Imitation, they say, is the sincerest form of flattery. If that is so, then Led Zeppelin have more than their fair share of flatterers, being one of the most imitated bands around. So it was with great excitement that I went with my pal Adrian to the Queens Theatre on Friday to see Boot Led Zeppelin, one of the most successful Led Zeppelin tribute acts. The show was a sell-out. The audience consisting mainly of, let’s just say, fans reliving their youth.
The concert was a reproduction of one of the mighty Zeppelin’s 1975 Earls Court concert’s, and at roughly 3 hours long it was a fair copy, omitting only a few songs from the original set list . The band certainly looked the part: the strutting, preening Jesse Smith (Robert Plant), the elfin, wizard like Guitarist Raff Achour (Jimmy Page) the multi-instrumentalist James Watson (John Paul Jones) and the ‘meat and potatos’ drummer Matheu Martin (John Bonham). They were dressed accordingly and the lighting and pyrotechnics was very good. The playing was excellent and, yes, if you closed your eyes you could almost have been at Earls Court on one of those balmy evenings in May 1975. I was particularly impressed with Jesse Smith’s searing vocals and Matheu Martin’s powerful drumming. It was mentioned that Raff Achour had damaged a finger that afternoon, but this did not seem to affect his playing,
The band kicked off with Rock n’Roll, followed by Sick Again and slickly went through all their live greats, including an acoustic set of Going to California, That’s the Way and Bron-y-Aur stomp. They even played Moby Dick, complete with drum solo and finished, naturally, with Stairway to Heaven. The encores were Black Dog and Whole Lotta Love, which segued into Elvis’ Let’s Have A Party. There was a nice touch during the piano solo on No Quarter when Watson played part of Bowie’s Life on Mars.
All in all, an excellent night out. Performing a three hour set of Led Zeppelin classics cannot be easy, but Boot Led Zeppelin achieved it with style.