There was a real family affair at the Alban Arena on January 20th.
Friends, family and fans of the late great rock musician Jim Rodford gathered at the theatre to pay tribute to a local hero.
At the side of the stage under a spotlight was a poignant reminder of the musician who had died in St Albans 12 months earlier – his bass guitar and hat.
This memorable and heart-warming show kicked off with the trio Arc, who comprise Jim’s granddaughters Anya and Cara and one of his two sons Russell.
They entertained the audience royally with a well-blended mix of their own tuneful songs and delightful ‘covers’ of hit songs including Simon and Garfunkel’s Mrs Robinson and Dolly Parton’s Jolene.
The girls reminded the audience that Jim had encouraged them to form a group and had mentored them in their early days. The sisters’ exquisite harmonies and Russ’s superb acoustic guitar playing were a joy to hear.
After the interval internationally-acclaimed rock band the Zombies took to the stage to present a superb 90 minute set of material both old and new.
The band, who included Jim in their line-up for many years, were formed way back in 1961 meeting outside the Blacksmiths Arms before their first rehearsal.
The Zombies performed early material like I Love You, You Really Got A Hold One Me and Tell Her No; tracks from their highly-rated Odyssey And Oracle album; and numbers from their most recent CD Still Got The Hunger, released in 2015.
The current Zombies, who have recently returned from an American tour, comprise Jim’s cousin Rod Argent on keyboards and vocals; Colin Blunstone on vocals, Tom Toomey on lead guitar and vocals, Seren Koch on bass and Steve Rodford (Jim’s other son) on drums. Much to the delight of the packed audience they played also their biggest hits – She’s Not There and Time Of The Season.
There were moving stories about Jim during the evening and everyone cheered when his widow Jean and other members of the family went up on stage.
The show reached a memorable climax when original Zombies’ members Chris White and Hugh Grundy joined the band for some numbers.
But there was yet another surprise to come. Two other members of Jim’s other hit band Argent – Russ Ballard and Bob Henrit – joined the current line-up of the Zombies, plus Chris and Hugh, for an uplifting and joyous version of Mr Ballard’s classic composition God Gave Rock And Roll To You.
The concert was organised to mark the anniversary of Jim’s death (January 20th, 2018).
Jim Rodford, former member of Argent, the Kinks, the Animals, the Swinging Blue Jeans, the Zombies and the Mike Cotton Sound, died after falling down the stairs at his St Albans home. He was 76.