Thursday, December 27, 2012
In Led Zeppelin's case, at the top of the bill, performance by the Foo Fighters, Kid Rock, Lenny Kravitz and Heart provided the moments. Jack Black gave an introduction in the standard Jack Black style, that is to say, just a tad over the top: he really is a perpetual 14-year old and a more mature perspective of the band would have been nice.
The footage shown was edited for time, as early reports had Foo Fighters doing 2 songs, as did Kid Rock. As it was, the Foo Fighter's performed Rock and Roll, with Dave Grohl taking the drum stool and drummer Taylor Hawkins picking up the vocal duties. This is the second time the Foo's have performed this song with this makeup. Their performance of Black Dog, with Hawkins back behind the kit and Grohl singing, didn't make the broadcast.
Kid Rock's performance has the LedZeposphere buzzing this morning, wondering why he was chosen for this honour. Like him or hate him, however, Kid Rock has always paid homage to the rock and rollers who have come before him, and Led Zeppelin's Whole Lotta Love gets a nod on his album Live Trucker when it bridges the songs Somebody's Gotta Feel This and Fists of Rage (go to the 3 minute mark on the linked video). Early reports had it that Kid Rock performed Babe I'm Gonna Leave You and What is and What Should Never Be, however the broadcast had him playing Ramble On.
Lenny Kravitz then performed Whole Lotta Love, while President Barack Obama sang along in the choruses (no word on him belting "woman, you need it..." to Michelle). Kravitz was followed by Jason Bonham appearing behind the drum kit to the obvious surprise and delight of the band themselves. He was then joined onstage by the Wilson sister, Ann and Nancy, of Heart, to perform an abridged version of Stairway to Heaven. As the song progressed, the artists were joined onstage by a small choir and a chamber orchestra, and then by a larger choir, all wearing bowler hats in homage to John Bonham. By the end the band members all seemed moved, with Robert Plant appearing to be moved to tears.
Here is Heart, with Jason Bonham and others, performing Stairway to Heaven.
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Sunday, December 23, 2012
I also discuss a number of interviews over the past two weeks, plus what are the Zeppeliners up to for 2013?
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Of note: I missed this on my Christmas list. If you have a young guitar player in teh house, or bought a guitar for somebody for Chrostmas, don't forget to add Led Zeppelin Guitar Method
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Why yes, now that you mention it:
Fiona Talkington celebrated the New Year with special guest... John Paul Jones, who plays live and chooses a selection of music
This show will air on BBC Radio 3, January 1, 2013 at 11:00PM BBC time (6:00 PM Ramble On Radio (EST) time)
iTunes today released the entire Led Zeppelin studio catalogue, "mastered for iTunes." The songs from all 9 studio albums, including Coda, remastered specifically for iTunes. These are new remasters, improved, one imagines, from the iTunes collection released in 2007 and available until now.
Are they better? I downloaded Fool in the Rain and listened to it side by side with the MP3 I currently have on my iPhone. The verdict? The bottom end is much cleaner, bringing a fuller sound to the song. It's not a big improvement, not a wow! but it is a noticeable improvement.
Each album is available for $9.99 ($12.99 for Physical Graffiti) and songs are $1.29 each, except for In My Time of Dying, Achilles Last Stand and Carouselambra, which are only available as part of their respective album downloads.
Needless to say, this remastering is available only on iTunes.
Monday, December 17, 2012
The prints will be available exclusively from Fairey's online store.
Sunday, December 16, 2012
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Better late than never, The Jason Bonham Led Zeppelin Experience announce six Canadian dates at the end of January and into early February. The tour starts in the only place any tour should start, Southern Ontario, on the last two days of January, and then picks up with four western dates beginning Feb 6th.
The announced dates are:
- January 30: London, Ontario - Centennial Hall
- January 31: Toronto, Ontario - Massey Hall
- February 6: Winnipeg, Manitoba - MTS Centre
- February 7: Regina, Saskatchewan - Casino Regina
- February 8: Edmonton, Alberta - River Cree Resort and Casino
- February 11: Calgary, Alberta - Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium
I have heard no rumours of additional shows, but that doesn't mean there won't be. If there are, I'll add them in bold.
Memo to the band: pack the long underwear, it gets cold around here this time of year, colder still in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
For Plant, Page and Jones, the three looked relaxed, had some fun and seemed to enjoy themselves. Watch the very beginning when Plant starts to laugh as he and Jimmy take the seats farther away, leaving Jones in the seat next to Letterman. An interesting comment, Letterman, on talking about the Kennedy Center Honors Gala, pointed out that Jimmy said to him during the show, "musicians like playing Led Zeppelin music."
Ramble On Radio's good friend Steve, The Lemon, Sauer was at the taping of the show. His report on it was posted on FBO.
