From the huge hair and the classic bellbottoms to the Plant-esque wailing and outfits resembling the originals, this foursome covered some classic Zeppelin and showed us a fun night out, but in the end fell short of my (perhaps too high) expectations. Band members Matt Jernigan (as Robert Plant), John McDaniel (as Jimmy Page), Adam Sandling (as John Paul Jones), and Greg Thompson (as John Bonham) put on a daringly authentic show Saturday night at the Music Farm. Similar to the Pink Floyd Experience show, and probably the whole concept of cover bands in general, I was skeptical about the potential of these brave men to tackle the vast and diverse discography of English rock band Led Zeppelin. However, Zoso accurately embodied these musical legends in such a convincing way that made me wonder, at times, what someone who has seen the real thing would have thought about their getups and performances.
Looking around, I noticed more people in the crowd who looked over 30 than under, and they seemed to be having a good time, but let’s just say there wasn’t a standing ovation at the end of each song. Musically, there is purity and rawness to Zeppelin’s lyrics that can invoke intense elation at times and, shortly thereafter, appeal more to the grungy metal lover in us all. It was hard to get into the vibe of each song because they seemed to be cut short, which indeed they were. By the time I went to groove town, the pace changed quicker than I could slow my rhythm and vice versa.
Besides the perfectly typecasted bassist Adam Sandling—who, in my opinion, stole the show as John Paul Jones—Jernigan’s vocals and Plant-isms were also notable. Although the song selection seemed a bit rehearsed and cut-off considering the length of the original versions (e.g. “No Quarter”), they chose a nice array of timeless tunes, from “Stairway to Heaven” to “The Song Remains the Same” and “Black Dog.”
A few other concert highlights included when John McDaniel broke out the double-neck Gibson and jammed out, followed by a rad drum solo by Greg Thompson. It is obvious these talented guys have done their research and assimilated all things Led Zeppelin, but perhaps it is impossible to capture the entire raw spirit of Zeppelin, though I really commend this band for representing them so honorably. Whether you’re the fan who flocks to tribute shows to relive memories from their past, the curious fan (like me) who wants to go see something they could never experience, or you just ended up there as a stop on your night out, I can say that you will be impressed by Zoso’s performance but, unfortunately, not blown away.
TIP: For some great upcoming music, get your tickets to GRiZ and The Floozies, April 2 at the Music Farm!
Photographs by Big Funk Photography