Bruce Sudano - I must admit I had not heard of Mr. Sudano until now, but he has been a force as a songwriter for a long time. Oh, and he also had a very famous and talented wife, Donna Summer. Tonight he showed off some lovely original songs which he strummed on acoustic guitar along with one guitarist with him, who did an exemplary job of adding tasty acoustic leads and slide moves. Style wise it was more assertive folk than folk rock and there was some soulful blues moves in some of the songs, too. His best story was when he was writing a song, 'Starting Over Again' about his parents divorce that his wife had him add some lyrics. She then liked it so much she took it with her to perform on Johnny Carson rather than do a number from her album that she was to promote. Dolly Parton heard it, negotiated for it, and had a number one single with it. Reba McIntyre recorded it as well. Good solid set, nice songs, and the two guitar lineup had enough 'oomph' to be a solid opener for a rocking set to follow.
The Zombies - I have seen this reborn version of the Zombies many times now in clubs all over the metro area. Early on I found it remarkable how fit Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent were with all the magic still present in their vocals. But that was 12 years ago and the fact that I can still say this, is nothing less than astounding. What better way to prove it, then by opening with 'I Love You' to show off the four-man harmonies before allowing Colin to belt out 'and I don't know what to say' with all the power and finesse that we heard 50 years ago still fully intact. Rod Argent's keyboard work was amazing from early on all the way through the rocking encore. The Solomon Burke song 'Can't Nobody Love You' showed off his jazzy side, which along with his classical style, makes its way into many of the pop and rock tunes (as he described in a very fun interview I had with him a few weeks back). The father and son rhythm section has been there for years now and Rod and Jim are cousins and go back to the early days and were together in Argent. Tom Toomey fits in well on guitar with subtle backing and bold solos when required. And of course, a great set list with early singles, strong vibrant new material, sharp covers, Argent songs, and a nice song suite from the brilliant 'Odessey and Oracle' makes for a fabulous evening. I normally say try to catch these veteran acts while you can because age will take its toll. But for a band that has been around nearly 55 years now, who knows when it will end? They simply don't stop recording and tour pretty hard and far. Long may the run, as this music is some of the most inclusive and diverse in all of modern pop rock history.
Photo grab of the night: Although Rod Argent is far less reliant on synthesizers than most keyboardists, this photo of one of the earliest Moog synthesizers from 1970 may offer a good reason for it.