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Zep Masters

  • JOE PLASKO/TIMES NEWS Get The Led Out guitarists Jimmy Marchiano (left) and Paul Hammond jam during their Penn's Peak concert Saturday night.
    JOE PLASKO/TIMES NEWS Get The Led Out guitarists Jimmy Marchiano (left) and Paul Hammond jam during their Penn's Peak concert Saturday night.
Published May 24. 2010 05:00PM

Led Zeppelin holds a sacred place among hard rock fans.

The British band took a mystical approach to its heavy rock and spaced-out blues that has become legendary, almost as much for its off the stage indulgences as for the music itself.

A mythology has developed around Zep over the years, and those dealing with paying tribute often find themselves getting sucked into it, at their peril.

Get The Led Out doesn't get lost in the clouds of myth or immersed in the legend. The Philadelphia-based band keeps the focus on what still attracts legions of Zep fans - the music.

What Get The Led Out offers is Led Zeppelin straight, no chaser. Its painstaking, even reverent reproductions of Zep's studio recordings on the concert stage is what sets this band apart from mere Zep imitators. That's what puts GTLO at the head of the class in advanced Zep studies.

GTLO got a career boost when it first played at Penn's Peak in Jim Thorpe six year ago, attracting a large and enthusiastic audience with little fanfare, so the band's returns to the Peak, such as Saturday night, have the feel of conquering heroes returning home to the site of their initial triumph.

While the band's proficiency with the Zep repertoire is remarkable, even astounding at times, its secret is simple. These guys love this music and are having the time of their lives playing it the way it should be played. They are no just covering songs, they inhabit them.

Vocalist Paul Sinclair has the task of producing Robert Plant's signature wails, and Sinclair does it without missing a note. Plant is one of the most imitated singers in rock history, so to pull it off without being a mere clone is amazing. Sinclair's tribute is that he breathes his own life into the songs while remaining true to the orginals.

Paul Hammond is GTLO's Jimmy Page to Sinclair's Plant, and his talents on guitar and mandolin are no less essential. Whether he's striking his six-string with a luminescent bow on "Dazed and Confused" or dropping in a quick run through "Bron-Yr-Aur" as GTLO starts its acoustic set, Hammond remains true to the spirit of the Zep instrumental soundscape.

Adam Ferraioli does Bonzo proud on the drums, waiting for the obligatory "Moby Dick" for his moment to shine on the celebrated solo. GTLO has added former Britny Fox bassist Billy Childs, and he teams with Ferraioli to provide the thunderous rhythms that propel the machine.

The contributions of keyboardist/guitarist Andrew Lipke and guitarist Jimmy Marchiano can't be forgotten, either, as both enable GTLO to flesh out the Zep sound. Lipke's keys on the ethereal intro to "No Quarter", as well as on "Thank You" mark a high point in the show.

The setlist was a headbanger's delight, providing high voltage renditions of Zep classics "Immigrant Song", "Heartbreaker/Living Loving Maid", "Good Times Bad Times", "The Lemon Song", "Misty Mountain Hop", "The Ocean" and "Black Dog", as well as a mesmerizing take on "Kashmir".

GTLO showcases all sides of the Zep canon, with ballads such as "All of My Love" and Sinclair showcase "Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You" drawing big reactions from the packed house.

The acoustic set remains a highlight, with its faithful versions of "Going to California", "The Battle of Evermore" (featuring the vocals of guest Diana DeSantis, blending perfectly with Sinclair and Lipke) and "Tangerine".

"Your Time is Gonna Come" was a nice addition to the set, and Sinclair noted two other songs the band learned for the Peak show: "Custard Pie" from Physical Graffiti and "Royal Orleans" from Presence.

GTLO plans to return to The Peak Nov. 5. It continues to build its own story while doing justice to Led Zeppelin's.

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