Here's the Led Zeppelin portion of last nights David Letterman Show.
Monday, December 3, 2012
...Jack Black took the stage with the bold
statement: “Led Zeppelin is the greatest rock and roll band of all
time. Better than The Beatles! Better than the Stones! Even better
than Tenacious D (referring to his own band). That’s not opinion,
that’s fact! If you don’t agree you never did the Led Zeppelin
marathon,” he said, saying that all “true fans” have to do it: listen
to all of Zeppelin’s albums in a row.
He also noted the band’s wide appeal, spreading from famously liberal
film director Oliver Stone to recent Republican Vice-Presidential
candidate Paul Ryan. “They say that Led Zeppelin sold their souls to
Satan,” possibly the first time such a reference was made at the
Kennedy Center. Looking up at them in the balcony, he chided, “Come
on guys, you know you did! There’s no other way to explain your
ungodly talent! I just want to say ‘thank you,’ because while you’re
in hell, the human race will cherish your heavenly jams until the end
of time! It’s a small price to pay. We love you.”
Black’s pals the Foo Fighters then took the stage. Two months after
frontman Dave Grohl declared that the band was taking a break, they
were back, paying tribute to Zep. Grohl stayed behind the drums,
though, letting drummer Taylor Hawkins take the mic for “Black Dog”
and “Rock and Roll.” Hawkins, who fronts his own band (Taylor Hawkins
and The Coattail Riders), strained to replicate Robert Plant’s vocals;
but then, so do most singers.
That was also an issue for Kid Rock, who followed with “Babe, I’m
Gonna Leave You” and “What Is And What Should Never Be.”* But things
really picked up when Lenny Kravitz took to the stage to sing “Whole
Lotta Love.” While Kravitz usually plays guitar on stage, he just
kept to the mic, concentrating on doing Plant’s vocals justice. After
that, John Bonham’s son, Jason Bonham, who played with Zeppelin at
their 2007 reunion concert recently released as the Celebration Day
live album and DVD, got behind the drums, wearing a bowler hat (which
his father often used to wear).
Heart sisters (and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees) Ann and Nancy
Wilson, longtime Zep disciples, closed the show with an epic version
of “Stairway To Heaven,” complete with a string section, backing
singers and a choir (all wearing Bonzo-esque bowlers).
Throughout the performances, Page beamed, and he, Plant and Jones
seemed to be enjoying each other’s company. Tonight (December 3),
they will appear together alongside a fellow honoree when they guest
on Late Show With David Letterman. It’s the last scheduled event that
the three will appear at, leading fans to wonder if it will be their
final bow. If it is, the Kennedy Center Honors helped to provide a
great last hurrah for the group dubbed by Jack Black as the “Best!
* Note: According to Rolling Stone Kid Rock played Ramble On, not What is and What Should Never Be.
Saturday, December 1, 2012
The bonus disc is worth watching for any Zep fan for a couple of reasons. First, it is a single camera shot so, unlike the actual concert DVD, you get to watch the show from the vantage point of the audience as it would have been witnessed on the night. To see what is happening on the back-screen, get Page's violin bow solo, complete with laser pyramid, is worth the watch. In case you didn't get the idea of how much work went into the one time show from the concert video, the rehearsal video makes it clear.
The second reason to watch the rehearsal video is the music itself. The band is relaxed and their playing superb. Page's soloing is a lot more aggressive, and they pull off some stunning versions of the songs, notably Since I've Been Loving You and For Your Life.
It's not the concert video, itself absolutely superb, but the video of the rehearsal at Shepperton Studio's four days before Led Zeppelin went live for their heralded reunion concert is worth making sure you've spent the extra few dollars when you pick up a copy of Celebration Day for the Zeppelin fan on your Christmas list.
Friday, November 30, 2012
On Monday, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones will be interviewed on fellow honoree David Letterman's late night television show. It seems unlikely they will play on the show, and a rumour that they were scheduled to play an acoustic version of Stairway to Heaven has already been put to rest. However, Plant and Paul Schaffer have a relationship that goes back to his Honeydrippers album, and if there is any member that would be indifferent to performing it is likely Plant.
Whether they play or not, it's a good extended weekend to be a Led Zeppelin watcher.
Light and Shade: Conversations with Jimmy Page is a fairly comprehensive Jimmy Page biography told mostly in Page's own words. Each chapter presents Page in interview form talking about a point in his career: studio, Yardbirds, forming Zeppelin &tc. Each chapter is introduced by Tolinski, and supplemented with an interview with a relevant figure from the era. i.e. Jeff Beck on the early days; John Paul Jones on forming Zeppelin; Paul Rogers on The Firm.
