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Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent

Amphitheatre, South Shields

28 June 2003

The last of the free concert season at South Shields' sea-front amphitheatre featured two of the unsung heroes of British pop — Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent, probably better known as the singer and the keyboard player of The Zombies in the 60s.

A 75-minute set saw everything from Time of the Season to She's Not There, taking in their work with Wings, Dave Stewart, Argent (the band) and The Alan Parsons Project along the way, and finishing with a rousing encore of God Gave Rock and Roll to You. Anybody with any interest in the last four decades of rock music would have recognised song after song (and, judging by the people seated near me, a common reaction was, "oh, did they do THAT?") A personal highlight was Old and Wise, from Blunstone's days with the Alan Parsons Project and one of my all-time favourite songs. Blunstone sang it beautifully and it actually brought a lump to my throat.

Argent was the star of the show for me: whether on piano or organ, he's one of rock's great keyboard players.

It's hard to find any negative comments to say about the gig. There were the inevitable problems of the free outdoor format: the noise from uninterested parts of the crowd, traffic, and random skateboarders was very annoying. But the Amphitheatre is a very nice setting; even Argent commented on how nice the setting sun was, shining on the band like a follow-spot! Blunstone's voice wasn't as great live as I know it can be on record. His beautiful tone is still there but to my ears he occasionally meandered off key. But I'm being very picky — overall, the show was excellent and the overflowing-capacity crowd seemed to agree with me. I would definitely see this duo (and their excellent backing band) again — and even pay for it next time!