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NM Philharmonic ready to rock some Zeppelin hits

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The New Mexico Phiharmonic will wrap a five-piece rock band in the roar of Led Zeppelin on Saturday, Nov. 18.

“The Music of Led Zeppelin” will present this hybrid of symphonic shredding at Popejoy Hall.

Randy Jackson will sing the music of Led Zeppelin with the New Mexico Philharmonic.

Arranger Brent Havens has been producing similar shows across the country for 22 years. The programs incorporate the music of everyone from Queen, the Eagles, David Bowie, Whitney Houston to Michael Jackson and the Rolling Stones with full orchestration.

Last January, the Philharmonic performed a U2 concert from Havens’ stable of programs.

It all started in Virginia in 1995. A local orchestra asked Havens to arrange Led Zeppelin songs for symphony. He presented them with charts for both the orchestra and a rock band.

“I was doing scores for TV,” Havens said in a phone interview from his Virginia Beach home. ” I was a film score writer.

“Their thought was doing it only with the orchestra,” he continued. “Most orchestras were afraid early on. They said, ‘Our audience won’t like it.’ The whole point was to bring in a whole new audience. It sort of exploded after that.”

The Albuquerque show will add a five-piece band, including lead singer Randy Jackson, of the 1980s band Zebra, to the orchestra.

“The orchestra becomes part of the band,” Havens said. “Every instrument on stage is miked.

“You’re going to hear all the big hits,” he added, “particularly things like ‘Kashmir,’ “Black Dog,’ ‘The Ocean’ and some more obscure numbers.

“Of course, you’re not going to get out of the building without hearing ‘Stairway to Heaven.’ ”


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