St Albans is a city entrenched in history and for a special night, two of the former Roman city's most notable highlights came together; The Zombies and the iconic Abbey.Whilst the full band didn't play tonight, the enveloped tones of the quintet would have played havoc with the cathedrals' acoustics, the two original members Rod Argent and Colin Blunstone returned to the city where it all started back in 1961.
The concert had overtones of more recent times when Rod and Colin reunited for a one-off gig back in 2000. A few years later the band reformed with Rod's cousin, Jim Rodford on bass, his son Steve on drums and Ketith Airey and later Tom Toomey on guitar. Since then the band's success has grown year on year, frequently selling out shows in the U.K. and the US and topping the billboard chart.
No matter where in the world the band have been, there was always going to be something magical about coming back and playing on home soil, with band members, old and new in the audience and fans alike absorbing what makes The Zombies such a defining band not just of the 60s but of modern times too.
In the Abbey's West Wing the duo open with Rejoice, a rarity from the B side of the 1972 Argent track Tragedy. The set list largely follows a similar line to 2015's equally sacred surroundings at The Union Chapel, with a couple of minor song switches.
Colin's voice is as vibrant as ever, really benefiting from the acoustics of the cathedral as his voice sores through tracks like I Want You Back Again and What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted. The end of the first half closes with a string quartet joining the stage and performing some new arrangements for some of Colin's solo tracks including Misty Roses and Say You Don't Mind.
Rod opens the second half with Fiesta from the latest Zombies album, demonstrating his aptitude for jazz. The older songs still stand the test of time and the new material has already proved its worth. The second set adds in tracks from Odessey and Oracle, Care Of Cell 44, A Rose For Emily, I Want Her She Wants Me and This Will Be Our Year. The simplistic presentation of these songs only shows as a reminder of the terrific songwriting abilities of Chris White and Argent, nearly 50 years after the songs were written. Time Of The Season and I Don't Believe In Miracles showcase Colin's pin sharp vocals and captivate but a moving rendition of old and wise from his collaboration with the Alan Parsons project is particularly spectacular and resonates around the Abbey.
Another song that made them famous, She's Not There rounded off a spellbinding set and an encore of Summertime echoes around the historic building long after they have left the stage.
Even though it was billed as a 'special evening with', few could imagine that the night could have been such a momentous and emotional evening for all who were there.