Tolinski manages to tie all the interviews together without bogging the book down in technical details, as often happens when two guitar players get together. Although Tolinski's interviews are originally intended for an audience of fellow guitar players, they will be easily readable to the average fan. What emerges from all the conversation is a fairly clear picture of Page the artist and player, much less so Page the man.
Having read a number of the interviews before, one fear I had when I first heard about Light and Shade: Conversations with Jimmy Page was that it would just be a rehash of the old interviews. However, Tolinski manages to re-edit the interviews to make them seem new and fresh. As well, the supplemental interviews, or "musical interludes," provide enough fresh material to keep things interesting.
Brad Tolinski's Light and Shade: Conversations with Jimmy Page is a fairly quick easy read, broken into enough sections that it can be put down and picked up at leisure. Every Jimmy Page/Led Zeppelin fan will enjoy it, and it would make a perfect Christmas gift for the Led-Head in your house.
Buy on Hardcover
Thursday, November 29, 2012
Plant sounds in very good voice on this night and his interaction with a lively audience is fun to listen to. Clearly the audience was in to it, and the Sensational Space Shifters gave them an uptempo set sprinkled with songs mostly from Plant's solo and Led Zeppelin career.
Unlike other tours, Plant stays fairly true to the originals, making arrangement changes for the instruments in use but not to the basic song itself. Rock and Roll, for instance, which was given a reworking into a rockabilly yawn-a-long, is back to being a solid rocker. Whole Lotta Love is recognizable as such while Black Dog is weirded out musically. The vocal line in the latter, however, is not much changed from the recent Celebration Day release.
Highlights include All The Kings Horses (during the intro of which someone yells, "beautiful man, beautiful"), Going to California and the aforementioned Rock and Roll. But outside of the opening song, Tin Pan Valley, there's nothing in this set that's not excellent. It has been a long time (been a long time, been a long time) since I've enjoyed listening to new Robert Plant music as much as I did this show.
That leaves us with one question: has Plant found his big voice? The answer is unquestionably yes and, having combined it with the half octave harmony vocalist he has learnt to be the last five years, he is effective and dynamic singer fronting a solid and entertaining band. One hopes Patty Griffin has more solo tours lined up in the next couple of years.
- Tin Pan Valley
- Another Tribe
- Somebody Knocking
- Black Dog
- All The Kings Horses
- Bron-Y-Aur Stomp
- Four Sticks
- Ramble On
- Freedom Fries
- Whole Lotta Love
- Going to California
- Rock and Roll
-- Encore --
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Having previously seeing Celebration Day, and loving it it, at the movie theaters, I wasn't expecting any surprises watching it at home on Blu-Ray. It is an excellent concert movie that puts the viewer on-stage in the middle of the action. Watching at home does offer, however, certain advantages and certain disadvantages. You can stop, repeat and review a song or part of a song at home. At the theatre you pay for atmosphere, to not have to put up with distractions and superior theatre sound.
So how come it sounded so much better on my weak Akai sound system circa 1988? Left alone on a Sunday afternoon, I was able to turn it up and just enjoy the concert. It was the perfect home viewing experience.
Lets be clear, if you saw the movie in the theaters, it is exactly the same concert movie. There is nothing new, and the viewing and audio experience is limited only by your personal setup. it was an excellent movie then, and it is excellent sitting in the living room in front of a roaring fire.
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
On top of that, now that it's officially the Christmas season, I have a number of items for review. On top of the Celebration Day CD and BluRay, I have a couple of books, a Robert Plant concert from Livedownloads.com and a guitar book, all needing review before Christmas.
That said, with the Celebration Day release out of the way, it's time for some reviews. I have started already, reviewing the Celebration Day CD yesterday and Barney Hoskyns Led Zeppelin: The Oral History of the World’s Greatest Rock Band today.
Keep reading for more reviews as the week goes along.
Meanwhile, I don't watch much TV, and always figure if I'm watching TV then I have something else I should be doing. Nonetheless, I have seen the ad for Celebration Day twice now in the past few weeks, so I assume everybody has seen it. If not, however, here it is, courtesy of LedZeppelin.com:
Review Week - Day 2: Barney Hoskyns - Led Zeppelin: The Oral History of the Worlds Greatest Rock and Roll Band.
When reading a new bio of Zeppelin, as I've read far too many really, I have a simple metric to determine what kind of bio is it: does it tell the Seattle mud-shark story. If it does, I know it's a book interested in the salacious over the music. I prefer, having heard that story too many times, books that either ignore it acknowledge it without much detail. Led Zeppelin: The Oral History of the World's Greatest Rock Band passes this test.
