A Whole Lotta Love! The Palais, Melbourne

by Jake Schatz (Schatzy)

CCEntertainment’s Annual ‘WHOLE LOTTA LOVE’ Led Zeppelin Celebration made it’s Melbourne debut on Friday the 1st of October.The well reputed show has grown to be a staple performance at Sydney’s Enmore theater each year, and it was an absolute pleasure to have the show in Melbourne on it’s 8th anniversary.
Generally speaking, tribute band’s aren’t my thing. Not in their usual sense anyway, with people dressing up like the original band members and imitating something that they are not. However, this wasn’t a typical tribute show, and the performers were certainly not trying to blatantly copy the music of the greatest rock band to ever exist. They were merely celebrating the music with combined musical brilliance, and a ‘Whole Lotta Love’ for Led Zeppelin.

It is undeniable the effect that Led Zeppelin have had, and are still having on rock music. Many of the greatest and most imitated guitar riffs have come directly out of Jimmy Page’s guitar playing. If there were ever four absolute legends of music to form a bond as a band it was Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and John Bonham. All four were absolute masters of their individual instruments, and together they created music that was godlike.

The host of incredibly diverse and talented musicians that tore up the stage at the Palais Theatre last Friday night did Led Zeppelin perfect justice, in giving their own renditions of Zeppelin classics with an evident mutual love for the band. For a tribute band to receive a standing ovation is something very special indeed.

Renowned vocalists including John Swan (Swanee), Dave Gleeson (The Screaming Jets), Steve Balbi (Noiseworks), Simon Meli (Ooh La La), Ngaiire Joseph (ex-Blue King Brown) and Dave Larkin (Dallas Crane) all gave impressive takes on songs taken from Led Zeppelin’s 12 year career. The idea of rotating vocalists appealed to me because it kept the performance fresh and exciting, and helped separate the show from the typical tribute show stereotype.

Steve Balbi particularly impressed, with a rendition of Kashmir that was both unique and innovative whilst bringing on the vocal power and prowess that Robert Plant was famous for. I’ve listened to a few of my Dad’s Noiseworks records, but Balbi was the bassist for the band and as far as I’m aware I had never heard him sing before. I am currently on the hunt for some of his solo records, because his voice is absolutely phenomenal.

In my eyes, the stand-out performer of the night was Adelaide born vocallist Zkye. Her entire performance of ‘Since I’ve Been Loving You’ had me in chills. The brilliant guitar soloing of Joseph Calderazzo was exhilarating, and had the crowd absolutely roaring. The live strings section were incredible, essential in the ‘Stairway To Heaven’ performance. Charmaine Ford’s virtuosic keyboard solo during ‘No Quarter’ was breathtaking, firmly stating to the hordes of people in the packed out theater that she is one of New Zealand’s finest performers.

After this incredible show, I looked into CCEntertainment and discovered that it was one of many shows in a Classic Rock series. I would love to see more of the shows brought to Melbourne. As a kid born at the wrong era of music, it is painful to think I will never have the opportunity to see Led Zeppelin perform, along with bands such as The Doors, Pink Floyd and of course The Beatles.

It’s this knowledge that prompts me to think that while music is timeless and lasts forever, live music opportunities shouldn’t be ignored, you never know what tragic accident could lie around the corner ready to rob a new legion of fans from seeing their favourite band perform. So long time Eagles and Rolling Stones fans, you would be crazy to not go and see them on their upcoming runs around the country, every show could potentially be their last one.

If this Led Zeppelin celebration show was indicative of all of the CCEntertainment’s production’s, I am convinced that it really is the next best thing to seeing the actual band perform. Rather than cheaply ripping off a legendary act, the musician’s celebrate the band’s music with the raw passion and love for the act that has deeply influenced their careers.

CCEntertainment, you have found yourself a new customer.

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