Main        |      Studio and Live Gear|News|Contact

Strict Standards: Declaration of JCacheControllerView::get() should be compatible with JCacheController::get($id, $group = NULL) in /home/content/15/10777215/html/libraries/joomla/cache/controller/view.php on line 137

Myrtle Beach 'Zeppelin' coaster gets test run

Myrtle Beach 'Zepplin' coaster gets test run
Photo courtesy of Arthur Levine

Visiting the Led Zeppelin roller coaster at the new Hard Rock theme park has been a ritual for Steve Ammons over the past few months, even though the park and the ride are still several months from opening.

"I'm a big fan of the manufacturer of this roller coaster and a big fan of Led Zeppelin," said Ammons, an Ocean Isle Beach, N.C., resident who came to watch the first public test run of the roller coaster from the street Sunday afternoon. "I've been watching the construction on the Web site and we try to stop by every month just to see how it's coming along."

Steve Ammons' wife, Carrie, and 5-year-old son, Garrett, also watched from the fence surrounding the park on George Bishop Parkway.

"We travel around the country going to roller coasters," said Carrie Ammons. "My husband is a bit of a fanatic."

Steve Ammons wasn't the only enthusiast watching the test run Sunday. More than 30 cars lined up along the road and the median to watch park officials christen the ride during a press conference before its premiere voyage.

Unlike a ship's christening, the rockers at the theme park opted not to destroy a good bottle of booze. They broke something a little more fitting before they let the coaster roll.

"This is the Hard Rock Park. We don't break champagne. We smash guitars," said Jon Binkowski, the park's chief creative officer, minutes before park chief executive officer Steven Goodwin slammed what looked like a Fender Stratocaster to pieces on one of the ride's concrete anchors.

A litany of "oohs," "ahhs" and at least one "ALL-RIGHT!" followed.

One Hard Rock Park employee said although the coaster itself is "awesome," he thought a special group of participants Sunday deserved some recognition.

"Right now we are risking the lives of the water dummies," said Edgar Hill, a manager in the Hard Rock Park's Backstage Tour department.

Hill explained that water dummies are white, plastic jugs filled with water and strapped into roller coasters' seats to mimic people for testing before the rides are people-approved.

"You've gotta give kudos to the water dummies, man," he said.

Before the water dummies took their plunge down the ride's initial, 155-foot drop, Binkowski highlighted some of the roller coaster's key features.

Each of the ride's three trains has a built-in, 64-speaker, 1,200-watt sound system. While the ride itself only lasts 90 seconds, the "Led Zeppelin - The Ride" experience lasts the entire 5½ minutes of the band's 1969 hit song Whole Lotta Love.

The ride's peak is as high as the Federal Aviation Administration will allow. It's partially over water and it features a 120-foot-tall loop, a 90-foot cobra roll - an inverted roll that takes a rider upside down twice - and a 75-foot-tall zero-gravity roll - a hill with a twisted track at its peak that turns the roller coaster car 360 degrees.

For Connie David, a 51-year-old Hunter's Ridge resident, the music will be the best part of the roller coaster, and the park in general.

"I graduated from high school in the '70s, so this is my music," said David, who lay across the roof of her car taking video of the test run with her cell phone. "I'm going to show this to my 14-year-old. I'm trying to get my daughter to come with me to the park when it opens."

David, who was wearing a Styx T-shirt and had several Beatles posters and pieces of memorabilia in her car, said she wishes the roller coaster were taller, but that doesn't mean she won't enjoy the ride.

"I wish it hadn't had the height restrictions because of the airport. I've been on much taller roller coasters," she said. "I think the music should make the ride really cool though."

David said her children don't listen to the same music as she and her fiance, who are already trying to buy tickets for a Moody Blues concert scheduled at the park's venue.

"They'd like it if there was an alternative or modern rock part of the park, but hopefully they'll come with me," she said.

Some younger fans also lined up to sneak a peek at the roller coaster. August Erbland, a 14-year-old Myrtle Beach resident wearing John Lennon sunglasses, tried to jockey his position to see the ceremonial guitar smashing.

"I've been on, like, 43 roller coasters. This one is really fast. It has a lot of loops," August said.

"He's been telling us he wants to be the first one to ride on the roller coaster when it opens," his mother, Pam Erbland, said.

She said the whole family is excited to see the bands the venue will also bring to town.

"We were sad to see the old Pavilion go, but this is going to be pretty cool," Pam Erbland, 49, said.

Despite the enthusiasm over the ride itself, for a lot of the people gathered at the demonstration, the music will be the most exciting part.

"I'm completely excited about the park focusing on the musical experience," said Dawn Owens, a 34-year-old Myrtle Beach resident who took a break from work to walk to the park and watch. "It's about time that music really got its due recognition."

From: CHARLOTTE.COM

ADVERTISEMENTS

Candy Store Rock Gifts

Novel gifts for the consummate Led Zeppelin fan, as well as the best selection of quality gifts and accessories for musicians.

This Month in
Led Zeppelin History


Deprecated: mysql_connect(): The mysql extension is deprecated and will be removed in the future: use mysqli or PDO instead in /home/content/15/10777215/html/templates/lzorg1/index.php on line 148
October xx, 1968 - Led Zeppelin is recorded
October 19, 1968 - Final performance as the New Yardbirds
October 31, 1969 - Led Zeppelin II is released in the US
October 17, 1969 - Bonham is thrilled to play Carnegie Hall where Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa have performed
October 23, 1970 - Led Zeppelin III is released in the US
October xx, 1970 - The press lash out at the band over the Led Zeppelin III acoustic content
October xx, 1971 - Page and Plant venture around Thailand and India after the Japan tour
October 18, 1972 - Zeppelin rehearse at the Rainbow Theater for a UK tour
October xx, 1973 - Each member performs an individual film sequence for their concept film
October 31, 1974 - Swan Song hosts a party for the launch of its UK division
October xx, 1975 - Led Zeppelin decide not to tour and concentrate on recording new material
October 20, 1976 - The Song Remains The Same premieres at New York’s Cinema One
October xx, 1977 - Jimmy starts assembling a Led Zeppelin live album from recordings as far back as 1969
October xx, 1978 - Jones and Bonham record with Paul McCartney at Abbey Road Studios
October xx, 1978 - Rehearsals for In Through The Out Door in London
October xx, 1979 - All nine Led Zeppelin albums enter the Billboards Top 200 -- no other band has ever achieved this
October 10, 1980 - A private funeral is held for John Bonham at Rushock church in Worcestershire
© 1996 - 2017 Led Zeppelin: Achilles Last Stand - All Rights Reserved
Advertise | Disclaimer | Site Map