Stairway To Heaven - Led Zeppelin Masters - THE ZEP BOYS
THE ZEP BOYS
Stairway To Heaven - Led Zeppelin Masters @ The Sydney Opera House - 14th January 2017
January 15, 2017
Words & Pics : Matt Bartolo
What do you get when you mix a 35 piece orchestra with a well respected "covers" band from Adelaide?
One of the best rock performances that have graced the hallowed and world famous Concert Hall at the Sydney Opera House, in The Zep Boys, Led Zeppelin Masters.
The term "covers band" really didn't sit well with me on this one. To simply just "cover" Led Zeppelin is something that you would hear down at your local pub on any given night of the week, and more than likely, done poorly.
What I witnessed tonight was the ultimate tribute to arguably the most influential band in rock history.
Tonight was about the music.
Not about re-enacting Page, Plant, Jones & Bonham's stage show or persona's.
Just straight up Rock N' Roll played by an extremely talented bunch of musicians.
From lead singer Vince Contarino's screams and wails in "Black Dog" to Warwick Cheatle's perfect bass licks in "Ramble On", these guys were the real deal. Not just "wow, that sounded great" kind of real deal, but the "close your eyes and you would swear blind that you were sitting in London's Royal Albert Hall in 1969 listening to the Gods themselves" kind of real deal.
Lead guitarist Tzan Niko was truly remarkable in "Whole Lotta Love" but my personal highlight of the night had to be the mesmerizing extended drum solo by Bradley Polain during my favorite Zep song played on this setlist, "Moby Dick".
I, as the whole crowd were, was absolutely blown away by this percussion perfection. This solo inspired the first of many standing ovations.
What I enjoyed most about the performance was not their rendition of "Kashmir", "Rock N Roll" or "Immigration Song", although they were all perfect. To me, Zep has always been about more than just the classics and what you hear on commercial radio these days. Songs like "Achilles Last Stand", "Nobody's Fault But Mine", "Over The Hills And Far Away" and "No Quarter" all got a start in tonight's performance. That's the part I most enjoyed. I even enjoyed all the strange looks that were aimed in my direction from a few members of the crowd when I was singing "No Quarter" at the top of my lungs. Maybe they were jealous that they didn't know the words?
I would love to see them tackle "Since I've Been Loving You", "D'Yer Mak'er" and my favorite ever Zep song, "Gallows Pole" one day. (If you are reading this guys, please let me know if you intend on playing any of them and I will be on the next plane!)
Now you are all probably wondering why I have not yet mentioned a particular set of steps that lead to somewhere.
The well spoken rule of any form of covers band is there is a select few songs that you just don't attempt to cover. Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb", Queens's "Bohemian Rhapsody", Bowie's "Space Oddity", Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit", Skynyrd's "Free Bird" all would make that list.
But the number one on anyone's list would be "Stairway to Heaven".
In the immortal words of Wayne : "No Stairway? Denied!"
These boys not only took on Stairway, they mastered it. So much so, that the gentleman that I was standing next to was reduced to tears. He later confessed that he had not been moved by a song so much since that very same song was played, back in 1972, at the old Sydney Showgrounds, by none other than Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and John Bonham.
Whether or not that story was true or not is a mute point.
The fact of the matter was, here in front of me was a life long Zeppelin fan that was moved by what he had just heard.
And that is what tonight was all about.
All photography taken by & © Copyright of Matt Bartolo // Mattvayne Photography for Rogue Inc.
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