The book focuses on the band, their music and their unique managerial style, treating the band largely as a five-some, with Peter Grant the fifth Zeppelin member. If something affected the music, or the selling of the music, Hoskyns covers it. And while it provides possibly the most comprehensive look at the bands drug use, particularly Page, Bonham and Grant's descent into heroin or, in the latter case, cocaine, it is always in relation to how it affected the band itself.
Led Zeppelin: The Oral History... is an interesting and reasonably quick read, giving the reader some new insight into what made Led Zeppelin tick, while creating a balance between being salacious and telling the full story. It is a must read for Led Zeppelin fans.
Buy the hardcover
Monday, November 26, 2012
When I tell him what it is, he says, “man that is good.” We finished the drive with a discussion on just how tight Led Zeppelin was on that night of Dec 10, 2007.
I’ve had the CD for a week and-a-half now and I can’t seem to stop listening to it. In the car, at home, walking the dog I listen from start to finish, skipping nothing, over and over. It is simply that good.
Yes, the band is tight, surprising for a one off gig, their first full one in almost 30 years. But anybody with any of the various bootlegs of that night already knew that. But the quality of the sound, the flawless mix make this set so much better.
Celebration Day is Led Zeppelin at their best, and the CD makes for a must listen, a must have for any Led Zeppelin fan.
Friday, November 16, 2012
As well as Celebration Day news and interviews, I review Barney Hoskyns Led Zeppelin: The Oral History of the World's Greatest Rock Band, Brad Tolinski's Light and Shade: Conversations with Jimmy Pageand the latest issue of Tight But Loose.
Jam packed and my longest episode yet, Ramble On Radio #24 is a must listen podcast for every fan excited about Celebration Day.
Listen on Podbean or subscribe on iTunes
Jason Bonham interview in Mojo magazine:
JH: 20-million people applied for tickets to that show, and you could only fit 20,000... are they to be disappointed, or is there likely to be another Led Zeppelin concert?
JP: Well look, we're almost five years after the O2 concert and, I must say, I thought there might be some other sort of get together for some reason or another. But as the years ticked by, you know, one year; two years; three years; four years; now almost five years, it doesn't look very likely does it.
So as is suspected by just about everybody, Page was not the reason there was no more Led Zeppelin shows.
Here's the edited interview. The complete interview airs tonight on BBC television.
Celebration Day the new Led Zeppelin concert film from the 1997 O2 arena show is available in stores Tuesday.
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Meanwhile, in Argentina Sunday night Plant was jumped onstage by a fan. As the band was ending the show a fan ran onstage and directly toward Plant. Plant saw him at the last minute and jumped out of the way, but not before the fan did make contact with a falling Plant. Security then made the exuberant fans night somewhat less than fun. Watch the video here at about 4:30.
Meanwhile, all the South American shows up to Sunday nights is now available for legal download via LiveDownloads.com.
Sunday, November 4, 2012
1.Led Zeppelin: The Oral History of the World's Greatest Rock Bandby Barney Hoskyns (titled Trampled Underfoot in Europe):
With Robert Plant on lead vocal and Jimmy Page on guitar, Led Zeppelin is one of the most iconic, legendary, and influential rock bands in musical history. Tales of their indulgence in sex, drugs, and excess have swirled for decades. In this definitive oral history of the band, Barney Hoskyns finally reveals the truth about Led Zeppelin, paring away the myths and describing what life was really like for four young men on top of the world, enjoying fame on a scale that not even the Beatles experienced as a touring live act. Through fresh new interviews with the surviving band members, close friends, their tour manager, and scores of other fascinating characters, Hoskyns provides deep insights into the personalities of the band members and chronicles the group's dramatic rise, fall, and legacy.
- Based on more than 200 interviews with everyone from Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, and John Paul Jones to road manager Richard Cole, their late manager Peter Grant, and many others central to the Zeppelin story
- Features striking photos of the band both on and offstage, many published here for the first time
- Takes a fresh look at Led Zeppelin's music, cultural significance, and legend, as well as the highs and lows of the sex, drugs, and rock and roll lifestyle on the road
- Analyzes the way the band wrote, arranged, and recorded, from how they created the stupendous sound and dynamics on "Dazed and Confused" and "Whole Lotta Love" to the group's folk-suffused acoustic side embodied in songs like "Friends" and "That's the Way"
- Written by Barney Hoskyns, contributing editor at British Vogue who is the author of the bestselling book Hotel California and the co-founder of online music-journalism library Rock's Backpages
2. Light and Shade: Conversations with Jimmy Page by Brad Tolinski:
This “oral autobiography” of Jimmy Page, the intensely private mastermind behind Led Zeppelin—one of the most enduring bands in rock history—is the most complete and revelatory portrait of the legendary guitarist ever published.
