My best ten bucks ever spent was last night for a ticket to a cover of Led Zeppelin II at the Deerfoot Inn and Casino. The Mike Mackenzie Band paid tribute with select pieces recorded 50 years ago in addition to this album which most likely launched Zeppelin into super stardom. The huge take away from the evening was the affirmation that there are superb musicians amongst us today that are undiscovered and perhaps even under appreciated. MacKenzie’s vocals are stellar. He played lead while absolutely matching the high pitch of Robert Plant. The acoustics of the venue were good in spite of encountering subtle feedback from keyboards. Mackenzie turned to an old faithful he’s performed with past projects, The Rover from Physical Graffiti. Other standouts included Ramble On and Killing Floor. Killing Floor was one of those 1969 releases which showcased the talent of John Paul Jones on bass. The bass player last night can easily be excused for any misses given the complexity. What Mackenzie may be missing in soloing prowess, he makes up for with versatility and chord voicings.
A standout in the set’s second half was “No Quarter”. I just love the keyboard intro and the subtlety of this song. It takes good unrushed time in order to pull this one off and apparently the keys player is new to this Mackenzie ensemble.
Notable omissions were “Kashmir”, “Dazed and Confused”, and “Since I’ve Been Loving You”.
The merchandise sales lady referenced a formal jazz education by Mackenzie right here at Mount Royal College here in Calgary. The man has stage presence and puts the audience at ease with his charisma. With Bonham’s death, Page and Plant espoused that nobody could take the place of the legendary drummer. Well, the rhythm section last night was great support and in fact such confidence was bestowed the drummer that he performed his own solo. The rhythm guitarist pitched in admirably with adept acoustic pieces.