St. Louis Gives Celebration Day ‘A Whole Lotta Love’ at The Pageant

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Celebration Day: A Tribute to Led Zeppelin features some of the most talented musicians and singers in the St. Louis area. On lead vocals is Mark Quinn (of El Monstero and Joe Dirt and the Dirty Boys), lead guitar is Jimmy Griffin (of El Monstero and The Incurables), drums is John Pessoni (of El Monstero, The Urge, Joe Dirt and the Dirty Boys, and Stir), bass is Cubby Smith (of Dr. Zhivegas) and keyboard is Dave Grelle (of The Feed and Core Project). Each member of Celebration Day plays in St. Louis area bands, but for a few nights each year they come together to put on one the best Led Zeppelin tribute shows in the country.

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That’s exactly what they did Saturday night at The Pageant in St. Louis. Now, I’ve seen Celebration Day before at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheater, but I have never seen them play at The Pageant. There’s just something different about seeing a band play at a smaller venue, like The Pageant. When I saw them play at the amphitheater they opened for El Monstero, which most of the band members also play in, I thought they were pretty good. Now that I’ve seen them play at The Pageant, I think they’re amazing.

No other experience can compare to seeing a band play in smaller venue because you really feel like you’re part of the show. You’re closer to everybody there and everybody is vibing to great music. It’s a pretty good feeling and unlike the amphitheater where you sit on the lawn. Well, that’s where I sit because as somebody once told me, “The party is in the lawn.” However, when you’re closer to the stage, you can feel every note coursing through your body. It’s a different experience when you’re closer and it’s an inside venue.

Celebration Day played all of the hits when you think of Led Zeppelin, but they also played some songs that surprised me. They opened with a classic Led Zeppelin song “Heartbreaker” off the “Led Zeppelin II” album. Throughout the night they played other classics like: “Black Dog,” “Immigrant Song,” “Moby Dick,” “All My Love,” “Stairway To Heaven” and “Whole Lotta Love.” Then, they also played some songs that I was expecting like: “No Quarter,” “Dazed And Confused,” “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You,” “In The Light,” “Fool In The Rain” and “The Rain Song.”

Over the course of the whole night they played 30 Led Zeppelin songs for a full three and half hours of pure rock ‘n’ roll. Their last song of the set was “Whole Lotta Love,” but the crowd was not ready to go home just yet and neither was the band. After a few minutes of a standing ovation from the crowd, they came back out to an encore.

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Before they started the encore lead singer Mark Quinn said, “There’s a curfew we have to go by, but we got time for one more song.” The first encore song they played was “Kashmir” off the “Physical Graffiti” album. Even though they said they only had time for one more song, guitarist Jimmy Griffin wasn’t ready to leave.

After they finished playing “Kashmir,” Mark Quinn told the crowd, “I guess Jimmy doesn’t want to go home yet.” They then played their final encore song, “Rock And Roll” of the “Led Zeppelin IV” album.

If you didn’t get a chance to see Celebration Day this time around, they might play a summer show because Mark Quinn asked the crowd if they should play one. As expected the crowd answered with cheers and applause. So, be on the lookout for details concerning their summer show if you want to see Celebration Day, which I highly suggest you do.

Written and photographed by Alex St. Peters