By MIKE CHAIKEN
In an interview with the Observer, singer Bruce Lamont said the music of Led Zeppelin is the classical music of the future.
And given the performance last Friday at the Toyota Oakdale Theater, the lead singer of Led Zeppelin 2 is right.
Led Zeppelin 2 and headliners, the Australian Pink Floyd Show, made it abundantly clear the music of both Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd transcend the bands themselves. Simply put, fans of the music do not need the original musicians to enjoy the compositions of these icons of classic rock.
If you think about it, both acts are following a long musical tradition.
Ludwig von Beethoven was not only a composer in his day but a conductor, guiding the musicians in his orchestra. However, his music did not die off when he did. Orchestras still perform Beethoven’s music regularly and try to do so in keeping with the musical wishes of the composer in his sheet music.
Orchestras are essentially tribute bands.
Both Aussie Floyd and Led Zep 2 did an awesome job of approaching the music of Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin. They gave the audiences what they wanted to hear and how they wanted to hear it.
Were the performances exact duplicates of the recorded efforts of Pink Floyd and Led Zep?
Lamont said in his interview Led Zep 2 like to have fun with the music rather than offer up sterile note-for-note reproductions. And if some of the notes weren’t right on target, that’s fine. It offered the audience a lively performance that earned the band several standing ovations during the course of their set. (The group members are definitely masterful musicians. There aren’t many musicians who can play a guitar with a violin bow as Jimmy Page did. But Paul Kamp of Led Zep 2 did so with great skill, again earning vigorous applause from fans.)
Aussie Floyd also worked the same nuances as the real deal. The guitar sounds were right. The keyboard sounds were right. But the vocals differed. And they used two guitarists and several vocalists – as well as a saxophonist in a bowler hat. But, it was still clearly the music of Pink Floyd. The audience went wild the moment they recognized the first few notes of each song.
It was interesting that in the case of both Led Zep 2 and Aussie Floyd, the performers often were backlit or in the shadows. The focus for Aussie Floyd was the video screen behind the band, the laser lights, and inflatable beasts that arose from beneath the stage. In Led Zeppelin 2’s case, the lights and costumes also served as more important characters than the identity of the musicians.
This wasn’t about the personnel. This was all about the music.
During Led Zep 2’s set, fans not only got to hear the familiar such as “Rock and Roll” and “Stairway to Heaven” but some lesser known gems such as “Nobody’s Fault But Mine.” You could hear plenty of “Oh yeahs!” as the riffs went flying.
Aussie Floyd focused on the better known compositions such as “Another Brick in the Wall” and “Money,” and many of the Pink Floyd staples on classic radio. The deepest they went into the catalogue was the hard driving “One of these Days” from “Meddle,” the album that set the stage for Pink Floyd’s venerable “Dark Side of the Moon.” But apart from some of the most diehard Pink Floyd fans (one fan near me was wishing for something from the obscure “Atom Heart Mother”), Aussie Floyd gave the audience its money’s worth.
By the end of the night, most of the audience was reminded of how great the music created by both Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd was.
And isn’t that the hallmark of a good orchestra… you’ve done the music justice and brought a smile to the lips of your collective audience.
I give the evening of the Australian Pink Floyd Show and Led Zeppelin 2 three and a half out of four stars.
By MIKE CHAIKEN