January 27, 2015

Photo Essay: Led Zeppelin, In Lasers

I have a bit of an addictive personality.

When I get something I like, I want more of it.

But then again, I always want something new.

Last week I had such an amazing time listening to the Pink Floyd album Dark Side of the Moon in its entirety accompanied by a laser light show, I couldn't wait to return to Laserium's modest studio in Van Nuys to see what they could do with a program of Led Zeppelin music.

I didn't grow up on Led Zeppelin. My father had 45s of "Immigrant Song" and "Rock and Roll," which I discovered later, but he never played them. I never saw music videos or concert clips on MTV's Closet Classics show, which is how I discovered a lot of music from the '60s and '70s not in my father's record collection. It didn't occur to me that Robert Plant, whose hits "Big Log" and "In the Mood" I loved, was anything more than Robert Plant the solo artist, or the lead singer of The Honeydrippers.

That is, until my senior year of high school, riding in the backseat of my father's car while he drove me to Massachusetts for my one allowed out-of-state prospective college visit. "Whole Lotta Love" came on the radio, and it was blowing my mind. My eyes were bugging out of my head. Finally, during that crazy instrumental bridge, and when Robert Plant is just agonizingly screeching, "Wayyy downnn insiiiide...", I asked my father, "What is this?!"

"This," he said, "is a band called Led Zeppelin."

Most of their songs still make my head explode when I hear them on the radio. Sometimes, "Ramble On" or "Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You" are just too much: I'm not prepared to be knocked over when I have to operate heavy machinery, and so I change the station.

But I could prepare myself for the Laserium show. And as I settled into my front row seat, I thought, "All right, blow me away."

And Laserium delivered.

I was sitting directly in the path of the fog machine output, the psychedelic, shape-shifting laser beams shooting out over my head, other rays bouncing off mirrors and directly into my eyeballs. With no one sitting in front of me, I could have a truly cosmic experience, escaping reality for just an hour or so, which, these days, is priceless.

I suppose those who got to experience Laserium's show projected on the domed ceiling of the Griffith Observatory might be disappointed at the small scale of their current productions. But I have nothing to compare it to. And it's been a long time since I rock and rolled.

But for one night, I got the led out.

Related Posts:
Photo Essay: Laser Side of the Moon
James Turrell Turned My Eyeballs Inside-Out
A Cell for All Perceptions

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