Phoenix Symphony Gets the Led Out
January 30, 2010 by R.J. Price
Mila Kunis, Olivia Wilde, Megan Fox and Jessica Alba are regulars on Maxim Magazine’s Hot 100 lists.
Pfft. You can have ’em.
After attending Friday evening’s The Music of Led Zeppelin and Queen show at Dodge Theatre, I have begun an aggressive campaign to get electric violinist Allegra named to the No. 1 spot in 2010.
Allegra–with the help of vocalist Randy Jackson, bassist Dan Clemons, guitarist George Cintron, drummer Powell Randolph, conductor and show mastermind Brent Havens and the pride of Downtown Phoenix, the Phoenix Symphony–paid homage to history’s definitive heavy metal band, Led Zeppelin, and somehow managed to make this die-hard fan appreciate the depth and sexiness of the band’s catalog even more.
Allegra wasn’t the only thing burning up the stage. Renditions of “Kashmir,” “Heartbreaker,” “Thank You” and “Since I’ve Been Loving You,” showcased the profound skills of Cintron, while Jackson made “All of My Love” and “Stairway to Heaven,” two Zeppelin songs I generally go out of my way to avoid, not only palatable but downright enjoyable. Special shout-out to Randolph for his jaw-dropping work on “Moby Dick.” Late Zeppelin drummer John Bonham would have beamed with pride.
The only complaint I had was the absence of “Living Loving Maid” from the set list. It’s a song that should always be married to “Heartbreaker,” just as on Led Zeppelin II.
If you doubt the objectivity of an admitted Zeppelin wonk, I’ll relay a brief review from my 23-year-old niece, Alicia, who accompanied me to the show despite having zero little knowledge of Zeppelin or Queen going in.
“That,” Alicia said as we exited the Dodge. “Was amazing. You could set anything** to an orchestra and I’d go see it.”
I’m more classic rock than classical but the excellence in execution exhibited by the Symphony made me want to grab tickets for “Peter and the Wolf” pronto. What an amazing ensemble of talent. And Havens deserves kudos for his score. At no time did the orchestral treatments mess with the integrity of the songs.
Same goes for the opening act, The Music of Queen, performed by the same band but with Las Vegas bar scene rocker Brody Dolyniuk channeling the voice and showmanship of Freddie Mercury. Dolyniuk’s stage antics were a little ham-ish (so were Mercury’s), but there’s no doubting the dude can sing, especially after hearing him tackle “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Stone Cold Crazy.” Next time I’m in Sin City I’ll definitely look up his classic rock tribute band, Yellow Brick Road.
And I’ll be sure to attend The Music of Led Zeppelin and Queen whenever it comes back to the Valley.
**Creed and Nickelback are obvious exceptions to this statement.