Frank Stark, Contributing Writer
It’s not very often that the phrase “It sounds like you’re listening to the CD” comes off as a compliment when talking about a live musical performance, and for good reason. Many artists, even the most appreciated and talented ones, can fall under the category of being predictable, and it’s typically in the realm of live musical performance where these artists try to change it up and pull away from that categorization.
This past Saturday, a Philadelphia-based Led Zeppelin tribute band took the stage at the Oneonta Theatre with the exact opposite plan in mind: To put on a show that would replicate the authentic sounds of the albums Led Zeppelin fans have had ingrained in their memories over the past 40 some-odd years, and that’s exactly what they did. A variety of fans young and old poured through the doors into the fog-filled theater and enjoyed a wide array of Zeppelin songs that night. From punchy radio hits like “Heartbreaker,” to the soothing “The Battle of Evermore,” this tribute band quickly showed us that they’re not your average tribute band.
The band, Get the Led Out, was originally formed in 2003 when longtime friends and fellow musicians Paul Hammond and Paul Sinclair came up with the simple yet ingenious way to truly enjoy playing the music they grew up listening to. Since the two had played a variety of music together since they were young, it wasn’t hard for their Led Zeppelin project to find its groove and take off.
“I really like the direction our band takes, because people that come out to see us can really appreciate the experience we’re trying to create, even though it is a completely different experience than what they would go to see at a Led Zeppelin show,” commented guitarist and keyboard player Andrew Lipke. But as Lipke explains, the band’s goal is not to play to perfection. When they mean “recreating the complete album experience,” they really intend to recreate it all, including the mistakes.
“Even in the studio, [Led Zeppelin] were just capturing their improvisations, so sometimes there are mistakes that we have to do. You know, like in ‘Misty Mountain Hop.’ In the third verse, Jimmy Page just stops playing guitar for like 2 measures—and we’ll even do that. For the most part we try and get note for note, while still playing with the kind of energy that’s needed to really translate.”
Although some may argue that that level of emulation could lead a performance to feel lifeless, Lipke assures us that in reality it is quite the opposite. “We’re not here for theatrics, we’re here to bring the true performance where we play the songs off the record, as authentically as possible… and I think that original idea has just really evolved and become a part of us.”
Get the Led Out are currently finishing their east coast tour and plan to return to the Oneonta area sometime next year.