A Celebration Of Led Zeppelin

After playing host to a tribute Led Zeppelin’s legendary gig at Kooyong Stadium, The Corner Hotel was a no-brainer when it came to putting on a recreation of the band’s concert film The Song Remains The Same.

Originally recorded at Madison Square Garden in 1973, it was later made into a film in 1976, in which MC James Young fondly recalled seeing at Sandringham Drive-In with his mum.

With Young having assembled somewhat of a dream team of Melbourne music royalty (and cold hard Zep fans), it wasn’t a case of going through the motions. Each singer totally encompassed the songs and made it their own, delivering an individual experience from one song to the next.

First up was Matt “Chappy” Chapman, front man for My Left Boot, who kicked the night off with “Rock N Roll”, with his perfect pitch and spot on squeal, his rendition was so perfect it gave Robert Plant a run for his money.

Next up was Plant lookalike Pat Carmody of My Dynamite. If Chappy had the voice Pat had the look, with his scarf and long locks he fitted the slinky hipped bill perfectly as he smashed out “Celebration Day”.

Chappy jumped back up again for a head kicking turn, belting out “Black Dog” with a total passion and power that left the crowd with bated breath. Staying on stage, Chappy sang a beautiful rendition the ballad “Over the Hills and Far Away”.

While the singers made the songs their own, the backbone of the entire evening was the inspired assembly of Ash Naylor on guitar, Bruce Haymes on bass, Stephen Hadley on keyboards and drumming juggernaut (and possible resurrection of John Bonham) Danny Leo.

While most of the performers had the privilege of playing together during the Kooyong tribute, Dallas Frasca was a welcome new edition. A stalwart of Melbourne’s enviable music scene, as soon as Frasca kicked off “Misty Mountain Top” the crowd immediately sensed that this was going to be something special. Frasca’s voice was from somewhere else, a performer with a clear love for Zeppelin, tonight she showed the crowd how deep that love was.

To describe Vika Bull as amazing does not capture the specific brilliance of her performance. Bull’s rendition of “Since I’ve Been Loving You” brought together everything that makes the perfect song; it was rendition of deep blues that emanated from the centre of her soul.

Through the rest of the night the band blew the crowd away repeatedly, the consistency of each singer was something to behold, every performance was a labour of love and showed how much love was in the room not just for Led Zeppelin but just for the sheer joy of performing.

Later on the night when the band left the stage Danny Leo stayed on and pummeled his drum kit to smithereens with a show stopping rendition of “Moby Dick”. The powerhouse drummer continued to pound the skins with his bare hands one point, after reducing his sticks to sawdust.

After a short break the band came back for an encore that continued to mesmerize punters, with the one-two punch of Pat Carmody punching out “Nobody’s Fault But Mine”, and Vika Bull giving her all on “Out on The Tiles”. The encore continued with Dallas Frasca’s face melting version of “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You”.

The night ended with Chappy doing “Kashmir”, a song which many Led Zeppelin fans would argue is their best and is always a crowd favourite. This was the penultimate ending to a spectacular night, and another master stroke from James Young who hinted that this would become an annual event. Clocking in at a whopping three hours, the night never once dragged nor did the sea of memorized punters lose focus.

To call the night a complete and utter success cannot even begin to express it.
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