Symphony of Rock with Michael White and The White for Orchestral Zeppelin
March 3 2012 – Michael White and his band members (aka The White) rolled into the Danforth Music Hall tonight. They also brought with them an orchestra conductor (aka the music teacher) and twenty or so high school students (aka The Symphony of Rock) from across Ontario. The occasion was to present a musical journey aptly entitled Orchestral Zeppelin.
This show was greatly anticipated and we had a chance to speak to Michael before the show in an exclusive interview (found here). During that interview we asked Michael how the concept of Orchestral Zeppelin came to be, and this is what he told us:
“White: After playing so many shows and singing those songs so many times, I started to hear how I might vary the vocal melodies and harmonize with guitar lines and so on. After seeing Page and Plant in 1995 with the orchestra on stage I thought that’s what I want to do…but how to do it. At the time I didn’t really know how to read music and I am a totally self taught musician so how to get from point a to point b presented a problem. So over the next 10 years I kept returning to the idea of orchestra rock and eventually music writing software would become affordable and so I bought a program and forced myself to to learn how to use it. It was not easy and I had a lot of help along the way from arrangers and conductors who were very generous with their time and patience. It took four years to complete my orchestra arrangements of fifteen Led Zeppelin songs, enough to play a two hour show that I could be proud of.”
Dano Murray of The White
Tonight’s gig was flawlessly executed and one would think that The White and The Symphony of Rock had been playing together for years. The audience was very responsive to the timeless Zeppelin masterpieces and all thirty or so performers on the stage brought the house down. This visionary show ensures that Led Zeppelin’s timeless legacy continues and it was moving to witness the right side of the stage with the aging rockers (Ed. Note – no offense guys LOL) in contrast with the left side of the stage and the next generation of Zeppelin fans who were not even born when Led Zeppelin broke up for good in 1980. “Michael is genuinely concerned with cultivating the next generation of musicians“, said Mark Kissel, a Toronto High School music teacher and last night’s conductor of the Symphony of Rock. “By arranging these pieces and bringing young musicians together to perform on stage with professional musicians, he is giving them the opportunity of a lifetime and a learning experience that rivals any classroom curriculum.“
Mark Kissel conducting the Symphony Of Rock
The setlist tonight was:
When The Levee Breaks
The Immigrant Song
Your Time Is Gonna Come
Dazed and Confused
Bring It On Home
Stairway To Heaven
Whole Lotta Love
We have mentioned previously that as huge Led Zeppelin fans we are grateful to be totally spoiled living in Toronto where Michael White resides and frequently performs, and now having added the Orchestral show back in his repertoire there is even more variety to choose from. (Michael White and The White are currently performing Zeppelin’s albums in order at the Sound Academy – read our reviews of Led Zeppelin 1, Led Zeppelin 2 and Led Zeppelin 3 from the discography series). The White are Danno Murray – Guitars, Brian Wall – Drums and Davin Goudie – Bass.
Kissel (conductor) and White (vocalist) right after the Orchestral Zeppelin gig
VERDICT: If you missed this show, hit yourself in the head and make plans to see it next time it is being performed.
Update: One of our readers Daraious rightfully reminded us on Facebook that we forgot to mention a highlight – “You left out one of the highlights of the show Terry, and that was the “extra” that was brought in to Brian’s usually brilliant drum solo for Moby Dick. The combination of duet and dueling of Brian on the kit and Shamaka Ali on percussion was just brilliant!”
In the meantime here are No Quarter and Stairway To Heaven from tonight’s gig to capture the merging of two totally different generations preserving some of the greatest music ever composed.