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The Zombies faithfully recreate ‘Odessey and Oracle’ at The Capitol Theatre

The Zombies

By Chyrisse Tabone, Rock At Night Tampa

Venue: The Capitol Theatre, Clearwater, Florida–January 11, 2017—The Zombie’s Odessey and Oracle 50th Anniversary Tour

The Capitol Theatre was full of “groovy” people on January 11th to see the classic psych-rock band The Zombies play not only some of their hit singles but the critically acclaimed Odessey and Oracle album. The album is ranked 100 in the Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. The album was recorded in 1967 at the Abbey Road Studio, right after the Beatles recorded Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band—in fact, The Zombies used John Lennon’s Mellotron, which had been left behind in the studio. Unfortunately, by the time Odessey and Oracle was released, the band had broken up, and gone their separate ways.  What a tragedy! Why does this always happen? It made me think of my favorite band Small Faces, which had a similar experience after recording Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake.  The Odessey and Oracle produced such hits as “Time of the Season” and “This Will Be Our Year”.

Colin Blunstone

The audience at the Capitol Theatre definitely appeared to be the Baby Boomer crowd, however, it was refreshing to see a few young people dotted in the mix. The Zombies started the evening with a cover of Bo Diddly’s “Road Runner”.   Colin Blunstone, lead vocalist, came out on the stage dressed in leather and he was on fire! His voice is totally top notch,  has not lost any of its tone, and can easily rival any singer half his age.  Rod Argent was on the organ, looking very dapper, and mesmerized the audience with his magical keyboard abilities.  I remember reading that Rick Wakeman said Argent’s Hammond B3 solo in “Hold Your Head Up” (released by Argent’s own self-titled band), is the greatest organ solo of all time. Jim Rodford masterfully plucked the bass chords while son Steve kept the beat going on the drums. The talented guitarist/songwriter Tom Toomey played the lead licks with ease, and seemed to be enjoying himself.

Rod Argent

The evening continued with a mix of covers, including Burt Bacharach’s “The Look of Love” and Argent/Blunstone penned songs like the Latin-tinged, almost Santana-like song,  “Sanctuary”.  The band chatted with the audience between songs and wished a couple of folks “Happy Birthday”,  like Bernie “The Sound Man”.  The Zombies continued with songs like the rockin’ “Movin’ On”, the soulful and bluesy “Edge of the Rainbow”, and the crowd-pleaser “Tell Her No”.   Actually, throughout the concert, I was astounded by the lush harmonies of the band, which sometimes sounded like the Beachboys or even a gospel choir.

Before the band lodged into “Hold Your Head Up”, Blunstone explained to the audience that the lyrics of the song are often misheard.  People seem to think the lyrics are “Hold your head up, WOW!” or “Hold your head up, boy!”  Actually, the lyrics are “Hold your head up, WO-man!” This was a revelation to me and the first thing I thought of was “#MeToo” and all the sexual harassment scandals of the year 2017.  “Hold Your Head Up” should be THE song of female empowerment!

“Hold Your Head Up”

And if it’s bad
Don’t let it get you down, you can take it
And if it hurts
Don’t let them see you cry, you can make it

Hold your head up, woman
Hold your head up, woman
Hold your head up, woman
Hold your head high
Hold your head up, woman
Hold your head up, woman
Hold your head up, woman
Hold your head high

And if they stare
Just let them burn their eyes on you moving
And if they shout
Don’t let it change a thing that you’re doing

There was a brief intermission where most of the audience stormed the merch table to buy lots of cool t-shirts, many with art work produced by Terry Quirk. I had a nice time chatting with a fellow concert-goer named Jody who explained her pal Sandy “was a lover of Colin Blunstone in the day.”  I guess she was in the audience, reveling in the whole nostalgic experience of seeing him again.

Jim Rodford

The Zombies then played the Odessey and Oracle album, which featured wonderfully put-together graphics with lyrics (produced by Chris White’s wife).  The screen behind the band created a mesmerizing, psychedelic experience, which totally enhanced the concert experience. Everyone was truly listening and watching the show, except for a few people filming with cell phones.

Tom Toomey

Chris White played the bass and sang during this portion of the concert, and I have to say, I was captivated by his voice! The song “Butcher’s Tale (Western Front 1914)” was both eerie, disturbing, yet beautiful with his delicate voice and graphics of war. This song came out during the height of the Vietnam War and its message really fits in with the Millennial Middle East wars of today.

Other notable songs were “A Rose for Emily”, “Brief Candles”, and “This Will Be Our Year.”  The evening ended with the band introductions (there were extra back-up singers and drummer Hugh Grandy was mentioned) and finally crowd favorites “Time of the Season” and “She’s Not There”.

Photo Gallery

Listen to the whole Odessey and Oracle album

Chyrisse Tabone, Ph.D.
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About Chyrisse Tabone, Ph.D. (572 Articles)
I live and breathe music through playing, writing, and photography.

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