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Governor Hindmarsh Hotel, Thu 23 Nov.
The Led Zeppelin Experience arrives at The Gov this evening, promising to bring the best of the classic rock band’s music and swagger to Adelaide. Hopes are high for some good fun being had.
It’s a strong start; Immigrant Song and Heartbreaker are presented with power and skill. With such a strong body of work from which to select, there’s not going to be much filler tonight. The second song features the first Jimmy Page-style solo of the evening, to much whooping. All the components of Led Zeppelin’s music seem to be there. Nathan Carroll’s drums are big and meaty, Chad McMurray plays great bass along with occasional keyboards and mandolin, and Byran Christiansen has demonstrated from the outset that, while there is only one Jimmy Page, he’s doing a damn fine job of channelling the magic. One could say the same for singer Michael Anderson, who is also making a decent fist of recreating one of rock music’s most distinctive voices.
Black Dog comes next, before the intro to Over The Hills And Far Away provides a momentary moment of restraint.
This is an interesting show. Some tribute acts replicate their subject’s entire presence throughout the performance: costumes, video, cod accents etc. Others turn up in their own outfits, go by their real names, and simply play the songs. These guys fall somewhere a little closer to the former than the latter. They certainly do justice to the music; faithfully recreating the sound and vibe of Led Zeppelin. They dress in the appropriate way. There are smoke and wind machines. But, between songs, they make no bones about being from Seattle and use their own names. Anderson tells the audience that they are all about celebrating the music of Led Zeppelin. They just want to keep the music alive. It works.
Good Times Bad Times and an epic Dazed And Confused, complete with guitar-played-with-bow solo, round out the first set.
The audience is a most diverse mix. Granted, it is mainly made up of middle-aged men, but there are people here of all ages, and there’s a decent-sized female presence. There is also a pervading sense of happiness. It’s a measure of the enduring appeal of the (original) band.
The second set begins with a couple of quieter moments. The band sits for the bluegrassy Bron-Y-Aur Stomp and Going To California before returning to more familiar territory. The classics keep on coming. Moby Dick features the drum solo in all its glory while the double-necked guitar is brought out for that song. You know the one. A couple of lighters flicker in the crowd.
Great versions of Whole Lotta Love (featuring a theremin solo) and Kashmir finish the show and send folks home happy. The band promises to see us next year. Everyone’s expectations, it seems, have been met.
Photo courtesy David Robinson