24th April 2016
Back in 1964, nobody expected The Zombies to have the phenomenal success they achieved, least of all band themselves, lead singer Colin Blunstone saw it as an adventure which would be over within a few years! 50 years have passed since the band's iconic debut single She's Not There and the band are still going strong, having recently completed a USA and UK tour. Needless to say, Colin has also had success as a solo artist and as part of The Alan Parsons Project along the way. Before he heads out on the road once more with The Zombies, Colin decided to play a series of dates focussing on his solo career rounding off the eight-date tour at London's Borderline.
In recent years, The Zombies have been playing fair sized venues, so to hear the smooth vocals of Colin in an intimate setting is an absolute pleasure. The set is a whistle-stop tour of his solo career with tracks from his first solo album, One Year through to his most recent, On The Air Tonight. The decision to let the songs speak for themselves, rather than pad out valuable song time with stories meant that there was a plentiful set list, but it would have been nice to hear some more of Colin's wonderful stories too.
Russ Ballard's song I Don't Believe In Miracles and fan favourite Caroline Goodbye was early set delights, leaving the audience in no doubt that at 70 years old Colin still has the most outstanding voice. Compared to many of his peers whose voices show signs of a well-worn set of vocal chords, Colin's voice is brighter and more sonorous than ever, and he can still hit the high notes with minimal effort too. A smooth rendition of the Smokey Robinson classic Tracks Of My Tears, the rocky Turn Your Heart Around and a cover of the Billy Bragg song Levi Stubbs' Tears from the excellent Echo Bridge album were all delivered with his trademark sensitivity and passion. One his most famous solo hits Say You Don't Mind is given a jazzy makeover and finishes off a suburb first half.
The second set commenced with Wonderful, Beginning and Keep The Curtains Closed Today from 1974's Journey album. The excellent Andorra, written by former Zombie Chris White (who was in the audience) and Misty Roses also feature, offering a snapshot of a 50-year career.
There is a vulnerability to Colin's performance that you don't get with many frontmen, this is probably due to his theatrical vocal style and natural sensitivity which really comes across in Old and Wise from his collaboration with The Alan Parson's Project. Time Of The Season and She's Not There inevitably finish off this impressive back catalogue run through.
As with many veteran musicians, there is little doubt why Colin Blunstone and The Zombies are still garnishing such popularity with music fans; he is performing better than ever, the songs in his repertoire are still relevant and the music is attracting younger audiences too. A new solo album is in the offing and plenty of touring over the summer with The Zombies also goes to prove that a 50-year career in the biz is more than deserved.