More than 30 years after disbanding in 1980, Led Zeppelin continues to be celebrated for its artistic achievements, broad musical influence, and commercial success. The band's notorious exploits have been chronicled in bestselling books; yet none of the individual members of the band has penned a memoir nor cooperated to any degree with the press or a biographer. In Light & Shade, Jimmy Page, the band’s most reticent and inscrutable member, opens up to journalist Brad Tolinski, for the first time exploring his remarkable life and musical journey in great depth and intimate detail.
Based on extensive interviews conducted with the guitarist/producer over the past 20 years,Light & Shade encompasses Page’s entire career, beginning with his early years as England’s top session guitarist when he worked with artists ranging from Tom Jones, Shirley Bassey, and Burt Bacharach to the Kinks, The Who, and Eric Clapton. Page speaks frankly about his decadent yet immensely creative years in Led Zeppelin, his synergistic relationships with band members Robert Plant, John Bonham, and John Paul Jones, and his notable post-Zeppelin pursuits. While examining every major track recorded by Zeppelin, including “Stairway to Heaven,” “Whole Lotta Love,” and “Kashmir,” Page reflects on the band’s sensational tours, the filming of the concert movie The Song Remains the Same, his fascination with the occult, meeting Elvis Presley, and the making of the rock masterpiece Led Zeppelin IV, about which he offers a complete behind-the-scenes account. Additionally, the book is peppered with “sidebar” chapters that include conversations between Page and other guitar greats, including his childhood friend Jeff Beck and hipster icon Jack White.
Through Page’s own words, Light and Shade presents an unprecedented first-person view of one of the most important musicians of our era.
3.Get the Led Out: How Led Zeppelin Became the Biggest Band in the World by Danny Somach:
Get the Led Out is the ultimate book for the ultimate fan of the ultimate band--Led Zeppelin. This lushly illustrated volume begins with a unique day-by-day timeline based on Carol Miller's radio show of the same name, and it provides a behind-the-scenes view, revealing quirky details, achievements, and adventures big and small. Twenty-seven rare, unguarded interviews feature the band members themselves, as well as other musicians and insiders who witnessed it all, including Jason Bonham, Chris Squire (Yes), Joe Perry (Aerosmith), Alice Cooper, and music industry legends Danny Goldberg and Ron Nevinson. The book ends with a comprehensive discography.
The first two books have been released in both traditional and ebook format, while the Danny Somach book is due to be released this week.
I will have reviews of the first two within the week, the Get the Led Out book soon thereafter.
Friday, November 2, 2012
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Answer, not on Afterglow he doesn't.
Throughout the band's third studio album in as many years, Bonamassa's playing is smoking: Big Train's wah-wah infused rave up; the white hot solos on Midnight Sun and the Giver; the guitar intro to Midnight Sun; or the slow burning slide on Cry Freedom. Bonamassa lights the album up with his best playing to date with this band. Hughes response is to fuel the flames with a collection of songs of great licks and words that twist and turn, offer loud and soft (light and shade?) moments throughout.
If, as has been allowed as possible through various media outlets, this is the end of the line for Black Country Communion, it will prove to be a great pity. On reviewing their first album, I offered a number of times their influences came to the top, on their second album, I noted less of this. On this album, they sound from start to finish uniquely like themselves. Hey are a band that has found an identity. Moments like the dual Hughes/Bonamassa vocals on Cry Freedom or the tight, super-funky groove Hughes and drummer Jason Bonaham get on the Bonham penned piece Common Man sound like Black Country Communion and no one else.
You can't talk about Afterglow without also mentioning Derek Sherinian, who takes a greater role than the first two albums, playing a couple of organ solos that are exceptional. His playing throughout is top notch.
Black Country Communion's Afterglow, which was released yesterday is a great rock and roll album that will improve with time and listenings. It is what these guys do best, flat out rock.
- Big Train (Hughes)
- This is Your Time (Bonham/Bonamassa/Sherinian) (Lyrics Bonham/Hughes)
- Midnight Sun (Bonham/Bonamassa/Sherinian)(Lyrics: Hughes)
- Confessor (Hughes)
- Cry Freedom (Hughes/Bonamassa/Bonham/Sherinian)(Lyrics: Hughes)
- Afterglow (Hughes)
- Dandelion (Hughes)
- The Circle (Hughes)
- Common Man (Bonham) (Lyrics Bonham/Hughes)
- The Giver (Hughes/Bonamassa/Shirley) (Lyrics Hughes)
- Crawl (Bonamassa/Bonham/Hughes/Shirley) (Lyrics Hughes)
Monday, October 29, 2012
In the winter of 1976-77 I was a minor Led Zeppelin fan: I obviously knew side 1 of Led Zeppelin 4 and had recently taken to stealing my brothers Led Zeppelin III, which was at the time my favourite album. But BTO’s Not Fragile and Kiss Alive had been my “favourite album” before that, so that didn’t mean much. No, I liked Led Zeppelin, but I liked a lot of bands.
