Friday, December 5th, 8 p.m.- Classic Albums Live takes some of the greatest albums ever created and performs them live on stage, note for note. Tonight they were posed to take on Led Zeppelin II circa 1969, one of hard rocks greatest and most influential albums.
Covering Led Zeppelin songs is how hard rock bands and musicians have honed their craft for decades; it’s almost a right of passage. The album Led Zeppelin II has had an immeasurable influence on the heavy metal music genre, particularly the song Moby Dick. In the song bassist John Paul Jones and guitarist Jimmy Page play their instrument in a drop- d blues tuning, just about every heavy metal band since has utilized a tuning that. The song was composed by Jimmy Page to showcase the drumming ability of John Bonham. John Bonham has had the reputation of one of rock n roll’s greatest drummers and it’s largely based from his performances of Moby Dick.
Classic Albums Live drummer Rick Vautour performed Moby Dick more like a live Bonham performance and not a note for note translation of the album. It was absolutely incredible! There’s no comparison to hearing this drum solo live! Now I know when Bonham performed this solo live he greatly improvised and extended the length of the solo by more than double of what was performed on the album. So Rick Vautour performed the piece the way it was meant to be performed. It was an outstanding show stopping performance! He played half the solo with his bare hands!
The Classic Albums Live line-up for this concert featured Nick Walsh on vocals. It takes a unique kind of voice to mimic Robert Plant. It’s like he’s a specialist in a way. He sounded just like Robert Plant! You didn’t even have to think about it, you just reacted; Wow! He sounds just like Robert Plant! The most settling aspect of this concert was how well Nick Walsh performed. His singing was consistently good. It really affirmed you were listening to Led Zeppelin live.
Guitarist Dom Polito was another bright spot. His most impressive moment came during an encore performance of Dazed and Confused in which he plays the electric guitar with a violin bow. That’s really difficult to do considering the guitar has a flat fret board and it’s difficult to play the middle strings. Dom Polito performed this technique near flawless. It was also fun to watch Dom Polito perform the thereminophone solo for A Whole Lotta Love. The thereminophone looks like a small box with a T.V. antenna sticking straight up. The musician plays it by moving his hands around the antenna to control the pitch and volume. It produces an eerie electronic tone; I always liked listening to it in early science fiction thrillers from the fifties. A variation of the instrument was used on the Beach Boys 1966 classic, Good Vibrations.
This was an awesome performance; Led Zeppelin is one of those bands that you always wanted to hear live but might not have had the chance. Classic Albums Live is the next best thing. The album wasn’t performed note for note but it was a nice attempt. Sometimes it’s just impossible to perfectly control the feedback during live performances. You usually don’t have that problem in a studio. Still, it was an enjoyable show and an excellent display of musicianship. A Classic Albums Live line-up means your getting great musicians.