Opinion: Tribute bands attempt to give the ultimate concert experience



Megan L.Brown

Megan L.Brown

Megan L. Brown is a junior magazine journalism major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected]

The ultimate way to show your respect and admiration for your all-time favorite musician or iconic band is to pay tribute to them. You can do this by playing a memorable song of theirs, or maybe even transforming into them night after night; I’m talking about tribute bands.

What started off many years ago as a way for friends to get together and celebrate their favorite music has now become an important and rewarding part of the rock ‘n’ roll scene. Some of the best tribute acts sound more like the original lineups of bands than the actual bands do now — that’s why bands like these are so popular; a tribute band can make $3,000-$5,000, up to $10,000 or more for a single night’s work. The top tribute bands in the business have become so well-known to touring and keeping the spirit of rock ‘n’ alive by performing the songs we all know and love.

Performing this Friday at Cleveland’s House of Blues is the Pink Floyd tribute band, Wish You Were Here, a favorite among Midwest Americans. They are known for their combination of theatrics including sight and sound to capture the mood, emotions and intensity of a real Pink Floyd experience. The band will perform Pink Floyd’s Live at Pompeii, which was a 1972 film recorded of the band’s performance in the ancient Roman amphitheater in Pompeii, Italy, over four days in 1971. I am very anxious to their performance for the first time because I know I will never get to experience an actual Pink Floyd with the original members due to the death of keyboardist Richard Wright and touring/musical differences between members Roger Waters, David Gilmour and Nick Mason. Some bands even take it to the next level and transform themselves into whomever they are musically giving tribute to. Wild Child, a Doors tribute band based out of Los Angeles, has been playing for 18 years and lead singer Dave Brock gives an outstanding performance as Jim Morrison. He goes on stage in black, leather pants and dances in a daze just like Jim Morrison did, and his voice is uncannily similar to Morrison’s.

I still have hope that three of the four surviving members of Led Zeppelin will reunite once more as they did in 2007, with deceased member, John Bonham’s son on the drums. I saw Led Zeppelin lead singer Robert Plant with his group Band of Joy in 2011 and enjoyed every minute, but I did not and could not get the actual Led Zeppelin experience like my father did in 1973. The only glimpse I have had is with the tribute band ZOSO.The powerful combination of Plant’s voice and Jimmy Page’s guitar work is hard to replicate, but ZOSO has established themselves as the leading Zeppelin tribute band in the world. Bands from this generation such as Arcade Fire, Kings of Leon, Mumford and Sons and The Black Keys are likely to have tribute bands in the future. Their music and influence tend to shine among the rest and bring in loyal fans. Essentially, tribute bands are keeping the classic music alive. We may never get a chance in our lifetime to see certain tremendous bands, but the dedicated fans can pave the way to an ultimate concert experience. And can you believe these people are getting paid for this? I think they deserve every penny earned. It takes plenty of talent, energy and charisma to put on tribute shows like these performers do.