She's not there...

I still have that sweet kind of tired feeling from a night at the concerts.

In this case it was a double bill free concert at the Taste of Minnesota festival featuring The Zombies and Eddie Money. My sister was my accomplice, we came early and sat close drinking Sprite to combat the heat and eating popcorn well, because it was cheap.

Eddie Money was loud and in your face, doing his best to generate energy from the crowd and catch a bit of the groove that made him famous in the 80's. The mix blurred out his vocals and sometimes the distinctions between the instruments but at its best it produced that jumpin' up and down live concert feel where lights and sound and moment blend together.

The opening act, though, was actually the best. 60's British group, The Zombies, back and touring again after who knows how long, took the stage for their third concert of an American swing and it was hippie time in St. Paul at least for an hour. Now it wasn't actually the entire Zombies of those days gone by, but it was the lead singer and keyboardist, in effect the core, that came to play with a quality group of support musicians. And yes, while there were a whole bunch of folks with grey hair and tie dyed shirts in the crowd, The Zombies also played a great show for a new audience of people, like myself, who were children when they first toured.

Most folks, if they know of The Zombies at all remember a couple of songs including "Time of the Season" and "She's Not There" but their set included other popular but lesser known songs, a few from their current CD, and the hit "Hold Your Head Up" from the group Argent which emerged from the remnants of the Zombies in the 70's. But there was something else happening at the show.

I think the popularity of some of these "dinosaur' acts lies partly in their ability, by just being present, to recall what many perceive to be better times, some long ago youthful past. But for newer people the appeal seems to be bands that actually play their instruments. Its kind of a shock for kids raised on rap and shredding to see music featuring changes of tempo, musicianship, and varying volume levels. There's mood there, not just tons of faux cynical anger and posing, and vocal quality as well; words that mean things without profanity. There's a world of difference between Eminem's nasal rantings and The Zombies "A Rose for Emily's" tale of lost love and heartache. And some of the folks seemed to be getting it.

Anyway, now its Monday morning and I'm tired and making the best of my day off with a bit of the music still swirling around in my head. To whoever called me from LaCrosse during the concert I'm sorry you couldn't hear me because I had great seats by the stage but I left a message between concerts and I'll call back today.

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