Monday, May 27, 2013

CLASSIC ALBUMS LIVE: Led Zeppelin's "Houses of the Holy" (Guest Post)


"Guest blogger" 
Michelle Wilson
is at it again.
And with so
many shows and
so little time,
this hard core
rocker better get
the Led out!

Led Zeppelin's 
Houses of the Holy
King Center / Melbourne, FL (5.25.13)

(Photos: Michelle Wilson)
I’ve attended several performances of Craig Martin’s Classic Albums Live shows at the Maxwell C. King Center for the Performing Arts, and the 2013 opening night of the series will be a memorable one indeed. This time around, the master musicians tackled Led Zeppelin’s fifth studio album, Houses of the Holy, recreating the music "note for note, cut for cut." On this particular occasion, the night’s theme could be summed up in one word: LOVEFEST. There was such an outpouring of love for CAL fans on that stage that I wanted to sprint up from my front row seat and bear hug the entire band. After thanking our vets and our military men and women, lead singer Nick Hildyard cut right to the chase: “Melbourne, Florida has the best CAL fans anywhere! Thank you Melbourne — you kick ass!” And as if that wasn’t enough, bossman Craig Martin himself materialized on stage to introduce the band at the end of the first set and to thank Melbourne for ten great years, followed by a heartfelt hug from veteran drummer Rick Vatour. It was all smiles and feel-good emotions beaming out at the audience from remaining band members Dom Polito and Rob Phillips (guitar), Joe Clements (bass), Carol Hensal (keyboards), and of course, frontman Nick Hildyard.

Unlike most of the generic garbage being passed off as music today, Led Zeppelin put forth a sound that was unrivaled then and now. This was no crunchy pop band with two-and-a-half minute fluff tunes. These were dense, expressive sounds with pithy lyrics to match. The songwriting collaboration of Jimmy Page and Robert Plant produced some of the most prolific and life-changing masterpieces ever and their musical influence was and is far-reaching. Many bands will be long forgotten, but Led Zeppelin definitely is NOT one of those bands. CAL’s ever-faithful homage is one prime example.

After the band opened with a rousing rendition of “The Song Remains the Same,” they segued into a beautifully executed arrangement of my favorite Zep tune, “The Rain Song,” followed by “Over the Hills and Far Away” and “The Crunge.” (Where’s that confounded bridge?) Rounding out the rest of the album, the band continued with “Dancing Days,” “D’yer Mak’er,” and phenomenal versions of “No Quarter” and “The Ocean.”

After a short intermission, the potpourri showcase began with perennial fan faves “Dazed and Confused,” “Heartbreaker / Living Loving Maid (She’s Just a Woman),” “Whole Lotta Love” and “Moby Dick,” which Hildyard dedicated to his young children in the audience. Other highlights included “Celebration Day” and “Since I’ve Been Loving You,” one of Hildyard’s best vocal versions, as well as the dreamy “Going to California” and “Misty Mountain Hop.” CAL generally does include some deeper cuts at their shows, and this was no exception. Fans were treated to “Night Flight," “I’m Gonna Crawl” and “Hot Dog."  “How Many Times” rounded out the encore and the crowd was on its feet to applaud yet another CAL performance.

-Michelle Wilson
(May 2013)


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