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The benefit of hindsight is that it gives people a second chance to view something they may not have initially understood or appreciated in a much more positive light.

Take, for example, the album Led Zeppelin, the band’s eponymous 1968 debut being performed in its entirety at the FirstOntario PAC December 10th by the musical collective known as Classic Albums Live. Although the album’s inspired fusion of rock and blues was not critically well-received upon its release, Led Zeppelin is now considered a rock classic, with Rolling Stone magazine ranking it 29th on their list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

It’s easy to explain that revisionist change of heart according to Classic Albums Live founder and musical director Craig Martin.

“Led Zeppelin is the album that changed rock and roll,” suggests


Martin, who founded Classic Albums Live in 2003 with the intent of using top notch musicians to deliver note for note, cut for cut recreations of classic rock albums. “The album is full of riffs. There are more riffs on that album than most bands write in their entire career. There’s not a bad song on it.”

Including such seminal Led Zeppelin classics as “Good Times Bad Times,” “You Shook Me,” “Communication Breakdown” and “Dazed and Confused,” the band’s self-titled debut marked a significant turning point in the history of hard rock.

Given the reverence fans hold for the music, Martin says the musicians in the Classic Albums Live line-up – guitarist Dom Polito, bassist Mark Yanetta, drummer Rick Vatour and Juno Award winning vocalist Nick Walsh – all go to great lengths to faithfully recreate every sound on the original album.

“We’ve been playing the album for 13 years. We know how to perform Led Zeppelin. Our parametres are very clear. You listen to the album, you learn the album, you play the album note for note, cut for cut. We don’t mess around with any poetic interpretation of the music.”

While Martin says his collaborators in Classic Albums Live are excited about being part of the inaugural season at the FirstOntario PAC, he does have one concern about their upcoming December 10th performance of Led Zeppelin.

“I feel bad and I’m so concerned, because they’re going to need a new roof after we get in there. They’re going to spend all this money and we’re just going to get in there and blow the roof off of the place.”

State of the roof depending, Classic Albums Live will return in February to perform their stirring recreation of Pink Floyd’s The Wall featuring the Laura Secord Secondary School choir.

David DeRocco

Classic Albums Live

Led Zeppelin I Partridge Hall MEMBER: $41.65 REGULAR: $49

7:30PM Thurs 10 Dec



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