Then one snowy night a friend and I crossed town, from the northeast end of Brampton (Bramalea) to Shoppers World shopping mall in the southeast to watch the weekly showing of The Song Remains the Same.
It starts innocently enough, a gangster shoot-up, manager Peter Grant’s “fantasy sequence,” then a young man on a bicycle delivering something to each member of Led Zeppelin at their home (remarkable considering those homes ranged from Wales to Scotland). “Tour dates” John Paul Jones announces happily to his wife upon reading his. The smile changes to shock as he reads on, “it starts tomorrow.” Airport, jet, tarmac and limo ride with police escort past a traffic jam then through a tunnel the streets of Manhattan.
Yardbirds bassist Chris Dreja, talking of seeing Led Zeppelin for the first time in 1969 said, “Jesus Christ, there were four guys. it sounded like a war.” If Led Zeppelin live is like a war, The Song Remains the Same up to this point is the long march into battle. The final scene before the “four guys” unleash themselves on New York City is from the stage. Looking out on a dark stadium, the occasional lighter flickers and lights from the doorways out are the only glow in the darkness, like the night fires of the invading army from the vantage point of the villagers.
The attack starts as every self respecting attack should, with the drummer. Specifically John Bonham, who shouts in the darkness, “alright lets go,” before launching into his drum intro to Rock and Roll. Two-minutes into the song Jimmy Page steps in front of the camera and plays lick that starts his blistering solo, fingers flailing across the fretboard seemingly out of control. It was the moment, the very second where I got it, I got Led Zeppelin. No longer a mere fan, no longer just another band I like, I became a Led Zeppelin fanatic.
I learnt what most Zeppelin fanatics learn at some time, to experience Led Zeppelin live is to truly appreciate how good they are. Whether actually being at a a concert (preferred), on a movie screen, at home or even just an audio bootleg of an otherwise unreleased concert, Led Zeppelin’s live experience is almost always better than they were on record.
Their latest live release, Celebration Day, chronicles their Dec 2007 union concert at the O2 arena in London. Put out as a limited theatrical release, it opened Wednesday the 17th of this month at a variety of theaters. The second and last showing was last Thursday, and it was this one my university aged daughter expressed an interest in going to.
She was obviously raised with Led Zeppelin in the background, but like the rest of the family treated my level of enjoyment of the band with amusement. They’re OK, but that’s all, was her general attitude. For her, Queen or The Who, whom she knows from CSI. Lately, the boyfriend is a Stones fan, and 70’s Stones has also been found to be too her taste. But on Led Zeppelin she was acting the role of rebellious daughter, allowing that they were OK but refusing to be a ‘fan.’
Leaving the theatre Thursday she expressed the opinion that she liked it, it was, she thought, really good. A pretty good self taught pianist, she was pleasantly surprised by the amount keyboard playing in the band, surprised that John Paul Jones supplies the dual role of bassist and keyboardist so well. We discussed how Zeppelin often treated songwriting more like classical composers do, adding in breaks, preludes, interludes and codas, moving the songs through a variety of tempos, volumes and, most importantly, feels.
It wasn’t until she came home Friday for her usual weekend of quiet study away from the residence parties: where she could get her mother to do her laundry her father to bake her banana bread for her, that the depth of her appreciation became clear. “While I’m home, I want to go over some of Zeppelin’s older live stuff, to see what they were like when they were younger.”
“Oh, no!” cried out the wife. “Not another one,” while I ran to open the special occasion Champagne I had been saving. She got it, she really got it, as Goldie Hawn might have said in my shoes. The hook was in, and a few hours closeted away with The Song Remains the Same (complete with fairytale fantasy sequences that she will love despite their obvious cheesiness), and their 2002 DVD release will no doubt set the hook. The first Knebworth show and Seattle ’77 sit in my basement, virtually pro-shot bootlegs that will mesmerize and amaze.
The path is now clear, from the videos to the three live albums, then sometime with the turntable listening to the originals as they were meant to be heard, finally, onward to the 100‘s of bootlegs. Oh the joy of buying her first turntable for her, hitting the record shows with her and having someone in the house to eagerly anticipate the re-release of all those albums in 2013, as Jimmy Page promised this week. Oh the joy.
Now, about the boy and his rap music…
Thursday, October 25, 2012
In the past couple of years, Record Store Day has featured the -release of some Jimmy Page era Yardbirds singles. This year, it is one of Page's main influences that gets the record store day re-release: a limited edition 7" single of Bert Jansch's Blackwater Side.
