The Zombies’ 1968 psych-pop masterpiece Odessey & Oracle was a commercial flop that disillusioned and dissolved the band. Then, 18 months after the group disbanded, “Time of the Season” became a worldwide hit. It wasn’t until principal Zombies Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent reunited and toured in recent years that any of the dazzling Odessey songs were performed live. The other two surviving original Zombies, Chris White and Hugh Grundy, weren’t interested in touring, but they came out of retirement to perform Odessey & Oracle live in London in celebration of the album’s 40th anniversary. The live show adds a large team of musicians and vocalists to recreate the album’s dreamy chamber-pop instrumentation and dizzying multi-track harmonies. Blunstone’s divine voice hasn’t lost an ounce of gold after 40 years, and Argent still effortlessly maneuvers his complex keyboards and vocals. White’s added vocal presence brings a significant dimension to this show beyond the recent Blunstone-Argent tours. In addition to Odessey & Oracle’s 12 songs, this concert includes early Zombies songs and some post-Zombies solo material. Those oldest Zombies cuts are impeccably executed, but the magic really starts when the set moves into a string-quintet-backed block of Blunstone’s baroque-pop solo tunes. The consistent perfection of his mature songwriting and the inspired warmth of the intricate performances add up to one of the most breathtakingly gorgeous rock concerts that ever happened. — Michael David Toth
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