Sadly, Led Zeppelin didn’t actually come to Carmel to play an actual live show. We would be better off hoping for Congress to actually agree on something.
But the Led Zeppelin tribute band Heartbreaker did come to pay homage to the world’s greatest hard rock band last Friday night, Oct. 25, at the Sunset Center by playing a selection of timeless rock gems.
The band started playing in 2000 with Jefrey James replacing lead singer Robert Plant, Stuart Horton as guitar god Jimmy Page, Joel Pelletier as bassist and pianist John Paul Jones, and Darryl Johnson as drummer John Bonham.
For a choice in venue, the Sunset Center wasn’t the best choice for this type of music due to the small size, which made it excessively loud. However, it did make the music sound amazing even from outside the theater.
The band covered numerous Zeppelin classics: “Rock and Roll,” “Good Times Bad Times,” “What Is and What Should Never Be,” “Battle of Evermore,” “Immigrant Song,” “Black Dog,” “The Rain Song,” “Ramble On,” “Heartbreaker,” “Living Loving Maid,” “Kashmir,” “The Wanton Song,” “Moby Dick,” “Ten Years Gone,” “Communication Breakdown,” “The Ocean,” “Over the Hills and Far Away,” “Misty Mountain Hop,” “Whole Lotta Love” and “Stairway to Heaven.”
The band picked a decent selection of Zeppelin hits, but some songs could have been played instead of others to make it a more interesting show. The fact the only acoustic number was “Battle of Evermore” was a huge letdown. Acoustic songs like “That’s the Way” or “White Summer” would have given a broader view of the band’s roots in traditional folk music and their influences from Eastern music. The set list was also missing songs from their post-Physical Graffiti years such as “Achilles’ Last Stand” and “All My Love.”
The band really did do Led Zeppelin justice by showing they are good at what they do. James sounded just like Plant, and Johnson was unbelievable during Bonham’s famous “Moby Dick” drum solo. Pelletier displayed the versatility with instruments that Jones has by playing bass, mandolin and keyboard. Guitarist Horton displayed the best performance when his Les Paul snapped a string , but he kept jamming until the end.
The audience as a whole wasn’t as engaged as I’m sure the band would have liked. But there were moments, such as during “Ramble On,” where the whole crowd got into the show and all clapped together. It was magnificent.
There were certain Zeppelin elements missing from the show, and the audience could have been more excited, but overall, the show was great, and it is about as close my generation will ever get to a real Zep concert. Long live Led Zeppelin.