In the final scene of the "Bill & Ted" sequel, "Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey," Wyld Stallyns have saved the world and finally have the ability to rock. So during our final minutes with Alex Winter as Bill S. Preston and Keanu Reeves as Ted Theodore Logan, Kiss’ "God Gave Rock & Roll to You" plays, perfectly closing the movie.
On Friday night at the Fillmore, after being brought back out to the stage for one more song,’60s British rock icons The Zombies finished their set with that same exact song. Little did I know, all those years ago, that it was Argent (Rod Argent’s band after The Zombies) that originally made that song a hit, not Kiss. Just as it seemed to make for the perfect finale for Bogus Journey, it also seemed totally fitting to close out their set.
Most of the crowd was at least double my age, with memories of when The Zombies first had their hit with "She’s Not There." Why was there so few people younger than 40 in the room? Does no one my age realize the splendor of "Odessy & Oracle"? Even the older folks in the room were more likely to be there for the nostalgia and few well-known hits rather than 1968’s greatest musical treasure. One woman I spoke to seemed shocked when I mentioned that I strongly believe that "Odessy & Oracle" is one of the greatest albums ever. Listen to it once, and it’ll change your life.
A little less than halfway through their set, The Zombies decided to play six straight songs from their masterpiece, beginning with the outstanding opener "Care of Cell 44," which would be followed by "A Rose For Emily," "This Will Be Our Year," Beachwood Park," "I Want Her She Wants Me," and finally timeless classic "Time of the Season."
From that point, the only direction to go was down. The band introduced the crowd to a few new songs that did little to excite, as well as Argent’s biggest hit "Hold Your Head Up" before a bloated prog-heavy version of their early minor hit "Indication." Finally, they finished their set with "She’s Not There," helping us forget the portion of the set that followed the "Odessy & Oracle" section.
You never know what to expect when you go se a band this old, especially a band like The Zombies that relied so heavily on silky smooth vocals. Thankfully, Colin Blunstone’s voice is still incredibly strong, and was the force that carried the performance, especially during the duller songs. It’s not as perfect as it was 40 years ago, but it’s unfair to expect that.
Another ’60s band, The Blues Magoos opened. The Bronx-native group played an early role in the psychedelic movement, and had a hit with "Gotta Get Away" which was part of the memorable "Easy Rider" soundtrack. Their performance was more of what you’d expect from a band this age. They had fun on stage, but it failed to transcend into being much fun for the crowd. The songs hit with little impact and became hard to sit through. In the ’60s, they had the benefit of playing in front of drugged out hippies. This is why people from that era are always saying music was so much better then. Sure, they had the Beatles, Stones, Pink Floyd, and Led Zeppelin, but they were also on a massive amount of mind-altering drugs.
Photo by Jonny-Leather