Written by Treva Flores
Traveling back in time to over 30 years before my birth, when rock stars had long curly hair, flower print jackets and flared pants defining their image, this night was a bit of a culture shock.
Led Zepagain and The Ultimate Rolling Stones proved that it doesn’t matter who’s playing at a concert, as long as the atmosphere is light-hearted everyone can have a good time.
The two tribute bands for Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones took over the Riverside Municipal Auditorium for a night of rock’n’roll March 25.
Considering I was probably one of the youngest members of the crowd by at least 20 years, the concert was still a night to remember.
These bands truly admired the music they were playing as well as the image they were portraying for two of the most iconic bands that formed in the 1960s. This concert wasn’t just a gig for them, it was a lifestyle that they fully embraced.
For tribute bands there are only three real requirements: they need to sound like the band musically, they have to match the bands’ image and they must capture the bands’ personality. Without these components the night would be easily forgotten, but The Ultimate Stones as well as Led Zepagain captured the true spirits of the band members they were portraying in each of their performances.
When The Ultimate Stones entered the stage I had no idea what to expect. These full grown men were wearing pink scarves and had feathered haircuts, not something that could easily be taken seriously, but from the second they started playing they captured my immediate attention.
With an over the top Jim Becker leading the stage as Mick Jagger, there was no stopping as the band played their hearts out.
Julz Harris who both portrayed Lisa Fischer and Merry Clayton stole the show with her powerful vocals carrying through each solo. She was more than just a backup singer and was cheered for eagerly after each note.
After an hourlong set featuring songs such as “Gimme Shelter,” “Satisfaction” and “Sympathy for the Devil,” the eight-piece tribute band left the stage for Led Zepagain to take over.
With Swan Montgomery performing as Robert Plant, the band was able to take the night by storm with various high and low notes. Montgomery sounded just like Plant and was fun to watch as he danced around stage, swinging his microphone stand around.
Jimmy Sakurai performed an amazing set as Jimmy Page, switching out his guitars for various songs and playing a double neck guitar with incredible ease. He even played the guitar behind his head and in the air for some of their songs.
Jim Wooten played the role of John Paul Jones on bass and keyboard, switching instruments throughout the set. He was dressed the part nonetheless and seemed to enjoy what he was doing.
Derek Smith performed on drums as John Bonham. Although he seemed to be the youngest member he was one of the most talented with many solos sprinkled into their performance.
They performed like a real team and put on a crazy show with awesome solos showcasing their talented members.
No Zeppelin tribute show would be complete, however, without a rendition of “Stairway to Heaven.” Led Zepagain nailed it and the crowd sang along to the famous song from 1971.
Near the end of the show, the tribute band welcomed 14-year-old drummer Adrian Manuel to play a song. Manuel and Smith had met on Instagram, “and not in a creepy way” said Smith as he introduced the young musician to the stage.
Manuel then proceeded to play a song with the rest of Led Zepagain and clearly having the time of his life while doing it.
The talent Manuel had was clear and it was amazing to see how supportive the tribute band was toward him.
As the night came to a close Led Zepagain welcomed their younger fans to dance with them onstage during the final song. The children played their air guitars and bowed down to Sakurai as he played his final solo.
Although this was a tribute concert for fans of “dad rock,” it was still worth spending a Friday night in the company of middle-aged adults. The night proved that no matter what age, fans could still rock out to their favorite songs.