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ZoSo, the Ultimate Led Zeppelin Experience

Friday, February 1, at House of Blues' Cambridge Room.

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You can bet that when the tribute band ZoSo — which bills itself as the Ultimate Led Zeppelin Experience — formed in Los Angeles back in 1995, it never expected to one day compete with the actual Led Zeppelin for your concert dollars. The legendary British band's much-hyped reunion concert in November is most likely a prelude to a full-scale world tour. So now it comes time to ask yourself the difficult but necessary question: In 2008, which really is the ultimate Led Zeppelin experience — Led Zeppelin or ZoSo?

Prepare to shit your dragon pants, rock and roll purists, because the answer is ZoSo. Sure, Jimmy Page is a better guitarist, with more complexity and nuance in his playing than ZoSo's Page-alike Mike Morgan. And nobody can be as effortlessly cool as John Paul Jones. However, Morgan knows the tunes inside and out, and let's be honest: Do you really care if someone drops a diminished ninth arpeggio into E Mixolydian mode or whatever? Or do you just wanna drink beer and rock the fuck out to that killer "Whole Lotta Love" riff? Besides, frontman Matt Jernigan's pitch-perfect wail and long curly hair out-Plants Robert Plant these days. And the drummer who impersonates John Bonham in ZoSo does a far better job than the drummer who impersonates John Bonham in Led Zeppelin — even if it is Bonham's own son.

Granted, ZoSo doesn't have the same aura and mystique (or pull to charge $400 a ticket) as Led Zeppelin. And you can't really stand there and look at these guys and go, "Wow, these dudes actually shagged groupies with fish back in 1969!" But whose attempt at recreating a bygone era would you rather experience: a bunch of old, saggy, haggard shells of themselves or four dudes looking and sounding like they're straight outta The Song Remains the Same?

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