Alex Fredkin, Arts Editor
Led Zeppelin is one of those timeless bands that people of all ages love. For those that did not get to see them live, Get the Led Out is the closest thing you will ever get. The six-piece band consists of Paul Sinclair on vocals, Paul Hammond and Jimmy Marchiano on guitars, Billy Childs on bass, Adam Ferraioli on drums, and Andrew Lipke on keyboards and guitars. All members contributed to back up vocals at times, and the band even brought in singer Diana DeSantis for the song “Battle of Evermore.” Get the Led Out is a band comprised of true fans; their job is not to impersonate Led Zeppelin, but rather to reproduce the songs as everyone knows them best.
It is impossible to replicate the studio recordings of Zeppelin with only four members. When the band in their time played live, they were forced to play different versions of most of their songs to compensate. Singer Sinclair explained the process by saying “In the studio Jimmy Page would overdub and sometimes record five guitars on a track. To make those happen in concert it’s the coolest thing ever to hear Paul’s acoustic on ‘Ramble On’ and Jimmy and Andrew play the electric harmony solos, and that to me is the fun and the joy, and I think one of the reasons we do as well as we do. You figure, you don’t know Led Zeppelin from their live performances; you know them from the albums. That’s what most people want to hear, and that’s what I want to hear.”
The band put on an incredible performance, replicating Led Zeppelin’s recordings note for note, and allowing everyone at the show to live out their greatest Zeppelin fantasies. The show opened with “Rock and Roll” immediately showing the Oneonta Theatre that “The American Led Zeppelin” had arrived. The band was so spot on that I found myself closing my eyes and feeling like I was experiencing Led Zeppelin from the past.
It was clear that Get the Led Out took great care to meticulously craft the tunes exactly as they appear on the record. They performed an extensive set of around 20 songs, and ran the gamut of every style that Zeppelin was able to create. For example, the middle of the set featured a concentration of the band’s more acoustic songs. The lights dimmed down and every member sat down to play favorites such as “Over the Hills and Far Away” and “Hey Hey What Can I Do.” This section really showed what the advantage of playing with more than four members brings. Led Zeppelin of course was known for using a variety of instrumentation on their songs, all of which was included in the show Saturday night. One piece featured mallets to accompany the percussion, others showcased mandolin such as on “The Battle of Evermore.”
The show had several highlights, one of which was the historic song “Dazed and Confused.” One of my personal favorites, I was mesmerized and captivated during the entire performance. The haunted yet tantalizing slow bass line, the thunderous triplet drum fills, and of course the world-famous breakdown with the revolutionary violin bow guitar solo. As if this part could not get any more memorable, Hammond’s violin bow was glow-in-the-dark blue. Every hit on the guitar strings felt as if he was brandishing a light saber, cutting down swathes of enemies as Led Zeppelin’s heavy metal rock and roll raged on.
Many more classics were featured during the night including “Heartbreaker,” “Black Dog” and a surprising yet spot-on drum solo for “Moby Dick.” The drummer even stayed true to Bonham’s original vision by playing some of the piece sans drumsticks, using only his hands and brute force to smack the toms, crash cymbals and even Bonham’s signature Gong.
The encore featured songs such as “Whole Lotta Love” and a breathtaking rendition of “Stairway to Heaven.” Arguably Led Zeppelin’s most famous and overplayed song, it is also their greatest. It takes the listener on such an epic and fantastical journey, starting with the thought-provoking lyrics and imagery during the slow and poetic beginning section. Next comes the middle part that builds up the song with the introduction of some solid drums, all laying the groundwork for the triumphant solo and conclusion. Every audience member was singing their hearts out, playing their best air guitar, and simulating every one of the incredible drum fills. I know this sounds cliche, but by the end of the performance Page’s wailing guitar solo had sent chills running up and down my spine.
Get the Led Out didn’t just do Led Zeppelin justice, they elevated their songs to unimaginative levels. Teenagers to college students to grey-haired adults all rejoiced and bonded together over their love of all things Led Zeppelin. No one will ever get to see the original band play again, but that is okay. The many die-hard fans will always continue to appreciate and enjoy the band’s extensive catalog. Get the Led Out brings Led Zeppelin to life on the main stage, and definitely do their part to ensure that the band’s legacy will remain intact.