REVIEW WRITTEN BY BRIAN BINGAMAN
@brianbingaman on Twitter
Led Zeppelin was one of those larger than life bands.
Exhibit A: The amount of Marshall stack amplifiers that tribute group Get the Led Out uses is so over-the-top that the stage at Sellersville Theater gets ridiculously crowded for the two, and sometimes three, people required to get that meaty, muscular guitar attack.
Such is GTLO’s following that they recently sold out four consecutive nights at the theater. If you want to see them anywhere around here, it’s strongly recommended that you order tickets at least two months in advance of the show date. So what’s all the fuss about?
1. The odds of there being another actual Led Zeppelin reunion are slim to none. Committed to moving forward as an artist, Robert Plant’s not that interested in that part of his career anymore. Truth be told, it’s probably become too physically taxing for Plant to sing a lot of those songs. On the other hand, GTLO’s Paul Sinclair — a visual dead ringer for Ian Astbury of The Cult — is a vocal dead ringer for the young Plant.
2. Several members of GTLO have ties to the area, as well as original music projects. It’s subtle and smart utilizing a top-notch Led Zeppelin tribute show as a gateway to other things that these gifted musicians are up to.
3. Get the Led Out’s attention to detail is impressive. For instance, they had two people playing blues harmonica to replicate the sound of “Led Zeppelin IV”’s “When the Levee Breaks.” They also nailed all the tricky vocal effects in songs such as, for example, “Bring It on Home” from “Led Zeppelin II.” Drummer Adam Ferraioli fearlessly nailed John Bonham’s immortal solo on “Moby Dick.” And there’s something about seeing “Whole Lotta Love” (which included the otherworldly sound of a theremin) and the hypnotic “Kashmir” performed live that gives you a new appreciation for the dense sonic textures of Led Zeppelin’s songs.
4. The group encourages “repeat offenders,” as they call their fans, by changing the set list each show. So besides obvious songs — “Stairway to Heaven,” “Good Times, Bad Times,” Dancing Days,” “Ramble On” — there’s the allure of out-of-left-field deep cuts like “Hot Dog,” “Down by the Seaside” and “Achilles Last Stand.”
However, there’s a down side to the depth of the Led Zep catalog. GTLO’s closing night set woefully underrepresented the stellar albums “Houses of the Holy” and “Led Zeppelin I.” In the time it took to plod through “Ten Years Gone,” they could’ve done both “Communication Breakdown” and “Over the Hills and Far Away.”
One of the show’s triumphant moments was an acoustic block — featuring guitarist Paul Hammond on mandolin — of “Going to California,” “The Battle of Evermore” (Diana DeSantis stepped on stage to sing the co-lead vocal part that Fairport Convention singer Sandy Denny did on the original recording) and “That’s the Way.”
I previously wrote on my blog http://talkaboutthepassionlansdale.blogspot.com that I wasn’t all that impressed with the music of Philly’s Andrew Lipke. However, his performance on keyboards with GTLO (Lipke also played guitar and other assorted instruments) opened my eyes to his talent. Lipke’s virtuoso performance included the clavinet part on “Custard Pie,” piano on “Fool in the Rain” and organ on “Thank You.”
A peculiar thing about the conclusion of GTLO’s Sellersville residency was the way it stumbled out of the gate. The last song in the pre-show music, Aerosmith’s “Back in the Saddle,” was at an especially loud volume, then abruptly cut off as the lights went dark, instead of being faded out. The treble-y, softer levels of Get the Led Out’s produced audio introduction got completely lost in a trainwreck of a transition.
See more at www.gtlorocks.com.