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Sun Times Feature Story

Tuesday Night Rock 'N' Roll Show Puts Mardi Gras In The Entertainment Spotlight

• Recently appearing at the Grandstand was a group that began in England over 50 years ago as the Zombies.

By Larry Blustein

   While many other entertainment destinations have been boasting about their lineup of guests that will be appearing, it would be hard to compete with what Mardi Gras Casino has been offering.

   In a world of big name bands and entertainers that flock to several south Florida destinations with a high price tag to watch and enjoy, Mardi Gras has offered up a Tuesday night special - each month - that has really been impressive.

    Most recently appearing at the Grandstand was a group that began in England over 50 years ago as the Zombies. What began in 1962 with Colin Bluestone, Rod Argent, Paul Atkinson, Chris White and Hugh Grundy - has endured changes along the way as Argent and Bluestone - remain the only originals.

    From "She's Not There" to "Tell Her No", "Time of the Season" and "Going Out of my Head", the Zombies created a music of a generation that had hundreds of concert goers dancing on Apr. 8th at Mardi Gras.

   The Tuesday night lineup of stars of the past has really been a niche' that other venues have tried, but this one has remained on top of and created quite a following.

   "We have been coming here since they began these things," said Ira Rosenfeld of Hollywood. "I am 61, so I grew up during an era where these bands were all very popular. I have had the chance to see many of them when I was younger and they were just starting out."

   Wayne Matthews of Hallandale Beach is one of those who has taken in a number of Tuesday night events in the past. He brought his girlfriend out to see the Zombies, but talked about having the chance to see a group that he grew up listening to - recently as well.

   Back during the summer, Matthews and some friends back home went to see tyne Atlantic Rhythm Section, a group that had come from the same Georgia town (Doraville) that he had grown up in.

   "As kids, we idolized Paul Goddard and the way he played bass," Matthews recalled. "To come here and see them again almost 40 years later is really a trip. These concerts are indeed very special to have."

   The Mardi Gras events have attracted some of the bands that  many of us grew up with. While the times have changed, some groups have remained timeless - such as the Lovin' Spoonful, Grass Roots, Marshall Tucker Band, The Association, Jay and the Americans, Firefall and the Manhattans.

    Having the events at the beginning of the week gives many an option during weekends that are usually packed with events throughout south Florida. So, bringing in bands that were a hit 30 and 40 years ago have once again become popular.

   "To see Marshall Tucker or the Zombies some 35 years later is really going back in time," Rosenfeld said. "Brings back a little bit of nostalgia."

   While many other performers are being lined up for the coming year, expect Mardi Gras to break attendance records with the July 19th appearance of singer LeAnn Rimes and a planned visit by the Little River Band in December.