It is difficult to be a tribute band. Inevitably, you get contrasted with the artistry you are attempting to recreate. Those comparisons are even harsher when you are attempting to cover the music of one the all-time greats of rock ‘n roll, but bands like Australian Pink Floyd and the Fab Faux have made careers of imitating the titans of a rock. Another tribute band is re-imagining an era of rock ‘n roll in a unique way. Through their album Pompeii Sessions, the group In The Light Of Led Zeppelin focused on a unique aspect of the band’s catalog: the Page and Plant era.
The Page And Plant Era
Led Zeppelin is one of a handful of bands who are universally acknowledged as being a timeless stalwart of rock ‘n roll. Songs like “Stairway To Heaven,” “Black Dog,” and “Whole Lotta Love” are critical parts of modern music’s catalog.
The band broke up following drummer John Bonham’s death in 1980. Since their break-up, they have only officially reunited three times: 1985’s Live Aid, 1988’s Atlantic Records 40th Anniversary Concert, and 2007’s Ahmet Ertegun Tribute Concert. The 2007 concert remains one of the most heavily-demanded concert tickets ever.
Members Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones played a couple of songs with the Foo Fighters in 2008. The closest Led Zeppelin ever came to a genuine reunion was during the Page and Plant era from 1994-1998.
Page and Robert Plant resumed playing together in 1994. After recording an MTV Unplugged session that year, the duo released the album No Quarter.
The album featured Led Zeppelin songs that were backed by a Moroccan string band and an Egyptian orchestra. Given the mystic nature of Led Zeppelin songs like “Kashmir” and “The Battle of Evermore,” it was a natural fit. Four years later they put out the record Walking Into Clarksdale. The pair disbanded in 1998, only returning for a brief reunion in 2001.
In The Light Of Led Zeppelin’s Pompeii Sessions
The music of Led Zeppelin is a complex thing to imitate. Not only is the music iconic, but so many songs in the band’s catalog encapsulate a grandiose vision that is not often found in rock.
In The Light Of Led Zeppelin made an interesting choice by deciding to channel the Page and Plant era. That time period alone was unique enough for two-thirds of Led Zeppelin’s members. The pair made a bold choice to put a spin on their own classic body of work. It resulted in a unique phase of the band’s storied history.
Similarly, the decision to cover this time period is an interesting decision for In The Light Of Led Zeppelin. They separate themselves from being a typical tribute band because this brand of Led Zeppelin’s music is less familiar than the traditional catalog. It makes for an intriguing listen. You are not being asked to recall Led Zeppelin’s work, but a singular interpretation by Page and Plant themselves.
In The Light Of Led Zeppelin is accomplishing this with their album Pompeii Sessions. The album was released on July 23, 2017. The track list for the seven-song Pompeii Sessions contains covers of “Dancing Days,” “Ramble On,” “Battle Of Evermore,” “The Rain Song,” “Friends,” “Four Sticks,” and “Kashmir.”
It is incredible how much In The Light Of Led Zeppelin, especially singer Scott Board, does recreate the music of the Page and Plant period. The 14-minute, 11-second cover of “Kashmir” in Pompeii Sessions is an inspiring headbanger.
Another highlight is “Battle Of Evermore.” The Mid-Eastern-style string instrumentation that precedes the lyrics adds a chilling element to the song. Midway through the song, drummer Keith Howard adds a little extra thunder to the piece, taking the already-epic track to the next level.
The album is not quite the same as a Led Zeppelin record, nor is it quite Page and Plant, but when you hear Pompeii Sessions the music becomes fresh again. After the first hundred listens, even the most legendary music might lose its edge. You become accustomed to listening to it in the supermarket or your dentist’s office.
Much like the Page and Plant chapter of Led Zeppelin’s legacy, In The Light Of Led Zeppelin’s Pompeii Sessions prompts the listener to hear something different when experiencing the same music. Even some delicate differences, like adding a string arrangement, can make the original come alive in a way that you haven’t heard in a long time.
In The Light Of Led Zeppelin currently has tour dates scheduled through September. The band posted a video on their YouTube account that gives a cool onstage look at their live experience:
This is a sponsored review. All views reflected in this post are objective and only reflect the opinions of the author.