Tribute Band Weekend– PlanB, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Janis Joplin and Creedence Clearwater Revival – The Gov and Festival Theatre 20 -22 July 2018.
Words Geoff Jenke
Tribute bands began way back in the 1980’s and hit their peak in the 1990’s. On any given weekend in Adelaide you could see “U2”, “Bon Jovi”, “Deep Purple” or any other “major act”. In fact, Ian Moss once lamented when playing a small, far from sold out gig in Adelaide, that there was a Cold Chisel tribute band playing the same night to a sold-out audience in a major venue. Whilst the tribute band fascination faded, there where bands still doing it around the country. There seems to be a bit of a resurgence to this fad lately as witnessed on this weekend in Adelaide with 3 nights of tribute bands playing in town.
PlanB, Kaleidoscope Eyes & Satisfaction – The Gov Friday 20 July 2018
In this 3-day run of tribute bands, PlanB were the only band to play original songs. They have been around since the early 1980’s and to their credit still playing, touring, even releasing a new album soon. They did original songs in a Dexy Midnight Runners/Madness rock/soul style, making great use of a horn section.
Kaleidoscope Eyes are enthusiastic and passionate musicians playing what they obviously love, Beatle songs. They started with early Beatle numbers and I was thinking the set would be in chronological order, but no they jumped all over the place. I have seen quite a few Beatle tribute bands over the years and unfortunately, they have been better than this band. Tribute bands are about recreating the original bands sound, something I found slightly lacking here. (Guitar solo during the “na na na’s” of Hey Jude?) Birthday however was great as was A Hard Day’s Night.
Satisfaction play (obviously) Rolling Stones songs and do it with finesse, complete with a sax player and a great female backup singer who really hit her stride on Gimme Shelter and Beast of Burden. While the Stones have been around for 50 years, it is the 60’s and 70’s songs that are popular with the audience. Two songs by the Stones that don’t really cut it with me, Mixed Emotions & Miss You sounded really great this evening with both songs blending into one. The lead singer out Jagger’s Jagger with his movements, dancing and style. If your going to be a tribute band, this is how to do it, with style.
The night was billed Beatles v’s Stones. The Stones won easy.
Stairway to Heaven – Led Zeppelin Masters with the Black Dog Orchestra – Festival Theatre Saturday 21 July 2018
The Zep Boys have been doing Led Zeppelin for a long long time now. How a big name heavy metal band has not taken singer Vince Contarino into their midst amazes me. He has a world great metal voice.
This show has been playing, not only around Australia, but the U.K. as well and they are heading back to Europe soon. With no sign of a Led Zeppelin reunion (Robert Plant recently insisted, yet again, that he has no plans to reunite with his band mates from Led Zeppelin and that he would be “a whore to do so”.) this is as close as you will get to the real thing. They don’t mess around with the songs, being faithful to the originals.
They opened with Good Times, Bad Times with orchestra conductor splendidly dressed in tight leather pants with a big studded belt and then eased into Nobody’s Fault but Mine. The band were tight and the orchestra padded out the sound wonderfully.
Tzan Niko on guitar utilised the twin neck guitar admirably during the evening and nailed the Jimmy Page licks. Warwick Cheatle on bass showed his diversity, playing acoustic guitar and keyboards as well and Bradley Polain was rock solid on drums, complete with an arousing drum solo during Moby Dick. (The 70’s has a lot to answer for, drum solo’s being one of them).
The Rain Song sounded beautiful with the orchestra behind the band and Tzan dragged out the violin bow during Dazed and Confused. Kashmir started with a violin solo from one of the orchestra, before powerfully kicking into what is probably Zeppelin’s greatest song. Could it get any better than this? Well yes actually, with No Quarter being the best song of the evening and it being played mostly just by the band with the orchestra added some extra sounds at the end. Stairway to Heaven got the loudest applause before they ended the night with a superb run home with Heatbreaker, Black Dog, Immigrant Song and Whole Lotta Love.
I sat outside Led Zeppelin’s only Adelaide concert way back in 1974 and it was brilliant. So was this.
A Tribute to Woodstock – Creedence and Joplin – The Gov Sunday 22 July 2018.
Many people are unaware Creedence Clearwater Revival played Woodstock in 1969 as John Fogerty refused to allow the bands music on the album and in the movie. Something he regretted later on.
Janis Joplin’s performance was memorable and the Janis Joplin Full Tilt tribute show hauntingly brings Janis Joplin back to life through the acclaimed vocals of Melissa Jubb (and her amazing band). The show stared with the classic Move Over before the lesser known, but still brilliant Kosmic Blues was rolled out. Naturally it was the hits the crowd wanted and got. Ball and Chain, Cry Baby, Piece of my Heart and Mercedes Benz all came in quick succession with Melissa channelling the voice of Janis to perfection. As she has passed away there is no chance of seeing the real Janis, but this is a high-quality performance worth seeing.
The Creedence Revival recreate the CCR sound with incredibly likeness, both with vocals and music. They stick to the well know songs and give the people what they want. Run through the Jungle, Midnight Special and Up Around the Bend open the set and all the singles you can name by CCR followed shortly after. This is the one (very) minor complaint from me, as I would have liked to have heard a few album tracks like Ramble Tamble or Grapevine. However, they used sax on a few songs adding a new dimension to the Creedence sound, especially on Long as I Can See the Light. The band were obviously enjoying the performance as much as the audience and evoked a few sing-a-longs during the evening. A must for Creedence fans as the bad blood between John Fogerty and his former band mates means there will never be a CCR reunion. (Trivia – CCR played Adelaide the same night as Led Zeppelin back in ’74)
I was raised with all these (original) bands and it was great to relive some “younger” memories. As good as these shows were, and they have their place keeping these band’s music alive, they can’t compete with seeing a great original band live. Get down the pub and support live music.