NED ZEPPELIN

10/10/98 Culemborg, De kroeg
16/10/98 Utrecht, Tivoli

By Henri Bos


Ned Zeppelin
It must have been 1980, when I saw Led Zeppelin (LZ) perform live at the sold-out Rotterdam venue "Ahoy". With a couple of friends, we were sitting in chairs of the arena's 3rd row and enjoyed a great show of this legendary rockband. Almost 20 years later I relived Zep's music in a small Dutch pub called "De Kroeg". Tribute-band Ned Zeppelin (translated from Dutch pronunciation saying "just like Zeppelin") brought a pomp retrospect.

Due to the live coverage of the soccer match Holland-Peru (2-0), me and my wife ran in the over-crowded pub at half past ten. We entered Ned Zeppelin's intro of Communication Breakdown, which later appeared to be their second song this evening. Straight away it became clear, we would be treated with some good sound quality in which only the singing of Jan Hoving (ex Bagheera) was a little low in the mix. The latter was not a surprise by the lack of a solid PA-system, therefore this gig was a try-out.
Maybe this review is a little biassed by the presence of two ex-Bagheera members. I only doubt this, according the overwhelming response of the audience of some 80 to 100 people, most of them 30+. Really, I've seen people with wet eyes by the joy of recognition. Then again this was a 'home match' for Ned Zeppelin (NZ).

The bombastic sounds of Zeppelin were played heavy, threatening and rather authentic without getting dirty. In spite of the use of two guitars played by Bob Hoezen (ex-Bagheera) and Robbert Versnel the sound remained clear. Just now I realised what a hectic job Jimmy Page had to acquit of. The many solo's were played alternated by both guitarists, only the acoustic parts were performed by Hoezen only. The usage of different guitars to get Page's characteristic sounds caused some delays between songs. In Utrecht this change of guitars was guided by a roady and went much more smoothly.

During the up-tempo tunes of Ramble On my wife asked me if the vocals in all of LZ's songs were sung that high. I only could affirm this and it must be said that Hoving did a great job. Next song Baby I'm Gonna Leave You was one of those songs he completely indulged in with emotional and vehemental singing. Striking was the appearance of drummer Sureel, with the likeness of Rush' Neil Peart, posture included. He was beatin' the drums with much feel and concentration. He couldn't make up with Bonham's underestimated class and trademark of being a little behind in time, which drives accent to the beat. However, Sureel's subtlety and skilled technique, together with the light-fingered bass playing of Mike Berkelkamp took the music into a special dimension.

Bob Hoezen After the break (the Tivoli-gig didn't have one) NZ bluesed of with the dark sounds of Dazed and Confused. In this song it was Hoezen to freak out in the middle part with the use of a violin-string to play his guitar. He repeated this flabbergasting trick later on with the more obvious to be Whole Lotta Love. Celebration Day followed, allthough Hoving didn't feel much for it. How wrong he was! The sound-layers of this song took me into heaven. Like being stoned, without having drugs, maybe just a little beer. Really, you should try it! Then afterwards taking Black Dog to kick off; you will not manage.

According Mike B. the acoustic song Black Mountain Side was never played live by LZ. Also NZ couldn't really convince me with this song (not played at Tivoli). It's successor Friends made things groove again, slowly bringing up the more familiar songs. The Immigrant Song, well-known for its screaming part, was taken to great heights by Hoving.
Keys welcomed Kashmir. Although keyboard was played during more parts of the show by several members of the band, now Berkelkamp took a dominating role with it. Characteristic slur notes build up the sound of this progressive classic song, as if LZ has never left the stage. For prog lovers Kashmir was the ultimate highlight. Zep-lovers had one more to come: Whole Lot A Love, including the famous middle part. A fine closing of a well-done set. Zep-fans of all times: you'd really need to go and see it.


Having another beer and a little chat with Hoving, off the record he whispered that rehearsels included In My Time Of Dying nowadays...


Utrecht: In comparison with Culemborg, sounds in Tivoli were better with the use of a proper PA-system. Rather frequently I don't like the sound at this venue, because it often becomes a mess. Not tonight! Vocals and solo's were nicely brought on top of the mix and the added effects gave the music surplus value. Now you really could hear how near Hoving came to the voice of Plant. He comes close... In the more lower parts very close, if you ask me.
Ned Zeppelin Reverb to the guitar highlighted the bluesy tunes of Dazed And Confused into a dazzling epic. Again the parts with the violin-string had me gliding in clouds and couldn't last long enough. Rather confusing were the number of visitors tonight. Some 100 people to start with, ending in 300, again most of them over 30. By the look of their headbanging, they had a fabulous night.

One week after the Tivoli gig, I got hold of a LZ video tape. The ease of their performance is striking, together with the freedom of interpretation of the songs. Te be precise: NZ did a much more accurate and authentic performance of the studio recordings than LZ probably ever have.
But then again the song remains the same.


Setlist Culemborg 10/10/1998
Good Times Bad Times
Communication Breakdown
What Is And What Should Never Be
Out On The Toles
Ramble On
Baby I'm Gonna Leave You
Heartbreaker
Livin' Lovin' Maid
--- beer ---
Dazed And Confused
Celebration Day
Black Dog
Black Mountain Side
Friends
Bring It On Home
Since I've Been Lovin You
Immigrant Song
Kashmir
Whole Lotta Love
  Setlist Utrecht 16/10/1998
Good Times Bad Times
Communication Breakdown
What Is And What Should Never Be
Out On The Toles
Ramble On
Baby I'm Gonna Leave You
Heartbreaker
Livin' Lovin' Maid
Dazed And Confused
Friends
Celebration Day
Since I've Been Lovin You
Black Dog
Bring It On Home
Immigrant Song
Kashmir
Whole Lotta Love

 

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