Led Zeppelin tribute
Vail CO, Colorado
EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado ” Led Zeppelin doesn’t have to be there in the flesh to incite an audience.
A teenage Bryan Christiansen learned that when he saw “The Song Remains The Same,” footage from Zeppelin’s 1973 concert at Madison Square Garden, at a movie theater in Washington.
“It was like a rock concert in the theater,” Christiansen recalled. “There were people smoking pot. There were people puking in the aisles. There were people jumping up and down and screaming their guts out. It was the wildest thing I’ve ever seen.”
Now 43, Christiansen makes a living replicating the wildness of Zeppelin’s sound.
His tribute band, No Quarter, takes the stage at the Sandbar Sports Grill Sunday to channel what some critics call the greatest rock n’ roll band of all time.
Fans can expect to hear famous staples like “Stairway to Heaven,” and “Black Dog.”
“It’ll be a collection of Led Zeppelin’s greatest hits, but also there’s some obscure stuff for the Led Zeppelin hardcore,” said Lonny Rice, who plays Robert Plant.
No Quarter formed about nine years ago, after Christiansen saw an impressive Beatles tribute band in Washington.
“The light bulb went on in my head and I was like: ‘If you could pull this off with Led Zeppelin, that would be pretty cool’ and I just started posting ads everywhere and auditioning people left and right,” he said.
The band went through a bunch of singers before Christiansen found the current “Robert Plant.”
About two years ago, Christiansen was driving around Tacoma, Wash. when he heard a Zeppelin parody song on the radio called “Whole Lotta Drugs.” It made him laugh ” and then it occured to him that the voice sounded just like Robert Plant.
“He could easily hit the high notes like Robert Plant, and he had the tone and the feel of a Robert Plant singer,” Christiansen said.
That singer was Rice, a Washington native who did some Zeppelin cover tunes with his band, Mystic Pop.
“I had a guy who could walk up on stage, and by the third song, the women in the audience are so turned on by seeing Robert Plant, they’re ready to have his children,” Christiansen said.
To get the iconic rock star’s look, Rice spends a lot of time at vintage stores. He resurrects the ’70s with bellbottom jeans, a long, blond wig, and shirts worn Plant style.
“Everything’s open, as much bare chest as you can possibly show,” Rice said.
When it comes to dressing like Page, Christiansen designs his own costumes. For instance, he wears a pant-jacket combo similar to the one Page donned in “The Song Remains the Same.”
“It’s like a wizard outfit,” Christiansen said. “It’s got all this weird stars and comets and all sorts of stuff all over it.”
For the page sound, Christiansen uses five guitars, including a replica of a red Gibson double-neck Page used to play “Stairway.”
Between the sounds and the costumes, Christiansen said he still does a double-take sometimes when he looks around the stage.
“It’s like I’m really in Led Zeppelin,” he said. “I feel like Jimmy Page got sick or someone hid his guitar or tied him up somewhere and I just lucked out and put a wig on and outfit and stepped on stage and the rest of the guys are Led Zeppelin.”
Members of No Quarter say they aren’t nearly as wild offstage as Led Zeppelin ” but occasionally crazy thing happen during concerts.
“Sometimes the girls will get on stage and try to get naked and rub all over you on stage and that’s kind of crazy,” Rice said. “A lot of drugs get passed up to you when you’re on stage.”
Once, during a show in Idaho, a drunk Native American man caused a disturbance during the song “Whole Lotta Love,” Rice said.
“So there’s this one pause in the song and the drunk guy goes ‘F— you!’ and then all of us just started cracking up,” Rice recalled. “Then the guy was rolling around. It was an outdoor show and all these people are on their lawn chairs and standing up. He’s rolling and knocking people over like he’s a bowling ball, like people are bowling pins. And you can see the crowd just kinda going down as he’s rolling down the hill.”
No Quarter started its current tour in February in Seattle, Wash., and their last scheduled date is in Corpus Christi, Texas. In February, the band launches a 30-city tour opening for the Pink Floyd Laser Spectacular. The lineup also includes Nathan Carroll as John Bonham and Chad McMurray as bassist John Paul Jones.
The band’s success is a testament to Led Zeppelin’s lasting appeal.
“The music is really that good,” Rice said. “Led Zeppelin’s music is just as relevant today as it was in the ’70s. And it’s got that cross-generational appeal. You’ve got everyone from 12-year-olds to baby boomers out there and they’re all having the same experience. They’re all loving it.”
High Life Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 970-748-2938 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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