Zeppelin USA Proves Itself an Authentic Experience

Reynolds Hall, Feb. 7


Photo by Glenn Brogan

It’s a dangerous stunt to attempt to recapture the live essence of a band such as Led Zeppelin. Their songs are so sonically embedded into our consciousness–each note, beat and howl absorbed by many of us since our early teens–that the slightest misstep or deviation could shatter the illusion.

Brody Dolyniuk is no stranger to walking this musical high wire, fronting popular classic-rock cover band Yellow Brick Road for 14 years in Las Vegas and performing with his Symphonic Rock Show at The Smith Center the last couple of years. His Led Zep tribute act, starting out by covering Led Zeppelin IV in its entirety, was tested early and often. Guitarist Steve Zukowski broke a string on his Les Paul during the first minute of show opener “Rock and Roll,” prompting a premature shift to the Gibson double-neck for “Black Dog,” then his guitar strap broke moments before the climactic solo in “Stairway to Heaven” later in the set, forcing him to one knee, where he flawlessly finished things off.

The band played Zeppelin IV out of sequence, which helped add some freshness to the performance. Drummer Pat Leon provided a Bonham-esque stomp all night, and appropriately used two sticks in each hand on, duh, “Four Sticks,” during which multi-instrumentalist Jonathan Gilcrest and Zukowski seamlessly transitioned from bass and electric guitar, respectively, to keyboards and acoustic, and then back again without pause. Vegas! the Show vocalist Maren Wade joined Dolyniuk during the acoustic “Battle of Evermore,” and the set was capped by harmonica whiz Joe Calitri joining the band on a floor-thumping “When the Levee Breaks.”

The second set consisted of a handful of Zeppelin classics. Zukowski used a violin bow during his solo on “Dazed on Confused” as lasers shot across Reynolds Hall. “No Quarter” allowed Gilcrest to shine on keys before giving way to a fiery Zukowski solo. As “The Song Remains the Same” segued into “The Rain Song,” a platform carrying the Bella Electric Strings quartet rolled onto the stage, where they helped close things out with “All of My Love” and “Kashmir.” Despite the high degree of difficulty, Dolyniuk’s Led Zep tribute proved an authentic experience. In short, the songs remained the same. ★★★★☆

Rock n Roll
Black Dog
Four Sticks
Misty Mountain Hop
Going to California
Battle of Evermore
Stairway to Heaven
When the Levee Breaks
Good Times, Bad Times
Dazed and Confused
No Quarter
Song Remains the Same
Rain Song
All of My Love

Photos by Glenn Brogan

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