CLEARWATER — Remember when you used to listen to an entire album? Sliding the record out of the sleeve and dropping the LP onto the turntable? Lowering the tone arm and watching the needle as it connected with the vinyl?
The musicians behind Classic Albums Live Series remember.
The Classic Albums Live Series is set to make a return to Clearwater with five performances. The series will get underway with The Eagles’ “Hotel California,” presented Saturday, Nov. 6, 8 p.m., at Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater.
This year’s series will include two performances at Ruth Eckerd Hall and three performances at the Nancy and David Bilheimer Capitol Theatre. Single tickets and packages for all five shows are on sale now. Tickets start at $35. Call 727-791-7400 or visit www.rutheckerdhall.com.
Classic Albums Live isn’t just some ordinary cover band.
Like a symphony orchestra performing the works of Mozart, Classic Albums Live forgoes the gimmickry of costumes and impersonations, putting the music first. These world-class musicians tackle iconic music, concentrating solely on re-creating it as you remember it from the original recording. The attention to detail is staggering: Every sound from the album is re-created live on stage by world-class musicians assembled for each album presentation.
"This has never been done before," explained Craig Martin, series producer, in a statement from Paquin Entertainment Group. "There's a real thirst to hear these albums performed start to finish. For many of us, this is the music we grew up with — the soundtrack of our lives."
Martin said that all focus is on the music.
"We perform the works of the Beatles, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin the same way an orchestra performs the works of Mozart,” Martin said. “We don't bother with imitation or impersonation. The bands are big — upwards of 11 pieces. We research these albums and go to great lengths to reproduce each and every sound live. We never use tape or computers. We'll bring in a children's choir, a sitar player, a string quartet — whatever it takes to get it right."
Each album calls for a new group of musicians.
"That's the real challenge," said Martin, "Finding the right musicians for the right album. So far we've been bang on with every performance."
Following is a look at the 2021-2022 Classic Albums Live Series. Times, dates, performances and description of performances are subject to change.
The Eagles: ‘Hotel California’
Saturday, Nov. 6 at 8 p.m., at Ruth Eckerd Hall
“Hotel California” is the fifth studio album by American rock band the Eagles. The album topped the Billboard Top Albums chart and earned the band two Grammy Awards. “Hotel California” also was nominated for Album of the Year. Three singles were released from the album with two — “New Kid in Town” and “Hotel California” — topping the Billboard Hot 100. “Life in the Fast Lane” peaked at No. 11. “Hotel California” is one of the best-selling albums of all time with sales of over 42 million copies worldwide. In 2003 and 2012, it was ranked No. 37 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 50 Greatest Albums of All-Time.
Rolling Stones: ‘Let It Bleed’
Wednesday, Dec. 15 at 8 p.m. at the Bilheimer Capitol Theatre
“Let It Bleed” was released by the Rolling Stones in 1969 and charted Top 10 in several markets, including reaching No. 1 in the UK and No. 3 in the United States. While no high-charting singles were released from the album, many of the album’s songs became staples of Rolling Stones live shows and on rock radio stations for decades to come, including “Gimme Shelter” and “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” both of which appear on best-ever song lists, including 2004’s 500 Greatest Songs of All-Time by Rolling Stone magazine. In 2005, the album was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
The Who: ‘Who’s Next’
Sunday, Jan. 16 at 8 p.m. at Ruth Eckerd Hall
“Who’s Next,” the fifth studio album by The Who, was an immediate success when it was released in 1971. The band made prominent use of synthesizers on the album, particularly on “Won’t Get Fooled Again” and “Baba O’Riley,” which were both released as singles. The album has been viewed by many critics as The Who’s best album and one of the greatest albums of all-time.
The Beatles: ‘Let It Be’
Friday, Feb. 11 at 8 p.m. at the Bilheimer Capitol Theatre
“Let It Be” was the 12th and final studio album by the Beatles. It was released in 1970, almost a month after the group’s break-up, in tandem with the motion picture of the same name. Like most of the band’s previous releases, the album topped record charts in many countries, including the United States and the UK. Hit singles included the title track, as well as “I Me Mine,” “I’ve Got a Feeling” and the iconic hit “The Long and Winding Road.”
Led Zeppelin: ‘Led Zeppelin I’
Saturday, April 16 at 8 p.m. at the Bilheimer Capitol Theatre
The debut album by Led Zeppelin was released in 1969 and showed the group’s fusion of blues and rock. Their take on the emerging hard rock sound was immediately commercially successful in both the UK and the United States, reaching the Top 10 on album charts in both countries, as well as several others. Many of the songs were longer and not well suited to be released as singles for radio airplay. Guitarist Jimmy Page was reluctant to release singles, so only “Good Times Bad Times” backed with “Communication Breakdown” was released outside the UK. However, due to exposure on album-orientated-rock radio stations and the huge popularity of the band, many of the album’s songs have become classic rock radio staples, including “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You,” “Dazed and Confused” and “Your Time is Gonna Come.”