Zoso: The Ultimate Led Zeppelin Experience
January 26, 2013
Tribute band. That term right there will have countless eyes rolling around in people’s heads. The concept of a tribute band is pretty ridiculous yet ingenious. You take an iconic, legendary band and you pay tribute to the that band by dressing up like them, replicating their sound, their stage moves, and even at times their stage set. I’ve seen quite a few of these bands in my time. Why? Well, sometimes you just don’t have a damn thing going on and instead of sitting at home and watching re-runs of the office, you can just drop 10 bucks or so and go see a bunch of average joes dress up like KISS, replicate specific Grateful Dead live shows, play like Pink Floyd, or in Zoso’s case, re-enact the live performances of Led Zeppelin.
As I made my way to the Variety Playhouse in Little Five Points for the Zoso show, I was met with traffic, scalpers looking for and selling tickets, and every parking space in the area occupied. All of this for the almighty Zoso you might ask? You bet. The line wrapped around the block as people walked up and down the street begging for extras of which I saw being sold for $50.00. Fifty fucking dollars? Wow, these guys must be fucking mind blowing. I had seen Zoso about 5 years ago and remembered them being pretty good. Wow, did they get that much better? Did Jimmy Page join them? I couldn’t wait to find out.
After standing in line to get my $4.00 beer and remembering why I don’t drink at shows, I made my through the diversely aged crowd of cigarette smoke, shitty perfume, and over used Axe body spray to the front of the stage. What kind of audience would make up a sold out 1,000 person Zoso crowd? I’m glad you asked. As I said, it was a very diverse crowd. There were people there I heard talking about seeing Zeppelin back in the day at the Omni Arena in Atlanta, there were teenagers with their bad skin, bad hair, and Target purchased vintage Zeppelin shirts, and then you had the aging frat boys/sorority girls who you could tell were just pumped to have found a babysitter and be out of the house past 10pm. It really was a pretty amazing audience in itself and this was all before the show.
As the curtain parted before a roaring crowd, there was Zoso delivering the opening number “Rock N’ Roll” to their loyal fan base. Right away I was just taken back at how somewhat disjointed they sounded. Were they trying to replicate a significant looseness or were they just not locking in? The band followed up with “Good Times, Bad Times” and once again the drummer and the bassist seemed to be having trouble locking in with each to even get the intro right. I looked around and nobody seemed to be bothered by this so what the hell? As long as everyone’s having fun right?
In all honesty, with each song I found myself growing a bit more bored. “Dazed and Confused” was in my opinion the wrong song to do just before taking a set break. They should’ve given us something of a bang to have us wanting more but for me, I actually wanted a break from them after “Dazed and Confused.” The band returned from their break with “The Ocean” and once again was met with very minimal enthusiasm from the crowd. I just couldn’t help but feel that maybe these guys just didn’t have the commanding presence that they needed to really captivate their audience. Whatever it was, that connection wasn’t made.
Some people flock to go see these tribute bands as a way to relive a amazing memory from their past. For others it’s a way to see something that they didn’t get to experience and to others it may just be a night out. I wouldn’t by a long shot call myself a Zeppefile but I am a fan and all I can say is that I didn’t feel like I really saw that spirit of Led Zeppelin captured. Maybe it’s just that the spirit of Zeppelin is impossible to catch. Maybe it’s that what Led Zeppelin had was something so real and so unique that no matter how meticulous you are with studying and replicating their moves, their accents, and their songs that you will still never come close to catching. Tickets for Zoso were $20 and some change. Save that money and go pick up a copy of Led Zeppelin’s “DVD.” Invite your friends over, get some beers, some good food, and settle into the real thing. After all, Led Zeppelin was amazing and Zoso is, well, Soso.