Smalleyjk 2011-05-31 13:50:51
Last night marked the debut performance of Mike Portnoy’s Led Zeppelin tribute,
Hammer of the Gods, at B.B. King’s in NYC. What a show!
The highlight of the night had to be guitarist Paul Gilbert, who had Jimmy
Page’s varied guitar sounds down to a tee, and who knocked out some of the more
memorable solos note-for-note. The scarf around his neck and the occasional hat
even gave him a bit of Page’s “look.”
Mike did a good job with Bonzo’s drum parts. All the important fills were
there, but he’d sometimes make them more his own with double bass enhancement,
etc. He did a pretty decent job copying elements of Bonham’s solo on Moby D***,
down to playing with his bare hands. (When he hit the cymbals with his hands,
they didn’t ring out the way they did for Bonham, who was basically an animal,
but you got to give him credit for trying).
Daniel Gildenlow’s vocals were mixed. At times, he had Plant’s nuances nailed,
but this tended to be more in the ad lib “sounds” around the main melody. In
terms of the the actual vocal lines, sometimes he sounded a bit like Plant, and
other times not really. But let’s face it: Plant (at least in his prime) was a
very distinctive vocalist, and not the easiest to emulate.
Dave LaRue was extremely tight and solid, exactly what you’d be looking for to
fill John Paul Jones’ shoes. An interesting touch was him playing a couple of
brief acoustic guitar interludes with chords on the bass.
They get a lot of credit for the choice of material. They didn’t do any of the
most obvious picks (Stairway to Heaven, Rock ‘n’ Roll, Whole Lotta Love).
Instead they dug deep into the catalog for a lot offerings you don’t hear that
often, including Out on the Tiles and the Wanton Song. They even pulled out a
LONG version of Dazed and Confused, complete with jams and a violin-bow solo.
All in all, they were on for about three hours, with an intermission and the
break before the encore. They easily had 2 1/2 hours of material. There were a
few noticable flubs, but most of it was amazingly tight. They typically went
right from one song to the next, even arranging one medley where they jumped in
an out of a number of tunes. As Mike said, they had all their lives to prepare
for this gig (by listening to Zeppelin growing up), but they really only
rehearsed for two days. Quite an impressive effort for something that,
theoretically, is only going to be performed two times.
If you’re any kind of Zeppelin fan and have the opportunity to see the Montreal
show tomorrow night, don’t miss it.
Smalleyjk 2011-05-31 13:51:03
A detail I forgot for the drummers out there. Mike was playing a replica Bonham
set up in see-through acrylic (of course, by Tama rather than Ludwig) and even
had a tympani and huge gong. (To complete the Bonham “look,” he played the
first set in a headband and the second in a bowler derby.)
Nice to be able to call your drum company and say, “I’m going to be John Bonham
for two gigs. Can you put together a replica of his set for me?”
Mombu 2011-05-31 13:51:29
I too was at this performance. Being a lifelong Zep fan and a decade
long Dream theater fan, this was an opportunity that could not be
Seeing MP playing a Vistalite style kit with Timpani and gong was a
real treat, very impressive as usual.
Paul Gilbert really stole the show for me with his dead on sound and
licks of Jiimmys classic stuff. Dazed and Confused from the Song
Remains the Same has been burnt into my memory over the years and
seeing him playing that 26 min song in the matter he did was amazing.
Being an Ibanez endorser, his double neck and Les Paul ‘s were not
Gibson but all the tone was there.
I was standing about 10 feet from the stage and wish I would have
gotten there earlier to be even closer.
The vocals were the weak link in the chain. When he was on it was
great, but he obliously seemed the least prepared. I could not see
from where I was standing but it appeaered he was reading from a
teleprompter. One of the more comical moments was when Paul stopped
the intro to the Rain Song and repeated the intro to key in the
All in all an excellent show. Wish I had gone to the Beatles tribute
the year before. Looking forward to the next tribute…or as MP said
….the next guitar player that Gilbert can imitate to a tee….
Markz 2011-05-31 13:51:37
sure would love to see, or at least hear, a booteleg of that.
we europeans never get that lucky … d***!