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January 18, 2018

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Brody Dolyniuk: If he keeps on playin’, the levee’s gonna break


Erik Kabik/

Brody Dolyniuk sings in “The Symphonic Rock Show,” which features a band and 25 orchestral musicians, at Reynolds Hall in the Smith Center for the Performing Arts on Friday, Aug. 24, 2012.

'The Symphonic Rock Show' at Smith Center

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We lead off this column about Brody Dolyniuk’s latest rock ’n’ roll exploration project with a word of advice:

If there's a bustle in your hedgerow, don't be alarmed now. It's just a spring clean for the May Queen.

Astute Led Zeppelin fans (and even more astute spring cleaners) will recognize that stretch as a lyric from “Stairway to Heaven,” which Dolyniuk is revising Friday night at 8 at Reynolds Hall in the Smith Center for the Performing Arts.

Dolyniuk’s Led Zep tribute outfit is aptly named Zeppelin USA, but as is Dolyniuk’s wont, this is far more adventurous a performance than a mere recitation of Led Zep’s most familiar songs.

“We’ll have multimedia on the screens and a lot of live camera footage of the band, but it’s not going to be regular footage. We’ll have a lot of special effects on that video,” Dolyniuk said during a phone conversation from his new home in Mission Viejo, Calif. “We’ll have imagery paying homage to Led Zep.”

And lasers. There will be lasers, indeed. Dolyniuk, founder of the longstanding and steadfastly popular classic-rock cover band Yellow Brick Road, has partnered with a company called Paramount Laser Spectacular to produce a spirited union of piercing light and sound.

As always, Dolyniuk is joined by some of the city’s finest performers. YBR fans will quickly recognize multi-instrumentalist Jonathan Gilcrest on … multiple instruments, pretty much everything except the glockenspiel.

Nina DiGregorio is leading a quartet of players from her ever-vibrant Bella Electric Strings violin ensemble. Vocalist Maren Wade, known for her work in shows such as “Vegas! The Show” and Terry Bradshaw’s touring production (she joined him last year at the Mirage), also is in the lineup.

And Vegas scenesters will delight in the addition of harmonica ace Joe Calitri for “When the Levee Breaks.” An impassioned sort who frequents all variety of live-music venues, Calitri often clambers onstage to join Santa Fe & The Fat City Horns at the Palms and has been a YBR fan for years.

“I’m really, really glad that this is a show we’re doing as a tribute band where we’re not dressing up in wigs and costumes,” Dolyniuk said. “And we’ve made decisions about what to play based not on record sales or commercial success, but what we think are the best songs to play in front of a big audience.”

The first set will be the terrific “Led Zeppelin IV” album in its entirety. The second will be a collection of some of Dolyniuk’s favorites. Asking Dolyniuk to name-check his “favorites” among Led Zeppelin songs invites the response, “It’d be easier to name the ones that are not among my favorites.”

He did roll through a few songs, in an off-the-top-of-his head fashion: “Goin’ to California,” “When the Levee Breaks,” “The Rain Song” and “Traveling Riverside Blues” among them.

Dolyniuk says dusting off “Led Zeppelin IV” was an easy decision.

“It’s the one Zep album to take with you to a deserted island. You can’t deny ‘Rock and Roll,’ ‘Stairway,’ ‘Black Dog.’”

Obviously, this will be a show for fans to geek out to Led Zep, but there is a lot of heart behind this latest effort by Dolyniuk.

“I love all these tunes — I really do,” he said. “I’m always trying to get people to discern the difference between glamor and hype and actual talent.”

And there is no doubt what you'll see, amid some early spring cleaning, on Friday night.

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