GIG: The Zombies 50th Anniversary Tour
DATE: Sunday 27th November 2011
VENUE: Alban Arena, St Peters Street, St Albans, Herts
COST: £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.


GIG: Paul Merton - Work In Progress
DATE: Saturday 26th November 2011
VENUE: Old Town Hall, High Street, Hemel Hempstead
COST: £10.00 and no booking fee


GIG: Barb Jungr sings Dylan
DATE: Saturday 12th November 2011
VENUE: Old Town Hall, High Street, Hemel Hempstead, Herts
COST: £12.00 and no booking fee
OUR VERDICT: Dylan-esque

The Old Town Hall in Hemel Hempstead is a very intimate venue – seating only about 120 bods. And those 120 seats were filled with a discerning audience, who came to listen to Barb (and her pianist Jenny’s light tinkling of the ivories), share with us her personal interpretation of Dylan’s songs, and also hear some of the wonderful tales Barb shared.

Barb’s love of Dylan and her knowledge of the songs and Bob’s history shone throughout the show. Infused with a bit of jazz and blues, we were treated to Dylan’s catalogue, such as “It Ain’t Me Babe”, “Times They Are A-Changin’”, and “Blind Willie McTell”. All the songs were sung with a passion that was so evident.

At the same time, we were educated in the history of all things Dylan. Just a couple of the many educational insights were tales of Dylan’s time with Joan Baez and we learned that “Sarah” had been written as a result of going through a divorce with his wife.

Ending on “Forever Young”, the show was over, but Barb was gracious with her time after the show to meet those of the audience that waited for 10 minutes for so. We feel that Barb would be contented signing nothing but Dylan!

The Beeb met the wonderful Barb Jungr after the gig