DATE: Sunday 27th November 2011
VENUE: Alban Arena, St Peters Street, St Albans, HertsCOST: £22.50 plus the usual extortionate booking fees!
OUR VERDICT: The boys come home
We’ve seen the touring Zombies many times, and the reformed Zombies (with the four original surviving members) for the Odessy & Oracle Tour a couple of times, but have never seen The Zombies on their home turf. Fifty years since their first gig, the band was back in St Albans playing to a very appreciative, sell-out crowd (which included Rod’s mum!).
This show was the touring Zombies, with Rod Argent (keyboards and vocals), Colin Blunstone (vocals), Jim Rodford (bass), Steve Rodford (drums) and we were seeing the new guitarist Tom Toomey for the first time.
The set was a mixture of old Zombie classics and many new songs from their recent CD, “Breathe Out, Breathe In” and also included some Colin Blunstone solo tracks, such as “What Becomes Of the Broken Hearted” and some Argent songs, “Hold Your Head Up”, and “God Gave Rock & Roll To You”.
Colin Blunstone’s vocals just get stronger and stronger with time, and how he holds that final note for the time he does at the end of “Say You Don’t Mind”, we’ll never know. Flawless is the way we would describe his vocal performance tonight. Rod was right at home behind his Hammond and Kurzweil organs and delivered some stellar vocals too.
A real highlight was Tom’s guitar solo at the end of Colin’s big hit “Old and Wise.” It would have given Dave Gilmour a run for his money. The Beeb can’t remember the last time he heard a better solo.
For the Odessy & Oracle tracks, the audience were really happy to see founder members Hugh Grundy and Chris White join the band on stage, and with Chris’ wife, Viv adding some excellent vocal harmonies, we let some of the O&O songs tingle our ears. It was great to see the guys back together again as a special one-off in the town where it all started fifty years ago……..
“She’s Not There” ended the main part of the night but the audience would not let The Zombies off the hook so quickly and they bade us farewell with the sultry “Summertime”, which had also been used as the main intro music to a recent BBC4 documentary about the Gershwin song.