10TH NOVEMBER 2015
The zombies started out in St Albans during the spring of 1961 and went on to have considerable success in America and the Far East as part of the British invasion. After they split in 1967 the band went their separate ways and onto other projects. They reformed in 2004 with Rod Argent's older cousin, Jim Rodford and his son Steve on bass and drums and Keith Airey on guitar (now replaced by Tom Toomey) with Colin Blunstone once again fronting the band. Since 2004 The Zombies have gone from strength to strength picking up fans all over the world including uncharted territories like Italy. They have just competed a six week tour of America and are embarking on a European tour later this month. It is obvious that these guys still have the stamina to perform vigorous tours to eager fans and have the talent and enthusiasm to show the youngsters how it's really done.
After receiving a rapturous reception the band opened a magnificent set with an edgy version of I Love You, a B side of their 1965 song Whenever You're Ready. From the get go it is clear that all at The Forum are witnessing a very special concert and in the presence of master musicians, some of the best the UK has ever produced. They are on top form. Colin Blunstone's vocals are just as recognizable as ever and he can still hit the high notes! Age has given his vocals more resonance and improved tonality. His vocals are simply magnificent and is surely the envy of singers half his age.
Rod Argent relishes in his flowery neo classical runs and is an outstanding keyboard player and writer, this is something we have always known but seeing him play live just confirms this. A fine version of I Want You Back Again follows, based on Tom Petty's cover version along with crowd favourites Moving On and Tell Her No and You Really Got A Hold Of Me, a Smokey Robinson song that was popularised by The Beatles track they recorded before The Beatles.
Interspersed between tracks is some fine raconteuring from Blunstone and Argent talking about their songs, the new album Still Got That Hunger and their seminal album Odessey and Oracle. One fascinating bit of information is about a track from the new album which is proof of the status that the band have. The song New York, from the new album features the line 'I believe in yesterday' from The Beatles song. With the album about to go on the production line in time for the release Sony, who manage The Beatles music, got wind of the line being used and stopped them from using the line, which threatened to put the whole album release in jeopardy. Luckily a few strings were pulled and contacts informed which led to Paul McCartney hearing the track and allowing the song to use the line; the first time that has ever been allowed to happen in music history, another Beatles first for the band!
Odessey and Oracle is a cult album that has brought the band much retrospective acclaim and attention in the last fifteen years. It sells more ever year on year than it did when released and is frequenty featured in top album polls and is a best loved album for Paul Weller and The Foo Fighters front man, Dave Grohl. Argent takes great pleasure in announcing that fact that Care Of Cell 44 is also Grohl's all time favorite track just before the band perform the song as the first of five tracks they perform from that album. A Rose For Emily, This Will Be Our Year, I Want Her She Wants Me and of course
Time Of The Season which brings the house down in a deafening show of appreciation. All the tracks are performed with the utmost musical precision by Rod, Colin and Jim and hearing them live just adds to the beauty of the tracks. It's little wonder that the album is so credible nearly 50 years after its release.
Colin also performs some of his solo hits, he demonstrates his powerful high register with the Russ Ballard song I don't Believe In Miracles, his versatility with a funked up Status Quoesque version of Say You Don't Mind and his ability as a songwriter with the first song he wrote, Caroline Goodbye. If you were in any doubt as to his talents this set of songs surely must have set things straight.
Of course the night wouldn't be complete without a version of Argent's Hold Your Head Up written by Chris White and complete with an immortal bass line from the legendary Jim Rodford. The extended version of the song really gave each of the band members a moment to shine and they all looked like they were having a wild time on stage. The nicest thing about watching these guys perform is their humility and reverence towards each others musicianship and they relish in the music. Not an ego in sight, a rare thing at a rock concert. The encore is an impromptu version of Gershwin's Summertime, the first song they recorded.
The Zombies put on a truly incredible show with some terrific new material that sits alongside their canon or work with ease. If you want a top quality, no frills rock show, with some of the best musicians the UK have produced, look no further than The Zombies.