From the Record Store Day webpage:
2 track 7" of previously released but long out of print Bert Jansch recordings. Mastered exclusively for 7" by Paul Stubblebine. Liner notes edited from the transcript of an unpublished interview with Neil Young, as told to Sylvie Simmons. Strictly limited to 1000 copies.
Blackwater Side is based on the traditional tune Down by Blackwaterside and is very similar to the arrangement Jimmy Page would use for Black Mountain Side on Led Zeppelin's first album three years later.
Friday, October 19, 2012
Last nights show on Rio De Janeiro is already available for download in a number of formats, including CD - which is not an option for the July show. Songs are also available for individual download in MP3 format.
Here's the setlist for last nights Sensational Space Shifter show in Rio:
- Fixin' To Die
- Tin Pan Alley
- Somebody Knocking
- Black Dog
- Bron-Y-Aur Stomp
- Another Tribe
- Ramble On
- Who Do You Love? > Whole Lotta Love > Steal Away > Bury My Body
- Going to California
- Gallows Pole
- Rock and Roll
Thursday, October 18, 2012
It was Celebration Night around the world, and certainly in my little part of it where no less than 5 theatres within' a 25 minute drive were showing Celebration Day. I must say, minus a few quibbles, it was as good, better, than I hoped for: a magical recreation of a magical night.
The movie is the concert, full bore. A few edits to keep the pacing going, a few small parts of the show where cut for brevity. But ultimately, it was the show. They didn't mess too much with the music, although they tried to fix the little mess in "Dazed and Confused when the rhythm section seemed to not be connecting." But otherwise it was the show, just the show, and nothing but the show. On that note, here's what I said about the show at the time:
...I won’t equivocate: this was a great concert by a great band that was in great form. I simply can’t imagine how good these guys would be after a few shows to get the groove going. If they do tour, and it would be a crime if they don’t, I want to see them again mid tour. They would be an unimaginable force of music.
Too bad about that last bit.
Now the quibbles. First, I would have set the stage, given the movie some context. An intro in which the camera is outside the O2 before the show, so everybody understands it was London. Further I would have replaced the old Tampa TV news clip that started the show with one from the O2 show. My feeling watching it was, if I didn't know better, I'd think I was seeing Led Zeppelin in Tampa in the 70's.
Others have commented on the 35mm footage used in the movie, and it was too much. It's a cool effect used half a dozen times through the movie: they used it 3 or 4 times a song. Way too much. And the film was edited to MTV standards, which means it was far to jumpy.
But again, these are mere quibbles, disagreement over choices, not commentary on the performance itself. The truth on the performance itself is, it holds up extremely well, and Celebration Day is a must see movie for music fans, and a must see more than once for Led Zeppelin fans.
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
[caption id="attachment_2053" align="alignright" width="179" caption="Photo: Nech Tytla"][/caption]
For the life of me, at this stage I don't know why they just don't say..."at this time we have no plans. we see no foreseen circumstances in the upcoming future... so the short answer is no! However, we don't rule out the possibility of something somewhere down the road. Of something coming up somewhere down the road that we feel is big enough, important enough to do.
The answer to "will there be a reunion?" has been no for some time time, no. And while I understand they don't want to shut the door 100%, they don't have to. Just be honest, and say, no reunion that we can foresee, but never say never.
With those words ringing in Jimmy Page's ear, he talked recently to Rollin Stone, and on teh issue of a reunion, he said:
I think if there had been any more concerts to be done, we'd already be talking about them. So I don't see it.
See Jimmy, that's all you had to say.
"Just imagine your listening to this out doors, on a sunny day in the park," Hitchcock told the crowd.
Watch at 1:45 to 1:55, where Hitchcock says something to Jones which makes Jones laugh and stop playing for a second.
The free festival takes place every year and features a number of acts. Hitchcock performed on the Porch Stage, which Jones also played on with Seasick Steve later in the day.
Last year Robert Plant and the Band of Joy opened the Banjo Stage on the Friday night of the festival. Plant also joined Patty Griffin during her set on the Saturday portion.
Update: Robert Plant also made an appearance at Hardly Strictly this year, joining both Buddy Miller and Patty Griffin during their sets. He sang a song he wrote with Patty during her set:
With Buddy Miller he joined Griffin and Emmylou Harris for Somewhere Trouble Don't Go, which Plant played harp on:
Friday, October 5, 2012
Subscribe on iTunes
Shawn Sarazin's Mystery of the Quotient
Dony Wynn's blog post on Modern Drummer
Buy Carol Miller's Autobiography on Amazon.com
Pre-order the Celebration Day LP:
Jason Bonham's son, J-Swagg's Facebook page.
