The resurgence of all things progressive in rock, from the re-emergence of Van der Graaf Generator to the stadium-filling antics of Radiohead and Muse, has cast a new light on overlooked catalogues from bands such as The Alan Parsons Project (recently revamped and expanded in de rigueur, de luxe fashion).
Perennially underrated, yet purveyors of some of rock's most enticingly radio-friendly fare, much of their appeal is down to sometime lead singer Colin Blunstone. Now 63 years young and in fine fettle during this 10-night tour, he and his quartet of able backing players knocked out a swish 95-minute set taking in 20 of his solo tunes, with nods to his APP past, and his psychedelic heyday heading up The Zombies.
The focus was on showcasing his latest album, The Ghost of You and Me, mixing consummate singer-songwriter craft (in collaboration with Niles Krieger) and his distinctive, dulcet tones, with a good dose of melodic rock. "Turn Your Heart Around" set out the stall from the off with Colin energising the crowd with his cheery bonhomie and deft delivery. The tempo slowed on "Oxygen" but was cranked up again on a singalong rendition of the classic "What Becomes of the Broken Hearted", and the acoustic, swinging Sixties feel of "Caroline Goodbye".
The title track to Colin's new opus retained the momentum, before the soporific splendour of "Feels Like Rain", though "Say You Don't Mind" was a rather anticlimactic end to the first half. On their return, the band launched into the martial-toned piano rocker "Wonderful" (which Colin's vocal was) and the gospel-tinged "Beginning/Keep the Curtain Closed", showcasing Keith Airey's guitar and some fine organ work à la Steve Winwood. The slow blues of "Andorra" brought things juddering to a halt, but the perky rock'n'roll of "Follow" fizzed along and led to a take on Tim Hardin's "Misty Roses", before an upbeat new cut, "Any Other Way".
A heartfelt rendition of the sweet APP show-stopper "Old and Wise" had every voice raised in unison, and a cracking heavy rock Zombie moment with a cranked-up "She's Not There" reminded us why that band's tour in April should not be missed. After taking the plaudits, Colin et al returned for a final acoustic offering of "I Don't Believe in Miracles", rounding off a heart-warming show.