BY JOHN B. MOORE
After an hour-plus set playing songs from their latest album as well as a handful of hits with the odd cover thrown in (including a solid pop rock take on Smokey Robinson’s “You Really Got a Hold on Me”), British psychedelic pop legends The Zombies gave the nearly-packed Keswick Theatre here what most fans have been waiting decades for – all original members playing through every song off the classic (and this is not simply music writer superlative bullshit, but a justifiable use of the term “classic”) album, Odessey & Oracle.
“We’ve waited 48 years to be able to do this,” said singer Colin Blunstone, to an enthusiastic crowd of aging Boomers and Gen X-ers. [Blunstone and Argent are currently interviewed HERE at Blurt, incidentally. –Siteposts Ed.] The average age of the band members on stage – which also included Rod Argent (keyboards & vocals), Chris White (bass & vocals) and Hugh Grundy (drums) – may have been early seventies, but the band was amazingly solid. The vocals from Blunstone, Argent and White (who sang “Butcher’s Tale”) sound nearly as crisp now as they did when the record first came out 50 years ago. If anyone has seen The Rolling Stones or The Who over the past decade, neither of those other British Invasion bands can make that claim nowadays.
Given the nearly five deades that have passed since Odessey & Oracle was first released, you’d be forgiven for forgetting just how seminal that album is. Boasting songs like “This Will Be Our Year” and “Time of the Season,” it stands right next to The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds as one of the best Psychedelic Pop albums ever released.
“We recorded the album in 1967, it was released in 1968, so technically the 50th anniversary is not for a couple of years,” said Blunstone, before launching into the first song off that album “…but I think it’s better that we get on with it.”
Though clocking in at just over a half hour, the band received nearly rapturous praise from the audience as they played through the album, song by song, in its original order.
The Keswick Theatre, in the Philadelphia suburbs was one of the first places in the U.S. The Zombies played when they initially reformed in 2004. “This place brings back so many wonderful memories,” said Blunstone, looking around the nearly 100 year-old venue.
While the four original members of The Zombies played the Odessey & Oracle set, the first half of the show included original members Blunstone and Argent playing alongside current Zombies Tom Toomey, Darian Sahanaja, Jim and Steve Rodford and Viv White.
Photo via the band’s Facebook page.