Zebra Shows Their Stripes and Their Chops In Largo

By on June 8, 2021
Photo-Randy Cook

The legendary hard rocking power trio Zebra rocked the house with two shows this past weekend, June 5th & 6th, at the Central Park Performing Arts Center in Largo, FL. I do not use the term “legendary” lightly for the simple fact that this band has maintained their original member lineup dating back to 1975.

Back in 1982, their self-titled debut album was the fastest selling debut album in Atlantic Records’ history outselling other Atlantic artists such as Led Zeppelin, Yes, and AC/DC. Add in the fact that their first show here sold out so fast that a second date was added just cements the devoted cult-like following this band has achieved over the years.

Photo-Randy Cook

I attended their second show and as soon as I got settled into my seat, the energy in the room was palpable as both the audience and band members who were literally starving for live music,fed off of one another. These two shows were the first ones Zebra has played in over a year. Even with such a long layoff, there was absolutely no rust in the band’s performance, having played together for so many years has solidified the tight exactness of their live performance.

Photo-Randy Cook

Lead vocalist Randy Jackson has not lost a bit of that golden falsetto voice of his, still able to hit those notes at both ends of his octave range and do so with ease it seemed. The band launched into ‘Light of My Love’ and it was evident with the beginning of this and each song thereafter that at least one person in the crowd was hearing their favorite Zebra song with all of the dancing by the socially distanced tables and air guitars and drums.

Photo-Brian Podber

The show conjured up of days during the late 80s, popping in that debut Zebra cassette tape in my friend’s 1970 Monte Carlo and rocking out as we rolled down the highway on our way to high school.

That debut Zebra release was one of the cassettes I wore out in the 80s and eventually replaced on CD and to show its longevity to this day that song is in my current playlist.

I had seen Zebra once way back in 1992 and remember that show explicitly for both the company I was with and the location. I was not alone in my reminiscing as I noticed multiple people seem to lose themselves in the magic of both the moment and the memories of listening to Zebra back in the day. 

Photo-Randy Cook

Back to present day and the killer show I witnessed in a most intimate venue at the CPPAC in Largo. Randy is most definitely an underrated guitarist in the annals of rock and roll lore and the musical chemistry between he, Felix Hanemann on bass and Guy Gelso on drums is truly amazing. Felix pulls double duty between the keyboards/synthesizer and his bass guitar and Guy joins them both with vocals while keeping perfect rhythmic time.

Photo-Randy Cook

Musically the highlight of the show for me, and I’m sure many others, was in the encore and the perfect segue from ‘Why’ into their most recognizable and my favorite Zebra song ‘Who’s Behind the Door’. The entire crowd rose to their feet and almost as one swayed back and forth with the hypnotic opening of this song and then joined in loudly as the vocals began and gave a rousing roar of approval and thanks as the song and the show ended.

Photo-Randy Cook

Although Zebra has not released any new studio material since 2003, they have legions of loyal fans as evidenced by the size of the crowds and the reception the band received. I had a most excellent time, reminiscing while rocking out and enjoyed immensely being back with my concert going brethren.

Photo-Randy Cook

Zebra is:
Randy Jackson – Lead vocals, guitars, percussion, keyboards, synthesizer, mellotron
Felix Hanemann – Bass, strings, keyboards, synthesizer vocals
Guy Gelso – Drums, percussion, vocals

Setlist – June 6th:
When You Get There
Last Time
Light of My Love
Wait Until the Summer’s Gone
As I Said Before
My Life Has Changed
Arabian Nights
Your Mind’s Open
About to Make the Time
The La La Song
Guy Gelso Drum Solo
One More Chance
Take Your Fingers From My Hair
He’s Makin’ You the Fool
Tell Me What You Want

Who’s Behind the Door

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