Sludge Factory Interview

Robyn Morrison speaks to Joseph Calderazzo about a Whole Lotta Love

This year is the tenth anniversary of the Whole Lotta Love Led Zeppelin Celebration. From its humble beginnings, the show now moves to amazing venues like the State Theatre in Sydney and the Palais in Melbourne. It’s something creative director Joseph Calderazzo could only dream of when he first started this venture. He explains to Robyn Morrison what the tenth anniversary shows will involve and what this year means to him.

“I actually started this about twelve years ago at the Iguana Bar in Kings Cross (Sydney). I was running a regular Tuesday nightclub there. It was all done in acoustic mode due to volume restriction. While I was doing that, I had an idea where I could get a special night together so I decided to do THE BEATLES show, then it moved on to doing ZEPPELIN as well. I never imagined I’d be doing this at the big theatres and taking it interstate.”

The burning question for a show such as this is how do you decide on a set list to pay tribute to such an iconic band? “I mix it up a bit,” says Calderazzo. “I’ve actually got three new songs in it this year. It’s hard to know what to do with that one. If we change it too much then people say they came because they saw it two years ago and we missed out on the songs they wanted to hear. Then there are those who say it’s the same show again. It’s so hard because there are so many essential songs.”

With such a huge production and a myriad of singers, Calderazzo explains they start preparing about six months out from the event. “There are five dates and they’re not consecutive shows. Getting people to be available, you definitely need to book well in advance.”

With so many talented artists, it was difficult for Calderazzo to narrow down the highlights, but he did mention a couple of performers that were unmistakably a high point. “Having iOTA do two of the shows was a highlight, only because he’s so special. He comes in with his own thing and does it that way. The first year he performed at The Basement (Sydney), a lot of the people didn’t know him. He converted a whole room of people in a matter of minutes. Having David Campbell was good as well. He really nailed it. He’s a great rock singer.”

We’re all aware of how popular LED ZEPPELIN is but what is it about these Whole Lotta Love shows that makes audiences keep coming back year after year? “I like to think it’s because I’m doing it for all the right reasons,” says Calderazzo We really love the music and all the people I gather around me really love LED ZEPPELIN. People know whether you mean it or not. If you’re doing it for any other reason, people see through that.”
If you haven’t witnessed this show before, you really should make an effort this year. One of your favourite bands in a spectacular performance by talented musicians. You really can’t go wrong.

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