The Zombies at the Variety Playhouse
Figured I would throw out an interesting (at least by my assessment) story. As many of my friends, family, students, pets, foes, etc. are aware, I am a VERY big fan of The Zombies. If you are not immediately familiar with the group, they are best known for their 60’s era hit songs “She’s Not There” and “Time of the Season.” Anyway, they have been on my list of bands to see before I or they die. I am stoked to say that I got to catch them a week ago at the Variety Playhouse, but the story how I got to go is pretty cool. . . so here it is:
One of my students’ car broke down on him the Sunday before the show. While he was waiting to get said vehicle repaired, he decided to drop into a record store and wound up buying a record player. I don’t know if this was in part a result of a long-winded diatribe on my part about the atrocious mastering practices of modern recordings and how vinyl presses tend to have more dynamics than digital recordings. I would like to think so, but that might seem big-headed. In short, digital formats can handle certain frequencies better than vinyl which has resulted in what is referred to as the loudness war, where recordings are mastered to be as continually loud as possible. This ruins all of the dynamics in the music, but according to some research guy. . . sells more records. Because vinyl cannot handle these maximized masters, albums in this format are often mixed differently; that is, with dynamics. Recordings with some soul. . . imagine that? I digress. Sorry for nerding out.
The day after Student X’s car broke down, we met for a lesson where he told me of his purchase and showed me his extensive new record collection. During the conversation, I was asked what was the one album that he absolutely had to own. I promptly responded with The Zombies’ Odessey and Oracle. <—- (that’s how it’s spelled, check the link for the full story)
Important Plot Point: Student X did not know who The Zombies were until this conversation.
The happenings behind this album and how “Time of the Season” became such a hit is one of rock and roll’s more bizarre stories. Seriously, if you like The Beatles’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds, check it out. It is the best album from the 60’s that you’ve never heard.
That Wednesday, Student X called me up all excited and said that The Zombies would be at the Variety Playhouse that Friday, of which I was totally unaware. So. . . if his car had not broken down, he wouldn’t have bought the record player. And. . . . .our conversation (which was probably more me talking about how great I think The Zombies are than an actual conversation) would never have happened. Thus, he would have totally overlooked the e-mail he received from Ticketmaster. I have never been so happy to know that someone’s car left them afoot.
The show was great. Where most tenors lose their voice with age, Colin still sings like an angel at 70. Ron still kills it on the keys too. My favorite part of the show was their closing performance of “Summertime” by George Gershwin. I have never been a huge fan of that song, but they freakin’ knocked it out of the park. It was one of those uncommon moments in life where you know you are seeing something genuinely special. . . . . . . Then I found five bucks.
That’s pretty much it. I thought it was a cool story; though, I apologize if it was a little errant at times. If you didn’t like it, I hope maybe the five bucks part made it more exciting.
P.S. – The Zombies rule.