|Classic Albums Live recreates Led Zeppelin IV.|
I'm pleased as punch to launch
my all-new "Guest Blogger" series. In the upcoming weeks
and months I will introduce a
host of exciting new writers
from all over America who
will contribute unique and
compelling stories, features
and interviews regarding the
worlds of music, books, movies, faith, fashion, politics and more.
I'm psyched to be able to offer
a platform to these writers and
I hope that my super groovy
readers also will enjoy their
work. My debut guest blogger
is New York native and rock and
roll aficionado, Michelle Wilson,
who recently "got the Led out"
in Melbourne, Florida.
Sitting in the fifth row aisle seat at
premier concert venue, the Maxwell C. King Centerfor the Performing Arts on Friday, June 22, awaiting the sold-out performance
of Led Zeppelin IV, also known as ZoSo, I reflected upon the many live concerts
I’ve experienced during my lifetime. While I was too young to attend a Led Zeppelin concert, I grew up, like many, basking in the poetic lyrics and iconic
guitar riffs of the Robert Plant/Jimmy Page combo that comprised half of this
powerhouse band along with bass player John Paul Jones and legendary drummer
John Bonham. It was their ground-breaking sound that would set the stage for
all things metal to come. Melbourne, Florida
In 2003, Classic Albums Live founder, Canadian Craig Martin, decided to bring together musicians who faithfully could recreate full albums, note for note, cut for cut, and he stumbled onto something pretty amazing. A friend of his was interviewing John Paul Jones and when he mentioned Martin’s idea to the renowned bass player, Jones incredulously replied, “Zeppelin IV — note for note? Good luck! Good bloody luck!” Nine years and multiple album performances later including Led Zeppelin I and II, Martin’s Classic Albums Live ensemble returned to Melbourne to rock the audience with a phenomenal rendition of Led Zeppelin IV, one of the world’s top-selling albums of all time, plus material from other Zep albums.
|Photo: Thomas Gerding|
Fronted by singer extraordinaire Nick Hildyard, this talented troupe of musicians also included Rick Vatour on drums, who adeptly clutched double drumsticks while channeling John Bonham during his spot-on version of “Four Sticks.” Dom Polito, on lead guitar and mandolin, evoked visions of Jimmy Page, long, curly dark hair and all, and if you closed your eyes, it was like Page was right there on the stage. Other musicians included
musical talents Shain Honkonen (guitar) and Carlia Alderman (vocals), rounding
out this cast of seasoned musicians to offer a local connection. Carlia’s
vocals on “Battle of Evermore,” along with Hildyard’s, sent shivers up my
spine. Because I was sitting in the fifth row, I was close enough to appreciate
the look of sheer euphoria on Shain’s face while he thrashed out the
ever-recognizable guitar chords to so many of these songs. Merritt Island, Florida's
Suffice it to say that ALL of these musicians were unbelievable in their own right, but without a strong “Robert Plant,” the authentic feel would have been lacking. While Hildyard does not resemble Plant physically, he certainly possesses plenty of Plant-like swagger and sex appeal with the chops to match. To say that I enjoyed this performance would be an understatement, as all the songs were incredible, but for me, the real highlights were “Rain Song,” “Ten Years Gone,” and “Since I’ve Been Loving You.” And yes, “Stairway to Heaven” was awesome, but this band’s music and message is about so much more than one song or album.
*Writers interested in contributing to my "Guest Blogger"
series can contact me directly via my personal email:
Author Christopher Long's latest book
is now available on Amazon.