Fred Morgan used to sneak his uncle’s Led Zeppelin LPs, the early albums including the 1969 eponymous debut and 1973’s “Houses of the Holy.”
There was something life-altering about John Bonham’s drumming; Morgan, then a fledgling drummer, was enamored.
“When I heard John Bonham and I heard his bass drum, it got me more into playing drums,” said the Tucson Symphony Orchestra percussionist, who might get a chance to channel his inner Bonham when the orchestra performs “Music of Led Zeppelin: A Rock Symphony” on Friday, March 25. “A lot of drummers I knew, older drummers, really liked John Bonham and I remember hearing a lot about him when I was learning to play. I used to listen to the LPs.”
“The Music of Led Zeppelin” is a production of Windborne Music, a group that produces symphony concerts based on the music of famous rock bands. Led Zeppelin was the first one, created by Brent Havens and featuring a rock band fronted by vocalist Randy Jackson. The two-plus-hour show surveys 18 of the British rock band’s greatest hits, including the haunting “Stairway to Heaven,” ranked in the top five of various all-time greatest rock songs lists. Also expect to hear “Heartbreaker,” “Black Dog” and “Immigrant Song.”
In a written statement, Havens said his concept with the Zep show was “to take the music as close to the originals as we could and then add some colors to enhance what Zep had done.”
“The wonderful thing with an orchestra is that you have an entire palette to call upon,” he said. “The band is reproducing what Led Zeppelin did on the albums, verbatim, and then having an orchestra behind the band gives the music a richness, a whole different feel, a whole different sense of power.”
Morgan, 36, is fully anticipating experiencing some sort of flashback to his youth when he is on stage Friday night. And that may come when they perform his all-time favorite Led Zeppelin song “Good Times Bad Times.”
“That was the tune that everyone heard John Bonham for the first time,” he said.