing wrong with that.

I did, though, notice something when I looked toward the stage and that was the sea of white hair and bald spots that was in the theater in front of me. Lastly, when Cummings did “These Eyes” at the end of his set, he raised his right hand over his head and swung it widely to the left and right to the tempo of the song. Of course, the audience followed along. I looked to my left about 10 rows in front of me and saw a fan holding his cane up over his head and swaying it back and forth. Oh, to be young again!

-- Steve Sarley

Kent -
What an excellent show! The only thing I could have changed was to omit having the supporting group for the Zombies "Et Tu Bruce" playing ... just not my cup of tea. I would have liked the Zombies and Burton to play a bit more. The Zombies to play a bit of their b sides or a few more cuts from the "Odessey and Oracle" album and Burton to play Rain Dance, Dancin Fool and some deep album cuts.
The Zombies never disappoint!  With original singer Colin Blunstone and organist Rod Argent they sounded as fresh as they did 49 years ago. Their song "Breathe Out, Breathe In" from their new CD of the same name was terrific. If that song is any indication of the CD, it will be on my Christmas list!! I am so glad that "these Zombies never die"What can I say about Burton?  He just keeps rockin! I just wish his flute was in tune so we could have heard Undun". But besides that, this was one of his typical shows of giving the crowd the hits plus some surprises like "Louie, Louie".  No one plays rock and roll piano like Burton!What a double bill Thank you Ron!  (Now how about Lou Christie / Lesley Gore / Kenny Vance and the Planetones triple bill?????????)  

Great night with my wife Jeanette and our friends Vic and Judy. The audience was awesome in their gratitude for the great music these performers provided. Good to see Stuart, Mike and, of course, you, kk ... and thank you for keepin the music alive!  
This old rocker may be down (sciatica) but he is not out!!
Mike De Martino
President of the Lovejoy Music Club