IT'S 63 years and counting since The Zombies formed in that rock’n’roll hotbed St Albans – and now more than 20 since the band’s successful reunion after decades apart.

With mainstays Rod Argent and Colin Blunstone both now 78, and founding the band before the trailblazing Beatles were born, it’s very much a case of catch them while you can.

And it’s good to see the energetic band thriving, playing theatres these days rather than smaller venues like Mr Kyps in Poole where they went down a storm back in the day.

The band’s settled line-up sees late bass player Jim Rodford’s son Steve remaining on drums, with session man Tom Toomey on bass and the Dane Søren Koch on guitar since 2018.

With Blunstone’s vocals breathy as ever on the slower numbers and the elegantly coiffured Argent still a mad, genial professor on the Hammond, what was not to like about another dose of psychedelia?

But don’t assume this was just a nostalgia fest as The Zombies are still making music, with latest album Different Game dropping just last year and more new writing and recording set for this summer.

They play mostly in the States these days so it was a treat to see them back in Poole for the first time in 10 years for the opening date of their short UK tour.

Introduced by their loud American manager, the uniformly hirsute Zombies strolled into the spotlight, the slight Argent in a battered leather jacket, Blunstone in trademark jacket and scarf, Toomey in a buttoned-up maroon velvet jacket and the portly Rodford in shorts.

We started at the very beginning of their recording career 60 years ago, with It’s Alright With Me, followed by three tracks from 1965 debut album Begin Here – the regular live number, George Gershwin’s Summertime, I Want You Back Again and Sticks & Stones.

Argent, often peering at the audience like a little bird from behind his keyboards, then introduced I Love You, the composition by former bassist Chris White which was a big hit for the band People! in the USA.

New songs Different Game, which briefly sounded vaguely like A Whiter Shade Of Pale, and You Could Be My Love preceded Tell Her No, the Sam Cooke cover You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me/Bring It On Home To Me and last year’s single Dropped Reeling & Stupid.

By then they’d done 10 songs in about half an hour, but things slowed a little with four songs from the venerable 1968 album Odyssey & Oracle – Care of Cell 44, This Will Be Our Year, A Rose For Emily and, of course, Time Of The Season.

They managed to slot in another new song, Merry-Go-Round, before the epic finale of a 10-minute Hold Your Head Up which morphed into snatches of various tunes and the almost proggy solos kicked in. A standing ovation ensued.

A stirring rendition of She’s Not There completed proceedings for the band with just Argent and Blunstone remaining for the gentle oldie The Way I Feel Inside and the old pals exited stage left to great acclaim.

Support came from Americana harmony trio The Wandering Hearts, returning to Lighthouse after a sold-out headlining show in 2021.

Promoting their recently released third album Mother, the British threesome of Tara Wilcox, AJ Dean and Francesca ‘Chess’ Whiffin blend country, folk and pop into catchy, heartfelt tunes.

Maybe comparable to, say, First Aid Kit or the long-lost Civil Wars, the London-based threesome have been slowly gathering plaudits since forming back in 2015.

Their harmonies were nigh on perfect, their merging of Scarborough Fair and The Sound Of Silence a revelation and the highlight of an all-too-brief 25-minute set being their own song Letter To Myself.