Thursday, October 4, 2012
One would be wrong, and on the Led Zeppelin front, Miller's book is a disappointment. Which is not to say it is not a good book.
First, the Zeppelin content, or lack thereof. While Miller was the Zeppelin DJ in New York and dated both Paul Stanley and Stephen Tyler, she never actually met the band in their heyday. Part of this was intentional, as the bands reputation preceded them, even early on, and she was not enthusiastic about getting caught in their web.
Her Zeppelin stories are really later, and mostly concern Robert Plant: for Live Aid she was working for Entertainment Tonight doing live on-camera interviews and, as such, had first access to the artists after they performed. Plant's first words to her where that he had just called home to England and his daughter told him their performance "was less than stellar." Ouch!
Later she would run into him at a club in New York with an Indian woman named Shirley:
"Strange, I momentarily thought. Didn't I read that Plant's wife of Indian background, Maureen, had a sister named Shirley?"
As much as the book disappoints from a Led Zeppelin perspective, it is an interesting, well written autobiography. Miller walks you through her life, including a failed marriage, a few interesting relationships and a battle with cancer. If you are looking for dirt on the 70's rock scene, Miller is, in fact, scrupulously fair to everyone in the book, and nobody comes off really poorly. It speaks well of her as a human being but must have drove her publishers and editors nuts.
But for the reader interested in the 70's and 80's New York rock scene, the rise of rock, and then classic rock, radio and MTV, it's an entertaining read, even if it doesn't spill any blood.
[caption id="attachment_1959" align="alignnone" width="452" caption="Paul Hammond (left) and Jimmy Marchiano"][/caption]
I last saw Get the Led Out at Irving Plaza in New York with Steve Sauer, this time I was seeing them with Steve Sauer on keyboards. It was fun all round.
Before the show Paul took me to see his guitar rig, picking out guitars and mandolins and noodling on them while he talked. He is an impressive player, with a very light touch and flawless technique. Onstage, that light touch translates into a player who never misses a note. His attention to detail was apparent in everything he showed me backstage, his amp set-up, his pedal set-up and the why's and wherefores of the myriad guitars he uses through the night.
[caption id="attachment_2027" align="alignnone" width="491" caption="Fools in the Rain: Steve 'The Lemon' Sauer and Jimmy Marchiano"][/caption]
On this night I had a good opportunity to watch the other half of Get The Led Out's guitar heroes, Jimmy Marchiano. Post-show it was mentioned to me that while Paul is an excellent technician, Jimmy is a brilliant pure rock and roll guitarist. If you don't take "technician" to mean "unmusical," that's not far from accurate and between the two they deliver a powerful dual guitar attack. Marchiano was particularly impressive on In My Time of Dying, giving a stunningly soulful slide guitar performance while Hammond took a break.
How good are these guys? I went with a pal of mine who had never seen them before. When we arrived I bought a t-shirt, and He was eyeing me suspiciously. You could almost hear him asking, "a t-shirt for a tribute band?" At the intermission I got up to go to the bathroom, and he says, "I'm going out to buy a t-shirt." Half a show and he was sold. The bottom line is, Get the Led Out is that good, full stop. Combining a note-for-note authenticity of the original recorded material and that magic live Zeppelin energy, they are absolutely as good as it gets.
Get The Led Out perform mostly in the North East (they are based in Philadelphia), and if they are coming to a town near you, be sure to see them.
Monday, October 1, 2012
Film To Debut At Ziegfeld Theater In New York On October 9;
Press Conference With John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, And Jason Bonham To Precede New York Premiere
Hammersmith Apollo To Host London Premiere On October 12
Premieres In Berlin And Tokyo Also Scheduled In Advance Of
Global Theatrical Release On October 17
Led Zeppelin have announced upcoming premieres in four countries for Celebration Day, which documents the band’s 2007 concert at London’s O2 Arena.
Join John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant at London’s Hammersmith Apollo for a special premiere screening of Celebration Day on October 12th 2012. Very limited number of tickets available here: http://bit.ly/QEiIJR
The film of Celebration Day will see a worldwide theatrical release on 1,500 screens in over 40 territories on October 17. Celebration Day will then be available in multiple video and audio formats on November 19 from Swan Song/Atlantic Records.
Saturday, September 22, 2012
Here's the press conference:
Celebration Day will be released in DVD/Bluray, CD and digital download on November 19th. The formats are:
2 CD Softpak
Deluxe Edition 2CD + 2 DVD
2 CD + 1 DVD
2 CD + 1 Blu-Ray
2 Cd + 1 DVD + 1 Blu-Ray
Digital audio download
As well, a 3 LP Vinyl Packagewill be released on February 5th.
All items can be pre-ordered through Led Zeppelin.com, or, of course, you can click on the links above.