Rock guru in awe of rock legends
By TABATHA FULKER
ROCK historian Glenn A Baker yesterday proved he feels a Whole Lotta Love for Led Zeppelin, but the Rock Brain of the Universe never saw the band play live.
Baker, a three-time winner of the BBC's Rock Brain of the Universe award, opened One Night Stand with Led Zeppelin, a photo exhibition by Ocean Shores photographer Ted Harvey at Lismore Regional Gallery.
The exhibition shows for the first time former music photographer Harvey's photographs of media-shy Led Zeppelin at their only Australian show at Sydney Showgrounds in 1972.
But, despite Baker's lament that he never saw the rock gods take the stage, he has an encyclopaedic knowledge of their music.
"Led Zeppelin were the kings of cock rock," he said, nodding at a blown-up image of Robert Plant in tight 'Plant's package' pants, taken by Harvey in 1972.
"They have a timeless quality ? heavy as an anvil, clear as a bell. Hearing them play remains a cathartic experience."
Baker was a 20-year-old when Led Zeppelin played their only Australian show, and he has fond memories on the birth of stadium rock.
"There were Spinal Tap elements that can't be denied," he said.
"Rock concerts in the early 70s discovered elephant dollars ? arena gigs where the turnstiles were spinning and the Marshall amp stack let you play as loud as you wanted.
"It was the beginning of rock's concert epoch. They were new young gods, and Led Zeppelin were at the top. Zeppelin were like alchemy, their music summoned the elements.
"The tracks still stand up ? just as The Beatles Abbey Road period, Zeppelin's first album was excessive and flamboyant, all this powerful thunder burst out. There was nothing as tempestuous as that time and album."
One Night Stand with Led Zeppelin is open for viewing today only at the gallery, 10am4pm.
The exhibition is a fundraiser for PhotoAid (inspired by BandAid), with donations and offers of sponsorship going to supporting a Brazilian child through Compassion Australia.